According to a recent survey, parents whose children are about to fly the nest are now quietly celebrating.
Dismissing fears of ’empty nest syndrome’ when their youngsters disappear to university or move away for a job, most couples said that instead they found a new lease of life.
They felt financially better off, fitter and happier – and many rekindled their sex lives.
Pollsters found couples had more time for each other because they weren’t spending it cooking, cleaning and ironing for their children.
The poll – commissioned by Unite, a company that manages student accommodation – found that 84 per cent of parents said their lives improved considerably without their youngsters living at home.
The parents questioned said they felt ‘ten years younger’ and were richer on average by £600 a month.
Waving off their children meant there was more space in their lives for friends, and the parents said their circle of close friendships grew by five people.
Extra free time and money meant they socialised up to three times a week more often.
Children leaving home appeared to make many parents search out new experiences for themselves.
More than half said they wanted to try an extreme hobby such as white water rafting, bungee jumping or snowboarding.
The One Poll survey is the latest in a number of studies to question the received wisdom that parents suffer when their children move on.
Research published last year found parents can in fact find themselves more depressed if their children hang around too long.
The study by academics at King’s College London found that far from feeling abandoned and lonely, adults with their children living away seemed more content than those with sons and daughters at home or nearby.
Parenting expert and psychologist Dr Pat Spungin said parents today found it easier to occupy their time and were less likely to be bored.
She added: ‘Now there are so many opportunities. If you have kids in your mid-20s and have two or three, by the time they have left you are coming up for 50 – and 50 is the new 40.’