08/28/2013 04:26 pm ET

Embracing The Empty Nest Can Be Easier Than You Think: Advice From Moms Who Have Been There (VIDEO)

As college campuses fill up once again at the start of a new academic year, parents across the country are facing something new -- an empty nest.

During a chat with HuffPost Live's Caitlyn Becker, psychologist Madeline Levine said the empty nest can often be more difficult for mothers than for fathers.

"For mothers who are single or have distressed marriages or just feel alone in the world, their kids have been their best bet," she said. "For many mothers, our preoccupation with everything about our children's emotional state has to do with the fact that some of our own needs aren't being met. It can be very painful to lose what is essentially the great love affair of your life as they walk into their own life, and at the same time to feel we've done our jobs."

But neither mothers nor fathers have to suffer such a painful experience. For Sharon Greenthal, the editor-in-chief of Generation Fabulous, the initial sadness of her children moving on turned into an exciting moment of opportunity for she and her husband.

"We really enjoyed having the time to ourselves," she said. "We kind of liked having the clutter of our children's lives gone so we could focus on ourselves and our relationship."

Lucky for parents, the opportunities for refocusing energy after kids move on to college are plentiful.

"Do something of service to somebody else," she said. "When we get really wrapped up in feeling sorry for ourselves, the best tonic to that is to get out in the world and teach another kid how to read or help mentor a kid."

And if even that won't cure the empty nest blues, Judy Rothman Rofé, a blogger for The Neurotic Parent, has a simple solution -- get a puppy.

"That's my husband's transference right there," she said. "He will say he doesn't miss the kids, but he's snuggling with the dog 24/7."

Catch the full conversation about coping with the empty nest at HuffPost Live HERE.



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