Just finished reading “Emptying the Nest” by Brad E. Sachs this weekend. It’s what prompted me to look around at my clutter from the kids over the years. As my nest is just about empty, I realized that while it’s empty of the kids, it’s full of the remnants of their childhood. As I desperately cling to the Care Bear from 2nd grade, I have begun reading more – this was my latest read.
It was interesting to me because I don’t have any trouble emptying my nest and reading it made me think that I did something right. Then I had a glass of wine to celebrate and read more.
My favorite parts of the book are things that I have harped on for some years so it’s nice to see another person harping on them as well. But seriously, parenting and family issues have changed so much and so fast that most folks have a hard time knowing what the “right thing to do” is anymore. This book provides some very practical information and suggestions on helping your young adults grow toward and look forward to the time that they can be successful on their own.
My fav? Being responsible. Boy, that’s huge in my book. I love the list on page 127 that goes through who is responsible for what. And guess what? Parents are NOT responsible for everything.
Watching on the sidelines, I think many parents believe they are. Not so. Kids need to be responsible for things too or they never learn to find solutions, accept problems, and shoulder consequences for their actions. Sometimes it is better to NOT make it all better. I think parent’s now days have a really hard time with that. I would actually got grief from my family members when I let my kids work out some of their own problems, so not only does a parent feel guilt internally, but they might get it externally too.
Another favorite passage that really is the same point as the one I mention above is on page 235 where the author talks about making helpless young adults when we help too much as parents. We need to provide support and encourage, but sometimes doing less is more. (That helped me decide about just swiffering the kitchen floor instead of getting down on my knees and really cleaning it.)
And this book really gives some great pointers about communication and in my view, family life is all about communication. (And to talk you need to take time – that is my feeling.) And as we all know, sometimes you can’t hit young adults or teens head on and there are some nice practical suggestions to start a dialog.
There really is a lot more in “Emptying the Nest” than I have shared here about getting your kids ready and able to be successful in the big wide world but I picked out what jumped out at me. I am giving my copy to the next person who asks me how we ended up with such nice kids – who aren’t home anymore.