7 Steps to Empty-Nesting Success (Part 1)


Most people think that to empty-nesting with your daughter means you have to lose your connection with her in the process. But that’s not true. In fact, maintaining a connection with your daughter during this transition will go better if you address the 7 items on this Empty-Nesting checklist. 

In today’s blog, I’ll cover Checklist Items #1 to #3. 

Checklist Item #1:

Finances Need To Be Fixed

As a mom, you will want to make sure that your daughter is able to manage her finances. This means that you have instructed your daughter in how to

  • Track her income and expenses
  • Reign in her credit card habits
  • Create a (realistic) budget
  • Balance a checkbook
  • Pay bills in a timely fashion
  • Save money for a “rainy day”
  • Invest money for a “rainier day”


U.S. Air Force photo | Dennis Rogers

Many financial transactions are done electronically these days.  So the idea of finding just the right app or software to set up and track these things can seem daunting. The key here is to simply make sure to not assume your daughter knows (even how to write a check!). Just ask her and then be willing to sit down with her to show her how to do these things.

A Deer(ing) In A Bootcamp

During their sophomore year of high school, my husband and I led our twin daughters through the Deering “finance boot camp.” We covered everything-finance over the course of four one-hour meetings. It wasn’t dry. It was fun, interactive, and practical.


A couple of months afterwards, I then took them to the bank to have them go through the process of opening up a bank account and getting them a secured credit card. A few weeks later, after their checkbooks & cards arrived, I walked them through how to write a check (with all the ins and outs of the contractual nature of a check) and facilitated their conducting their first credit card purchase and bill payment.


Why did we do this? Because we knew that financial topics and decisions were right around the corner.


Was it a time suck? Yes.


Do I think we should have done it earlier? In hindsight, Yes.


Hence, I write this part of my blog, hoping you might be inspired to do it sooner.

Checklist Item #2:

Responsibilities Need To Be Rounded Up


When it comes to Empty-Nesting, it is easy for a mom to still feel responsible for her daughter even after her daughter has moved out.


As I mentioned in a previous blog, COVID19 has interrupted the progression of young adults (ages 18 – 22) from fully flying on their own. It’s likely also interrupted the empty-nesting process of many parents, too.


As a mom, it’ll be important to keep tabs on and make clear who is responsible for what.

Thai An | Unsplash

From folding laundry (if you fold them) to fiscal responsibilities like personal hygiene products; from taking out the trash to time management (e.g. of sleep schedule). With each day, your daughter is growing into her adulthood and she needs to start taking on more responsibilities, not less.


If she is not willing to take on these “adult(ing)” tasks, then you may need to consider how to have her experience the consequences of not managing them.


To Uber or Not To Uber?

For example, during COVID19 one of our daughters (Candace) doesn’t yet have a driver’s license [A long story that I’ll save for another blog.] She had the opportunity and requisite skills to partake of online employment positions. However, she opted to not do so. Instead she decided to resume employment at a local pizza establishment . . . assuming “someone” would drive her.


I informed her that that would not be the case, unless she wanted to pay “the fee” that it would cost to “obtain transportation.” When she did the math calculations that showed her that that “someone” was charging her just under the prevailing Uber rate, she reluctantly agreed to the payment terms.

Real life. . .real solutions. . . real adult (with no “-ing” on the end).


Checklist Item #3:

Expectations Need To Be Equitable


Oftentimes, young (even older) people think that everyone is treated equally. Your daughter may think so. However, the reality is that everyone is not treated equally.


equityAs a mom, especially if you have more than one child, it’ll be important to make sure you’re treating them equitably. By “equitable,” I mean that you’re expectations and treatment of each child is according what your understanding of their abilities and developmental stage of life.


For example, by the age of 18 our daughters knew we expected them to “handle their (academic) business” well. That meant getting the best grades within their capabilities. When our youngest, Jasmine, incurred a concussion from a dancing accident two months before graduation, we adjusted our expectations, facilitated her getting medical and educational supports. We wanted her to “just graduate.”


Interestingly, Jasmine didn’t want to “just graduate.” She wanted to complete her high school career at the same high level she was accustomed to performing. This drive stemmed from her own internal “adult” self emerging. As her mom, I actually tried to talk her into lowering her personal expectations given her post-concussive symptoms. But she still plodded away. And she ended up graduating summa cum laude and winning a partial academic scholarship.

So far I’ve covered the first 3 (of 7 steps) to successfully navigate your empty-nesting transition. 

Those steps are:

  1. Finances Need To Be Fixed
  2. Responsibilities Need To Be Rounded Up
  3. Expectations Need To Be Equitable

In next week’s blog, I’ll cover the next 4 steps for successfully navigating the empty-nesting process with your daughter. 


By the way, I just released a New Free PDF on how to stay close with your daughter!


It’s called “How To Advance The Ball” in your mother-daughter relationship” and

you can grab it {FREE} here:



© Dr. Michelle Deering  | All rights reserved.


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