Results of the Powerful Questions:
These questions brought a lot of awareness to the interviewees and a shared range of emotions were expressed – from sad and worried to pleased and proud. The more they shared, the more it was evident that they were feeling safe and comfortable and capable of listening to the Coach and accept the input to take it to the next level. They were finding that through the process of sharing, their feelings were being heard by the coach and by their partner – which created a tangible level of affirmation. This helped them to feel sameness in their shared feelings that otherwise was characterized by a level of disconnect between the spouses. Over time, this would have likely grown wider and wider – perhaps requiring professional counseling or therapy. Some clients reported some very positive side effects of their empty nest stating that they were now able to talk to their spouse without getting interrupted by their children needing their attention. And the quality of time that they spent with each other had improved.
Other comments were
I no longer have to fix dinner every night as my husband and I are happy to just eat something light rather then something that needs a lots of preparation.
Some were simply missing their kids and wondering if they are capable to live life independently. Some where sad and they found that their child is no longer talk to them as much and they call more the father for advice – and financial support.Some found that when they share their stories with other parents, the pain and sadness is not as harsh and they join in more social activities.
Some were exploring their possibilities of getting back to their career or go back to school to get more education or a degree in Life Coaching with a desire to be of service to others who are going through life stage change. The coaching method of using 80/20 ratio of listening 80% of the time and asking powerful questions 20% of the time, was very appealing to the client. This resulted in additional coaching sessions to explore some possible action steps to support them during this stage of their life. Their objective was to live life to the fullest rather then survive life.
The next session included reiterating their story and an invitation to take a core value questioner – presenting them with the 35 Core Value list. As they both looked at it and picked from the list 10 core values that were resonating with them, the process continued until 5 core values were picked. These were reviewed again to pick only 3 core values for the final personal list.
After this process most of them came up with core values of:
- Relationship i.e. Self, spouse, kids
- Self developing i.e. career continued education
- Community activities
Reflecting on the list, the Life Coach invited them to come up with a list of actions that will support them and help them stay in alignment with these core values.
Some action steps to be taken:
Accept that you will experience grief and that it hits the father just as hard as it hits the mother. Establish “date nights” with your spouse or spend more time with friends. Don’t make assumptions about what your spouse is thinking or wanting to do. Limit how often you’re calling your kids. Keep list of each kid’s favorite foods for when they visit or when you put together a care package to send out. Make a list of things you have never done but would like to do. Become involved in your church youth group or a volunteer position in your community. This process of discovery was helpful for the simple fact that parents were coming to it as a couple. To look into their next stage of their life, was exciting, it had a purpose, it had a name. They were both describing it as “feeling liberated” – clear and focused.
The shift of perspective was healing; the nest was no longer empty it was actually being filled with a renewed sense of purpose and excitement.
Fortunately, after revealing and recording their story, and through the results provided by the coaching process, most clients found out that they needed a Life Coach to keep them focused on their personal and joint life goals.
Looking over this whole process of writing this research paper some revelations were disclosed – namely that The Empty Nest is not always feared and that sometimes it is desired, once achieved. Participants reported greater marital satisfaction, more spontaneity and intimacy increased time alone, greater happiness more freedom better financial condition and less responsibly.
The Marital bond was re-examined and a deeper more intimate relationship cultivated. With the stress of childrearing behind, a post parental couple has more time and energy to devote to themselves and their future together. With this we cannot ignore the fact that the Empty Nest period with all its positive and negative potential, represents a major life change transition. To assist woman and man with this midlife transition, a coach needs to be aware of the factors affecting adjustment and the effect of this transition on the family life cycle. By doing so and supporting the couple or the individual with clearer picture toward the future this stage can pass with greater positive results!
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
An Empty Nest Opens New Doors - Woman Health Center - EverydayHealth.com
Journal Counseling and Development November 1989
The New York Times - Your Nest is empty? Enjoy each other.
Kahlil Gibran- On Children