A Booming New Sideline: the 'Empty-Nest Coach'

More hyper-involved parents turning to coaches to ease the transition
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2024 1:05 PM CDT
A Booming New Sideline: the 'Empty-Nest Coach'
Some empty nesters are turning to coaches to help ease into the transition of a home without kids.   (Getty / Zinkevych)

In the age of helicopter parenting, coming in for a smooth landing as kids get older and leave home is a rougher ride for some. Enter the "empty-nest coach." Per Axios, the process of moving into this next phase of life can be so stressful, more parents are turning to such coaches to ease the transition. One coach named James Ramsden likens it to "being fired from a job they've had for 18 years." "Even though you know it's coming to an end, it is such a shock," he tells the Wall Street Journal. Along with his TikTok channel, The Empty Nest Coach, Ramsden joins a new cohort of coaches who work with clients remotely to deal with the complex emotions of letting go.

The industry has ballooned beyond Zoom calls, with podcasts, support groups, and TikTokers like Ramdsen offering a place to contemplate this new life phase. Part of the issue for modern parents is the end of the latchkey era. As parents become more embedded in their kids' lives from birth up through college, they can lose their sense of self. Podcaster Christine Oakfield tells the Journal that for many clients, parenting was so consuming, "to a point where they have no idea who they are. Their whole identity is their kids." Axios lays out how the process works for some, starting with facing a stew of complicated feelings.

"They need to grieve," says coach Natalie Caine. "I get asked all the time, 'Do other parents feel like this?'" Next comes a big-picture strategy on what this next phase of life can look like for parents. Coaches help identify a path, then follow up to make sure clients are following through on their new plans, whether they are to try a new class or travel more. Sessions range in price, with coaches typically making $100 to $250 per hour. As the Journal notes, it is "a growing livelihood." (About half of US parents are still paying for adult kids.)

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