Launching Children

Waving goodbye to your child who’s left home for higher studies, career or marriage is not easy. While you wish the best for him/her, you may also be concerned about the new environment and how your child will cope. May be your child has settled down and so have your worries, but the loneliness and a vacuum in the house is difficult to bear. You perhaps miss your child and can’t believe how fast he has grown up and become a person of his own.

If you are in this stage of seeing your child launch out, it is natural to feel lonely, empty, worried or even depressed. It is not only because your child is on his own but also because this stage may force you to look within for a new identity and a readjustment in the relationship with your spouse. In many cases, issues that were not resolved in the early days of marriage may resurface as the child no longer serves as an escape route. Therefore this stage demands its own set of needs and tasks.

The most important tasks that you as a parent need to accomplish in this stage are:

  • Recognize your son/daughter as a young adult
  • Help your son/daughter to share their plans with you
  • Be open about your son/daughter’s ideas and needs
  • Embrace a new identity
  • Refocus on your marriage and resolve issues kept hidden over the years
  • Rekindle your marriage and career goals

Questions/Struggles that you may experience in the launching stage

  • My child wants his own way in choosing a career
  • How will my child manage without me?
  • I miss my son/daughter so much!
  • I suddenly seem to have so much time – what do I do with my life?
  • My child doesn’t call me as much as he could – has he forgotten me?
  • Will my child be safe?
  • We feel our child wants to leave home as soon as possible because we are not good parents
  • Why do we fight so much after our child launched out of home?
  • Now that my children are no longer at home, can I pursue a career?
  • I feel empty and depressed

The most important goal in this stage is to start seeing your son/daughter as a young adult and no longer as a child. This is often difficult in our culture. If you’re struggling with some of the above issues, consider talking it over with a trained professional who will journey with you in helping you cope with the needs and tasks of launching your child and finding a new identity for yourself and your marriage.

New Directions provides both individual counselling services and couples counselling services.