Hope academic Dr Naomi Hodgson appears on a popular podcast this week - where she has her say on so-called ‘empty nest syndrome’.
You can listen to the episode for yourself here.
Dr Hodgson is Associate Professor in Education Studies at the University, where she teaches and researches in philosophy of education.
Earlier this month she spent the morning as an expert guest on the new Liverpool Echo 'MenoPod' podcast.
She tackles the thorny topic of the ‘empty nest’ - the feeling of loneliness and sadness that’s often said to affect parents when their children leave home.
And Dr Hodgson tells podcast hosts Susan Lee and Dawn Collinson that each parent will experience the empty nest in different ways.
She explains: “Parents can feel low as a result of not having the busyness that comes with a full household of people to take care of.
“In the worst cases, parents can experience depression, anxiety and loneliness. And it’s not just women who experience this, as men can, too.
“It’s also not just an individual problem - sometimes it can manifest as problems in a relationship.
“If you’re mum and dad now left at home - and all of your lives have been taken up with being a taxi service, being a chef, or being a housekeeper for your children - suddenly you realise you don’t really have much to talk about because you haven’t been sharing many interests, or even socialising together.
“Your identity has been bound up solely with being a parent, not a partner, and so the empty nest can prove problematic.”
Dr Hodgson, author of recent book Philosophy and Theory in Education: Writing in the Margin, told the podcast audience there’s huge pressure on parents to ‘get it right’ in the modern age, spurred on by an industry that includes parenting books, apps and TV shows.
And she adds: “Being a parent is core to your identity.
“You can change your job, you can change who you’re married to, but you’ll always have a relationship with your child.
“And with that identity comes all the associated anxieties.”
Dr Hodgson says mixed feelings about children leaving home are to be recognised and embraced - even if you’re simply looking forward to getting your spare room back!
And she says the ‘empty nest’ should be viewed as simply another bump in the long road of being a mum or dad.
She reveals: “This is all part of being a parent - it’s raising children and there’s no fixed end point where you can stop and think, ‘Job well done’.
“You will always have questions about what you do next, what your relationship is with your children, and what your children expect from you now they’re no longer living with them.”
Next month - March 23 and 24 - Dr Hodgson will also be hosting a free conference at Liverpool Hope University.
The event - titled, ‘Digitisation and Securitisation of Upbringing: Interdisciplinary Interventions’ - will ‘bring together specialists in early childhood, digital sociology, and educational philosophy to explore the ethical, political, and pedagogical implications of these emerging and powerful trends.’
For more details, and to reserve free tickets, head here: