Compared to other stages of the family life cycle, the period of the “empty nest” has been less analysed by sociologists (DeVries 2004). However, it seems that the empty nest deserves comprehensive research. The departure of adult children is a process that mirrors the contemporary transformation in family structure and relations as well as broader social and economic changes (Settersten, Gannon, 2005; Arnett, 2000). The empty nest stage has significantly lengthened, so the time the couple spends without children has increased. The moment when young adults start their own family is prolonged (Benson, Furstenberg 2006; Van de Velde 2008, Settersten 2011; Bouchard 2013; Giraud 2020) . The reasons children leave are not necessarily related to their family prospects but rather their individual aims and needs. On the other hand, the difficult housing/financial situation forces many young people to stay with their parents  longer than expected or to return to the family home (Du Bois-Reymond, López Blasco 2003; Heinz 2009; Hörschelmann 2011; Borlagdan 2015; Maunaye 2019; Abetz & Romo, 2021). The recent epidemic of COVID-19 has impacted the process of emptying the nest, as it intensified the boomeranging phenomenon.

The empty nest stage also demonstrates the change in the shape of intimate relations, the practices, norms and values that accompany them, and the increasing significance of the self. It is the biographical phase in which both the parents and the children need to reconfigure their relations (parent-parent, parent/s-children), which may sometimes lead to a severe crisis or, on the contrary, to a more satisfactory relationship (Winogrodzka, Sarnowska J., 2019; Gaviria 2020).

We particularly invite empirical papers on the subjects such as:

  • Contemporary changes regarding the family life cycle
  • New visions/practices of love and intimacy of couples in the postparental stage
  • Existing and new models of parenting
  • Life projects in the empty nest stage
  • Social differences and inequalities reflected in different motivations, trajectories and outcomes of the transition to empty nest
  • Factors that impact the pace and outcomes of children departure
  • Financial arrangements and obligations in intergenerational relation
  • Reconfiguration strategies in new family arrangements
  • The influence of COVID 19 on parents – young adults relations, intimacy and proximity.