How to handle "cannot parse empty date"?

Hi all,
I had a field that provides date information in String format. I converted it to Date type format using mappings as shown in the below mapping sample.

"stats" : {
                  "properties" : {
                    "session_oldest_file_time" : {
                      "format" : "yyyy-MMM-dd HH:mm:ss",
                      "type" : "date"

But after using the mappings, I am getting the below error in elasticsearch logs

 Preview of field's value: ''"}],"type":"mapper_parsing_exception","reason":"failed to parse field [stats.packet_oldest_file_time] of type [date] in document with id 'SBFzC3QBxBCv5W7hhl-gN6'. Preview of field's value: ''","caused_by":{"type":"illegal_argument_exception","reason":"cannot parse empty date"}},"status":400

Can anyone suggest how this can be handled?

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