Since many service members experience mental health problems upon their return, research is needed on the effect the service member’s mental and/or physical health concerns have on family members, including coping, adjustment and health concerns in grandparents, and others beyond the traditional nuclear family. For most families in the United States, long separations between children and … FORT CARSON, Colo. -- They never chose the Army, but many of them were born into it. Issues of military families prior to deployment and after return ... take on the challenges while others do so with resentment. An opportu-nity being a military child IS making new friends and seeing new places. ... the majority of children are doing well despite those challenges. This emotional cycle of deployment begins when news of deployment is released to the family. They may have more household chores or more obligations in looking after their younger siblings. Because schools teach content at different paces and with different teaching styles, a child may enter a classroom where they are expected to already know content they haven’t been taught yet. Surprise! American Psychologist (2011); 66(1), 65-72. Let your child know that you are there to support them and that they can always tell you if they are feeling overwhelmed. Being a military child comes with unique challenges, and yet there are many things parents and professionals can do to support their child through stressful times. The military teaches you to be strong and independent at such a young age. December 2011; ... to a greater number of child difficulties and well-being . Deployments make 9-12-month separations from a parent quite common. It was sad not being able to celebrate things while he was gone, but it is one of those sacrifices you have to make as a military child. The challenge is starting over in a new school, town, or new country; leaving friends and familiar places. The effects on children with pre-existing psychological or other conditions of being a member of a military family at time of war also need to be examined. Copyright © 2021 One in Five Minds Blog | 1in5minds, All Rights Reserved, many positive elements of growing up in a military family, reconnect with their deployed parent post-deployment, How Military Parents Miss the Warning Signs of Mental Illness in their Kids, The Wounded Warrior Parents’ Guide: How to Talk With Your Child About Physical and Invisible Injuries, Finding Treatment for the New Kid on Base, Settling in After a Move? It begins with a review of the basic demographics of military families and a discussion of the variability among military families. The challenge is starting over in a new school, town, or new country; leaving friends and familiar places. If you believe your child is struggling with these challenges, use whatever support is available to you, such as a therapist. Every school district in the country has military-connected students. Life in the military has its challenges, but also opportunities. Williams and I are both Army brats -- her father is a retired lieutenant colonel and mine is an active-duty sergeant major. Military children have always had to deal with the stressors of being the new kid on the block. Military families overcome challenges that most civilian families can't imagine! For more ways to help your military child thrive, download our free handbook “A Battle Plan for Military Children’s Mental Wellness.” It’s a great place to find help in creating a solid, stable household in which military children can thrive. Children of military and veteran families experience unique challenges related to military life and culture. It is extremely hard when your parent leaves, but you have to realize that that is their job. Communities, neighborhoods, schools and extended family play a significant role in the well-being of military children during deployment. Deployments average 3 to 15 months. Of the 1.2 million school-aged children of military service members, only 86,000 actually attend schools administered by the Department of Defense on military … One thing you always hear about military brats is that they move around a lot, and that’s true. Here are my Top 10 Ways the Military Family Is Unique. It’s easy to … Because of frequent transitions, it is unfortunately easy to miss warning signs that a child needs help. Make them aware of any special needs, and advocate for getting support with the transition. Children may respond to this stress in different ways. It's one of the many side effects of being a military brat. If you are anticipating a move, connect with your child’s new school and community, if possible. What items could you add to the list? If you grew up in a military family, you know that many of the challenges you faced were different than those of your civilian friends. They’re Like You. Always having to “put yourself out there” and get to know new people is tiring, especially if you know another move will be on the horizon which means starting over again. But being a part of a military family also presents some unique challenges, experiences, and joys that folks who have not shared our way of life may miss out on. Writing about the challenges you've faced during military life can set you apart from other college applicants. Many of the challenges military families face are moderated by interacting factors, such as branch of service, age, education, ethnicity, and pre-existing problems and assets. For example, at FE Warren, AFB I’ve made a lot You may even notice your children struggling to leave behind things that surprise you, such as a particular tree in your back yard, or their favorite space in your home. Notify military personnel assigned to installations with known challenges regarding access to adequate public education via their orders and provide contact information for the School Liaison Officer to start working solutions before arriving at the new … This can lead to difficulty keeping up with homework, school anxiety, or negative impacts on self-esteem. She served 20 years on active duty in the U.S. Army. This article reviews existing research on military children and families, with attention to their strengths as well as their challenges. While there are many positive elements of growing up in a military family, being a military kid means always having to adjust and adapt to an array of changes, and that’s not an easy task! Too much responsibility, especially for things above what would typically be expected for their age, can cause a child to feel undue pressure, anxiety, or resentment. Changing schools multiple times over, and navigating gains and losses that are inherent of military … I am different because of my opportunities and challenges. Emerging evidence suggests that military children struggle with more mental health and behavioral problems than their civilian counterparts, particularly at times of deployment.” Watson and Schertz go on to pose a number of questions about military children as they age out of dependent status and transition into civilian life. For example, at FE Warren, AFB I’ve made a lot You can also help your child to brainstorm creative ways to maintain connections with loved ones living far away by using technology such as video chatting, sending pictures, and videos. December 2011; ... to a greater number of child difficulties and well-being . I learned that growing up as a Military Brat meant not just being part of a military family, but being part of the military family. Moving means not only a new home but also new neighbors, new classmates, new teachers, a new classroom, new sports teams, and the list goes on. I have travelled the world supporting my husband and have lived and breathed the challenges faced by this community. Being a military spouse can actually make some parts of going back to school easier. We’re in a unique position where we may meet someone one day in the United States, and either never see them again in your life or you may run into that person again years down the road, when you’re both living in a place like Germany. Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Veterans Strategic Analysis & Research Tool (V-START), Veterans Program for Politics and Civic Engagement. And, with each move comes many transitions. And as they grow up, the nearly 2 million military children face many of the … The basic requirements are that applicants must be a U.S. citizen between 17 and 23 years old (25 for the U.S. My military upbringing has taught me how to work harder, get further, and always be me. The wellness of military children should be approached at more than the individual level, as the greater community environment has a significant impact on children’s psychological health during deployment as well. Check in with your child’s doctor and seek support if you suspect your child might be struggling with a deployment or separation. An opportu-nity being a military child IS making new friends and seeing new places. Military Children from WAMU's Breaking Ground project sheds light on the challenges of being the child of soldiers. It is natural for humans to connect and bond to our environment and to experience sadness and grief when we leave them behind. The list can go on forever about the negatives of living in a military family, but there are also some really awesome things about being a military brat, such as becoming strong and … Future studies should focus on identifying the specific strengths and assets that help military children function well during a deployment, including reviews of current interventions to determine their success in helping military children and families throughout the deployment process. Family Separations. Most families do well after peacetime deployments since these deployments are usually safer and shorte… Changing schools multiple times over, and navigating gains and losses that are inherent of military life, requires exceptional sacrifice. Life in the military has its challenges, but also opportunities. Lastly, previously acquired developmental milestones, such as using the potty, sleeping through the night, or talking in sentences, may temporarily back-track. Pre-deployment: During the days and months leading up to deployment, service members and their families may experience a variety of stressful events, such as dealing with legal issues, creating a will, or assigning a power of attorney.Children may feel confused or anxious about what will happen to them. Although these relocations may disrupt academic and social networks, military children often function as well as, or better than, non-military children. I am different because of my opportunities and challenges. Being part of a military family can be both incredibly rewarding and sometimes frustrating. Programs for military children and families often focus on the prevention or reduction of problems. It is important to help your child know that it’s okay to feel nervous or scared, and that you are there to help them through the tough parts. At that time, only 15 percent of active-duty troops—who were nearly all men—were also parents, so the hardship on children was neither prominent nor researched. 10) We speak a different language. According to Dr. Jonathan Zaff who presented at the 2011 CNA Conference, 80 percent of military children are functioning relatively well despite the challenges. Gen. Dave and Mrs. Dulce Howe and senior at Tabb High School, won the Langley Officer’s … Positive youth development. They need to be better coordinated and delivered at the level of individuals, families, and communities. Gen. Dave and Mrs. Dulce Howe and senior at Tabb High School, won the Langley Officer's Spouses Club's 2012 Scholarship contest. We’re in a unique position where we may meet someone one day in the United States, and either never see them again in your life or you may run into that person again years down the road, when you’re both living in a place like Germany. No matter what, these separations are stressful, especially for the youngest members of our force – military children. 3. When military families establish strong relationships and have strong, supportive social networks, they perform well and display more resiliency during challenging times. The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of One in Five Minds or Clarity Child Guidance Center. You can help your child understand and process their grief by encouraging them to share their feelings and letting them know it’s normal to feel sad. problems. It’s refreshing to see recognition for the affect that has had on their lives. A child of a deployed or recently returned service member may experience increased worry about the safety of their parent or anxiety when separated from either of their parents. The Future of Children and the Military Child Education Coalition jointly developed this issue of the journal to promote effective policies and programs for military-connected children and their families by providing timely, objective information based on the best The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have led to concerning psychological, behavioral, and academic outcomes for children in military families. • There are about 1.85 million children in the U.S. with at least one parent in the military, many of whom relocate more frequently than non-military children. Publication Type – Peer-Reviewed Journal Article. It is just as important to recognize their assets and to promote them. Research and programs need to take a comprehensive approach that is strengths based and problem focused. Military Children from WAMU's Breaking Ground project sheds light on the challenges of being the child of soldiers. As most current studies only focus on the effects of deployment during the time of actual deployment, more long-term studies are needed to determine both the short and long-term effects of deployment on children and families. Experts explain mental state of military children. Military children face challenges others often do not encounter until adulthood. My military upbringing has taught me how to work harder, get further, and always be me. Though each child's reaction to stress is unique, we know that children of deployed parents are at an increased risk for these difficulties when compared with military children whose parents did not deploy1. The Unique Challenges of Military Families This training module provides civilian mental health providers with an overview of the unique characteristics of military family life. Programs exist that are intended to help, but their effectiveness is largely unknown. Most importantly, being a military family has made us all very resilient. It’s important to help your child prepare for any shifts in responsibilities and not ask your child to do anything that is above what would be developmentally expected of them. I'm Stephanie Himel-Nelson and I'm excited to be hosting this chat today. Issues in need of further research are identified, especially research into programs that assist military children and families. Finally, future studies should explore the challenges specific to military families with a special needs child, and what additional support these families may need. However, there are steps you can take to help prepare your child for a deployment, support them during the deployment, and reconnect with their deployed parent post-deployment. And it’s usually not just a relocation down the street. Many formal and informal resources already exist to support military children and families, but further assistance, support and engagement involving the broader community is still needed. 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