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Sunday July 22, 2018

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  • Dorm Sweet Dorm

    By Grayson Wise

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    By Glenda Wise

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    Monday- Friday 6:30am-2:00pmThursday 4:30pm-8:00pmSaturday 6:30am-1:30pm

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For parents, empty nest can be full of promise Featured

Written by  Sunday, 30 July 2017 00:23
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By Leilana McKindra, Communications Specialist-Agricultural Communications Services, Oklahoma State University

 

STILLWATER, Okla. – What’s next?


That is the looming question many Oklahoma families will face this fall when they usher the youngest child out of the house and, in a moment of hand-wringing fear and giddy excitement, officially empty the proverbial nest.


After the birth of children, the second major adjustment for many marriages comes when those children are grown up enough to leave the home, said Ron Cox, associate professor and Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension marriage and family specialist.


“After a couple spends 20 years raising their kids, they often find that they don’t really know each other anymore once it’s just the two of them again,” Cox said. “It can be very difficult for parents when the last child leaves home.”


Ensuring their children’s well-being is a full-time job for parents, which is why research shows that on average marital quality takes a bit of a hit when kids come along.


“The decline in marital quality is normal, actually, as couples figure out the routine that comes with raising children and maintaining the household,” Cox said. “Meanwhile, couples may not spend as much time on their own relationship so it frequently gets neglected.”


However, once those children are ready to strike out on their own, it forces husbands and wives to rethink the marriage. This can be a great opportunity for rediscovery or it could be problematic if a couple feels they do not know each other anymore.


In fact, there is a small spike in the divorce rate around the 22-year marriage anniversary mark, proving just how difficult it can be to go back to the days before diapers, soccer practices and homework.


However, for many couples the empty nest is a chance to start anew.


One of the ways couples successfully negotiate the transition from full house to empty nest is by finding positive experiences they can share together.


“Maybe you take up a shared hobby, seek out other couples to socialize with or begin planning your retirement home,” Cox said. “With the kids gone, you’ve a lot of time to fill, and it’s important to spend most of it doing things you enjoy. As your role as a parent becomes less demanding, you and your spouse have a chance to start pursuing old dreams or chasing new ones.”


Actually, couples do not have to wait for the kids to completely clear out to begin identifying activities they can share.


“Start by setting aside a date night or scheduling lunch together once a week,” said Cox. “Or, consider getting involved in a cause, perhaps through a social service agency or a church. Giving back in a way that is meaningful to each of you not only helps renew the bonds of your relationship, but also benefits a cause in which you both believe.”

 

 



Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; phone 405-744-5371; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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