Creative Child

The Transition to Life with Big Kids

by Rebecca Eanes


I know this has been a despairing article thus far, but there is a silver lining. The authors of the study also said “Regarding the later years of motherhood, our findings support suggestions that the ‘empty nest’ syndrome is largely a myth. Mothers of adult children reported the least role overload, and on measured stress...they fared significantly better than mothers of middle schoolers.” In other words, it gets easier!

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The transition to life with big kids does require a rearranging of roles and a rediscovering of self. If you’re in this stage, here are 3 tips for making it ache a little less.

  1. Get to know yourself again. You’ll always be a mother, and now there is room for you to take on new roles. Parenthood changes us, and by the time our kids reach their teen years, you may not even recognize who you see in the mirror. Now is the time to rediscover yourself. Pay attention to what lights you up and makes you feel alive. Make exciting plans. Dream big dreams. This isn’t the end of your journey but a new beginning.
  2. Connect with others. Maybe you need to reconnect with your partner or open yourself up to a new relationship. Carve out some time with your friends, and make room for play and laughter. This is the time to nurture the relationships in your life that may have taken a backseat while you were so busy parenting your little ones and to cultivate new, lifegiving and affirming relationships.
  3. Live in the present. Focus on the positives. It sounds so cliche, I know, but we do have a choice where our focus goes which has a profound effect on our emotions and experiences. Don’t dwell on the worry of the future or on longing for the past. Live and love in the present moment. Keep making memories that you will cherish in the years to come, and continue to work on maintaining a positive relationship with your teen.

I’m learning when to hold tighter to trust and more loosely to hands. I’m figuring out where I fit in with these young men who are towering over me now. And you know what? It’s actually okay. For all the bad rap they get, teenagers are really pretty great. Plus, they do sleep really well now.

Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


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