Wednesday 6 October 2021

UK: Empty nest parents adopt pets to fill the void

In the UK, the extensive pandemic lockdowns experienced by citizens has led to parents becoming closer to their teenage offspring who are now being packed off to university. This is creating a strong empty nest syndrome and in response a survey indicates that parents are considering adopting a pet or allowing an existing one to sleep on their bed. Note: there must be some relief, too, with the food guzzling, messy and noisy teenager out of the way. Not all teenagers fit this description however.

Empty nest parents adopt pets to fill the void
Empty nest parents adopt pets to fill the void. Pic in public domain.

Apparently 93% said being closer to their children during the pandemic had made the empty nest syndrome worse. A poll by a provider of purpose-built student accommodation, Unite, who commissioned Censuswide, also found the following:

  • A sixth of parents cried uncontrollably when their child or children went to university;
  • A fifth said they felt guilty for not making the most of their time they had with their child;
  • A fifth said that they wished that they could have that same time again i.e. the period of lockdown when they were closer with their children;
  • Some feared depression or had suffered physical symptoms of grief including panic attacks and sleeplessness;
  • A third cleaned the house more! This sounds like diversionary tactics or displacement activity;
  • Some turned to alcohol!

It wasn't all bad though because a quarter felt excited about what lay ahead without their children being around and one in six enjoyed bragging that their child was going to university. Some were considering allowing a lodger to occupy part of their home to raise some money. Perhaps, too, this was an attempt to fill the void with another body. They should be careful, though, because although rent from lodges is tax-free up to a certain limit you have got a stranger in your home.

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