How to Deal with Being Empty Nested and Estranged

When your grown children have estranged you, or they refuse to keep in contact with you, that is normal. Reconciliation does not always work. Some people think reconciliation is the only resolution, but that’s a silly mistake. There are other ways to manage it. People do not realize that they can go through the process with equanimity and celebration. There are ways to recover from the pain with equanimity. However, we must accept the fact that your grown children are independent people who have their own lives. This is a normal, natural reality.


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    Get involved with something that you are take pleasure in. Even if you cannot find anything, think about what you are interested in or your past time then find something anyway. It can be any hobby such as painting, drawing or woodworking. Or join a club: you will be hanging out with people who have some or similar interests too. It will get your mind off your problems.
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    Get involved with the activities. Consider volunteering. If you are not quite ready to go back to work just yet, volunteering in potential workplaces can be a good way to transition back into the workforce at a pace that suits you. It also gives you the chance to try things to see if you like them or not. Or try participating in charities. Doing something positive or fun with your free time can be very fulfilling.
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    If happiness turns to deep depression then go see a mental health professional to get treatment if needed. Some do work, there are multiple choices for treatment.
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    Respect boundaries of estrangers and estrangees. Avoid contacting, harassing, bothering your adult children. Avoid intention of seeing them. Do not make your life harder by relying on them and thinking about them.
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    Do not fuss about small things. Give yourself a good speaking if you become angry over the thing that the other person has done. It is not serious if you really think about it. Try to calm down, count to 20, go for a walk, say the serenity prayer or call a friend.
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    Do not abuse anyone either verbally or physically, not even a person from whom you are estranged. If you cannot manage yourself, see a professional/doctor to get help.
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    Mind your own business. This does not mean you cannot know anything about a person who is lost to you. Although your friends may share news with you and it is understandable that you would be interested in how an estranged loved one is doing, however realize that what they are doing is their own life, especially it is their own decision. For example if they choose to be a prostitute that’s their choice, if they choose to waste time to write a novel, it is their choice. It does not matter if it is fortunate or unfortunate as it seems, that’s their decision. As adults we are born free and all free to lead our individual lives and deal with our problems in our own way.
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    Work on the relationships in your life that value who you are. Spend time with a friend who cares about you, who is honest and also interested in you. If you do not have anyone like that in your life, get involved in a good project.
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    Focus on being the mentally healthiest person that you can personally be. Do the best that you can, be kind to people, gentle with yourself, and get involved with other people in ways that improve the world. Eventually whatever stage of estrangement you are in, the situation will become more bearable. You will find other people to appreciate and who appreciate you. You will gain a different perspective. You must accept the fact that your grown children disowning you is real: they are free and independent, and they will not see you again. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you will be able to get back to a happy side. It all takes time.
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    Start looking to your own needs. Write down all the things you'd promised yourself you get around to doing one day. Now is the time to start doing them. Pin this list somewhere obvious and start working through it. Build new friendships or revive lapsed ones. Friends are an important part of your transition from parent full-time to person-at-home-without-kids. Meet new people. There will be other empty-nesters like you looking for friendship too. And friends can prove a useful source of information about hobbies, activities, and job openings too. Go back to college or university, if needed, this is a completely new path you're setting out on, or whether it's to upgrade your existing qualifications or getting even better jobs. Either way is good. Restart a career: either pick up where you left off or start a new one. Realize that even though you're "rusty", you have the advantage of experience, so after some initial relearning, you'll be off to a much faster start than when you were fresh out of school or college.
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    Focus on some of the positive points of your kids being absolutely independent. Focusing on some of the positive changes resulting from your children moving out can ease the sense of loss considerably when you weigh up what you've gained. While this does not belittle the importance of your sadness and the big transition you and your children are going through, it does help you to try to see the brighter side of your future. Some of the positive points include:
    • You may notice that the refrigerator does not need refilling quite as often. This means less trips to the grocery store and less cooking required!
    • Romance with your spouse may increase. The two of you have time and space now to return to being just a couple; make the most of it. If you used to do all of your children's laundry, there will be a lot less washing and ironing for you to do now. You've got your bathroom back.
    • Smaller water, phone and electricity bills will help you save money. And that saved money can be put toward a vacation with your spouse or friends!
    • Feel extremely proud of yourself for having raised children who are capable of going out into the world and surviving and thriving on their own. Give yourself a pat on the back.


  • Estrangement generally hurts women more than men, because traditionally women stayed home to care for children. They were homemakers. Women spent most of their time/effort on being stay-at-home moms.
  • Mental health professionals consider that the transition from being an actively involved mom to being an independent woman again takes around two years. This means that it's vital to allow yourself the time to grieve, work through the loss, and rebuilding your life is important. Be gentle on yourself and the expectations that you have.
  • Another reason your children might do this is because you raised them very well. you should be proud of yourself.
  • Remember, adult children disowning you means they want to be free and independent.

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Categories: Parenting