The stage of
launching adult children begins when your first child leaves home and ends with
the "empty nest." When older children leave home, there are both positive and
negative consequences. If your family has developed significant skills through
family life cycle, your children will be ready to
leave home, ready to handle life's challenges. Free from the everyday demands
of parenting, you may choose to rekindle your own relationship and possibly your
Developing adult relationships with your children is
a key skill in this stage. You may be challenged to accept new members into
your family through your children's relationships. You may focus
on reprioritizing your life, forgiving those who have wronged you (maybe long
ago), and assessing your beliefs about life.
Marcela Jones, an English professor in Washington, D.C., says her 3-year-old daughter, Amalia, starts screaming as soon as they step into a doctor's office. Her child's white coat-triggered misery started, Jones says, with her two-year checkup -- Amalia had her routine shots and then went upstairs to another office for a lead blood test. "We had to have three people holding her down," says Jones. "It was horrible."
What's a parent to do? Jones knew she didn't want a struggle like that again, so...
If you struggled with previous life phases, your children may not have learned from you all the skills they need to live well on their own. If you and your partner have not transitioned together, you may no longer feel compatible with each other. But remember that you can still gain the skills you may have missed. Self-examination, education, and counseling can enhance your life and help ensure a healthy transition to the next phase.
This is a time
when your health and energy levels may decline. Some people are diagnosed with
chronic illnesses. Symptoms of these diseases can limit normal activities and
even long-enjoyed pastimes. Health issues related to midlife may begin to occur
and can include: