Supporting a Military Child

Supporting a Military Child

The military life comes with many challenges, and these can negatively affect kids especially. But, you can be one of the greatest supports for your child during these difficult times. Here are some ways you can help your children as they deal with military life.

1. Know what you will deal with…

Your children are likely dealing with higher-than-average amounts of tension and change. So, you will likely have to be on alert for the signs of stress as they cope. These can range from being fussy and clingy as younger children to acting rebellious as teenagers. Communication and unconditional love will be very important during these phases. Be aware of coping behaviors in each age range, and the particularly concerning red flags. It’s important to be especially careful as they grow older and are able to do more harm if they remain stressed and unsupported.

2. Before, during, and after deployments…

Deployment is probably the most difficult aspect of military life, for parents and kids alike. Be prepared for all three phases of deployment: preparation, deployment, and homecoming. For example, when preparing for deployment, give them a comfort object such as a stuffed animal that they can carry around with them. During deployment, keep your child involved in extracurricular activities, and make sure they can stay in communication with their deployed parent. You can also build a support system for them with other deployed families, or through your local organizations.

3. When you have to move…

Moving is another stressful part of military life. When navigating this process, it’s good to help your kids say goodbye and give them as much time as possible to adjust. During the move, let them help as much as they can. Keep open communication with them, and encourage a good attitude by setting an example for them. Remember, your children need stability during this time, so make sure you keep up regular routines with them.

Although being a military family can be hard, you can make it easier on your children by using some of these strategies. Above all, just be there for them! You are one of their greatest supports!