The Full Nest
edited: Tuesday, March 16, 2004
By Aubrey Hammack
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Friday, September 13, 2002
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Article deals with children not leaving home
The Full Nest By Aubrey Hammack (Published in the Upson Home Journal September 9, 1987)A few weeks ago, a radio broadcast of a church program caught my attention. As the minister preached on spiritual growth, he used an illustration of the mother eagle and how she prepares the eaglets to fly. When she feels that the time has come for the eaglets to leave the nest and fly on their own, she begins to stir the nest. As this occurs, usually one of the eaglets is disengaged from the nest and begins to fall. With the mother watching, the young one frantically moves its wings and attempts to fly. At the last moment, when it looks as if he will surely be killed by the fall, the mother swoops underneath, catches him on her back, and returns him to the nest. This process takes place again and again until the eaglets have learned to fly and are then ready to begin life on their own.This illustration is easily applicable to human parents and their children. Children are nurtured and guided until they are mature enough to face life on their own. Much has been written about the “empty-nest syndrome.” But what happens when the children do not leave home and begin lives of their own? This situation is beginning to be referred to as the “full-nest syndrome,” and there are a variety of reasons for it.Parents, of course, play a major role in the dependency of adult children. This may begin early in a child’s life, as when a parent does too much for a child. Even very young children should be encouraged to dress themselves, pick up their toys, and do simple chores around the house. As they get older, they should be encouraged to keep their rooms clean and do additional chores and perhaps take a part-time job. Acceptance of responsibility, which begins here, is an important characteristic of a mature, independent adult.Too much concern about a child’s health or physical well being may nurture dependence. While it is normal and desirable to be concerned about our children, this can be overdone. As a former midget-league football coach, I have seen this demonstrated many times. I well remember parents, who ran onto the field every time one of their little ones was injured. On the other hand, other parents, who cared just as much, held back and allowed the situation to be handled by the coaches and officials. As a parent as well as a coach, I realize that this is much harder course to follow, but I believe it is healthier for the child. Other parents may stifle children by extreme concern about died or contagious diseases.Dependency may also be foster by degrading children or making them feel useless or unimportant. Physical or verbal abuse or constant nagging can so seriously damage a child’s self-concept that he has no confidence in his ability to do anything. Children need to be encouraged to try things and praised for their attempts. They need to understand that failure is as much a part of life as success, rather than being condemned when they fail, or are less perfect than we want them to be. As young people begin to reach adulthood, sometimes the nest may need to be stirred. If everything is being readily provided with little or no effort on their part, they may not perceive a need for getting out in the world. It seems to be human nature to want to stay in a safe and comfortable environment. Parents may need to stop providing for all financial needs and wants. They should go on with their own plans and not always be available whenever the young person wants something. As good parents, we find it difficult to refuse our children things. However, we know that, in this case, as in others, it is for their own good.Some parents, of course, are emotionally insecure or unstable themselves. They may not encourage their children to be independent, or they may actually encourage their dependency, because of their own emotional needs. Sometimes this is an indication of problems within the marriage. Husbands and wives may have grown apart until they have not common bond except the children. If the children leave, the marriage must either be restructured or fall apart. It is, however, important to understand that there are other things that affects the full nest. The economy plays an important part in this problem sometimes. Jobs are scarce, especially in smaller communities. Therefore, without the necessary skills to compete, a person might have serious problems. Also, one must recognize that sometimes, an adult child stays home to assist the parents. This is commendable; however, there must come a time when the adult child must be on his own.Certainly it is believed that all humans should strive to be as independent as possible in today’s world. It is everyone’s responsibility to make this happen.