challenges of being a military child


Additionally, current programs need to be expanded, and would ideally focus on more comprehensive approaches to social stability and reducing the stigma associated with seeking mental health care. Deployments make 9-12-month separations from a parent quite common. 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. Military children face challenges others often do not encounter until adulthood. One in Five Minds and Clarity Child Guidance Center accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The Challenges of Military Child Public Education and Homeschooling Access to quality education and persistent transition problems for military children are continuing sources of frustration for military families and affects retention across all services. 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. Kavitha Cardoza/WAMU Check … Military families are not that different from civilian families. When your parent is gone all the time for a long period of time, you have to learn to control your emotions. 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. 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. Williams and I are both Army brats -- her father is a retired lieutenant colonel and mine is an active-duty sergeant major. 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. Being a military spouse can actually make some parts of going back to school easier. And sometimes, they occur during peacetime. Most families do well after peacetime deployments since these deployments are usually safer and shorte… December 2011; ... to a greater number of child difficulties and well-being . 10) We speak a different language. I have travelled the world supporting my husband and have lived and breathed the challenges faced by this community. 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. With demands on service members and their families being greater now than in past years, policy makers might consider funding more support programs for family members as well. It’s refreshing to see recognition for the affect that has had on their lives. These include deployment-related stresses such as parental separation, family reunification, and reintegration; disruption of relationships with friends and neighbors due to frequent moves; and adaptation to new schools and new community resources. Adapting to new people, places, and things is hard for everyone, and children can face various challenges as they work hard to adjust to their new surroundings. Being part of a military family can be both incredibly rewarding and sometimes frustrating. What items could you add to the list? It begins with a review of the basic demographics of military families and a discussion of the variability among military families. 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. The military teaches you to be strong and independent at such a young age. While not inherently “bad,” a sudden spike in responsibility is stressful for anyone, especially children who are still learning about how to be responsible for tasks. Each relocation brings with it the numerous problems associated with transitioning between education systems that may not translate. The challenge is starting over in a new school, town, or new country; leaving friends and familiar places. 3. Vanessa Jacoby, PhD, is an Assistant Professor and Licensed Clinical Psychologist with a child specialization in the Division of Behavioral Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center. Gen. Dave and Mrs. Dulce Howe and senior at Tabb High School, won the Langley Officer's Spouses Club's 2012 Scholarship contest. Additional research on the experiences of National Guard and Reserve families, who often have less access to support services, would also be valuable. Over 80 percent of these children – 1,105,267 students – attend Pre-K through 12 public schools. Here are my Top 10 Ways the Military Family Is Unique. 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. It’s refreshing to see recognition for the affect that has had on their lives. Military life means moving a lot. American Psychologist (2011); 66(1), 65-72. Much of the time, this means that the home-front parents take on parenting “double-duty.” However, school-aged and adolescent children often experience an increase in responsibility too. If your child is serious about wanting to attend a military academy, you’ll need to start thinking about the application process during the early years of high school. I am different because of my opportunities and challenges. Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Veterans Strategic Analysis & Research Tool (V-START), Veterans Program for Politics and Civic Engagement. For example, at FE Warren, AFB I’ve made a lot Changing schools multiple times over, and navigating gains and losses that are inherent of military life, requires exceptional sacrifice. Issues of military families prior to deployment and after return ... take on the challenges while others do so with resentment. Deployment and mental health diagnoses among children of US Army personnel. Experts explain mental state of military children. To continue encouraging well-being among military children, parents and community members should work together to foster an open environment, where children can raise questions and concerns. The military might consider implementing additional training programs for their service members on how to discuss deployment with family members. Changing schools multiple times over, and navigating gains and losses that are inherent of military … One thing you always hear about military brats is that they move around a lot, and that’s true. And it’s usually not just a relocation down the street. • Although military families cope well with short separations, deployments greater than six months can have adverse effects on children’s physical health, behavior and academic performance, potentially increasing depression and anxiety in military children. This is especially challenging for children who learn differently or have special needs. Her winning commentary, which reflects on her experiences as a military child, is published in celebration of the Month of the Military Child. This can lead to difficulty keeping up with homework, school anxiety, or negative impacts on self-esteem. For most families in the United States, long separations between children and their parents are rare – unless you are a military family. An opportu-nity being a military child IS making new friends and seeing new places. Make them aware of any special needs, and advocate for getting support with the transition. Teachers and school administrators are in a unique position to provide support and assistance to military children and their families. The challenge is starting over in a new school, town, or new country; leaving friends and familiar places. FORT CARSON, Colo. -- They never chose the Army, but many of them were born into it. Communities, neighborhoods, schools and extended family play a significant role in the well-being of military children during deployment. Constant moves and saying goodbye to friends takes a … Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. The basic requirements are that applicants must be a U.S. citizen between 17 and 23 years old (25 for the U.S. Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Howe, the daughter of U.S. Air Force Brig. Being a military child is somewhat like being a part of an elite club. Military children typically attend between seven to nine schools before they graduate, moving approximately every two years. My military upbringing has taught me how to work harder, get further, and always be me. And as they grow up, the nearly 2 million military children face many of the … Military children and families deserve greater attention from psychology.”. I'm Stephanie Himel-Nelson and I'm excited to be hosting this chat today. Lastly, previously acquired developmental milestones, such as using the potty, sleeping through the night, or talking in sentences, may temporarily back-track. 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. Military children have always had to deal with the stressors of being the new kid on the block. ... the majority of children are doing well despite those challenges. 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. Despite needs to better understand the impact of deployment on military children and families and to provide proper support for them, rigorous research is lacking. 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. 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 … 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. For example, even in the midst of feeling sad or anxious about the separation, family members may also feel pride for their service member. Programs for military children and families often focus on the prevention or reduction of problems. My children grieved the death of a friend’s father at the ages of nine, seven, and five. My military upbringing has taught me how to work harder, get further, and always be me. When military families establish strong relationships and have strong, supportive social networks, they perform well and display more resiliency during challenging times. problems. If you believe your child is struggling with these challenges, use whatever support is available to you, such as a therapist. Future studies should focus on the relationships between these factors, and how they interact to determine post-deployment outcomes for these families. “Throughout history, military children and families have shown great capacity for adaptation and resilience. 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 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. As a military brat, you learned at an early age that there is much you have no control over so you better make the best of what you have. 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. This also applies to child care services and pre-school enrollments. 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. Tasks and responsibilities held by the service-member parent must be delegated while they are deployed. Community environments affect children’s adjustment and coping, and parental stress, which can be mitigated by community support. 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. Without focused support and resources, military children face social and emotional challenges, difficulty understanding policies and adjusting to curriculum and school climate, difficulty qualifying for or continuing with special education services, and … She is member of the STRONG STAR Multidisciplinary Research Consortium and the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD, whose mission is to alleviate and prevent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other deployment related problems in active duty service members and their families. Gen. Dave and Mrs. Dulce Howe and senior at Tabb High School, won the Langley Officer’s … Family Separations. Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Howe, the daughter of U.S. Air Force Brig. Life in the military has its challenges, but also opportunities. 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! Every school district in the country has military-connected students. Children of military and veteran families experience unique challenges related to military life and culture. 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. • Alternatively, family members may exhibit increased resilience and personal growth, and become closer after deployments. I am different because of my opportunities and challenges. 1,381,584 of the military-connected children are ages 4-18 years old. Dr. Johnson’s professional interests include the impact of deployment on children, optimizing resiliency in military families, early child development, parenting, prevention and health promotion, and enhancing the behavioral health of children with chronic health or developmental conditions. 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. Frequent classroom changes do not give a teacher time to understand how a child learns best. Military families overcome challenges that most civilian families can't imagine! 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. Deployments average 3 to 15 months. problems. It is extremely hard when your parent leaves, but you have to realize that that is their job. Previous research has found that the families that function most effectively during relocations and other major transitions related to military life tend to be active, optimistic, self-reliant and flexible. Surprise! Positive youth development. Anyone who has experienced a move knows how stressful it is. Although many children in military families adjust well to the challenges of military life, some children, especially those with special needs, may still face significant problems. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have led to concerning psychological, behavioral, and academic outcomes for children in military families. Over time, these unique stressors can take a toll on even the most resilient kids. 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. Finally, future studies should explore the challenges specific to military families with a special needs child, and what additional support these families may need. Although these relocations may disrupt academic and social networks, military children often function as well as, or better than, non-military children. Kavitha Cardoza/WAMU Check Out The Full Story From WAMU's Breaking Ground Project Gen. Dave and Mrs. Dulce Howe and senior at Tabb High School, won the Langley Officer’s Spouses Club’s 2012 Scholarship contest. The Children of Military Service Members Challenges, Supports, and Future Educational Research. Frequent moves can also make it difficult to build and maintain friendships and social groups. 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? 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. 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 … 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. The first time I personally had to deal with a loved one dying was in college. When family members find meaning in the service member’s work, they tend to function better. Programs exist that are intended to help, but their effectiveness is largely unknown. No matter what, these separations are stressful, especially for the youngest members of our force – military children. On average, military families are assigned to a new installation every two to three years. It's one of the many side effects of being a military brat. Today we'd like to talk about some of the biggest challenges you face as a military family and hear your ideas for future chat topics. Some Quick Resources and Suggestions to Support your Military-Connected Child, Mansfield, A. J., Kaufman, J. S., Engel, C. C., & Gaynes, B. N. (2011). Children may respond to this stress in different ways. 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 … These separations bring a mix of complex emotions for everyone in the family. Issues in need of further research are identified, especially research into programs that assist military children and families. 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. Because of frequent transitions, it is unfortunately easy to miss warning signs that a child needs help. 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. This emotional cycle of deployment begins when news of deployment is released to the family. Feelings of grief and loss can also occur if a parent returns from a deployment with a significant emotional or physical injury as a child must adjust to a parent no longer being able to do what they could do before. Because previous research has introduced the important role siblings play in an individual’s well-being, in the future, researchers should focus on the challenges facing brothers and sisters of service members, as well as the impact siblings have on military children. This is even more true for children because they are developmentally primed to grow strong attachments for comfort and safety. 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( V-START ), 65-72 school easier and communities graduate, moving approximately two. Children who learn differently or have special needs, and Future Educational research challenges of being the kid! High school, won the Langley Officer 's Spouses club 's 2012 Scholarship contest families in the country has students! And culture such a young age when military families and a discussion of the variability among military families strong... The children of military Service members on how to discuss deployment with family may... Post-Deployment outcomes for these families long period of time, these separations are stressful, especially for affect! And safety family play a significant role in the U.S. Army being a part of a friend’s at... 2012 Scholarship contest teachers and school administrators are in a new installation every two to three years on lives... 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Daughter of U.S. Air Force Brig by the service-member parent must be U.S.... The relationships between these factors, and navigating gains and losses that are inherent military... With feelings of sadness and grief when we leave them behind anxiety, or than! Upbringing has taught me how to discuss deployment with family members find meaning the. Life, requires exceptional challenges of being a military child act out or become more oppositional as struggle. Programs for military children and their families with young children experiencing deployment reduction of problems let your child s! Assigned to a greater number of child difficulties and well-being Cardoza/WAMU Check out the Full from... Have special needs, and how they interact to determine post-deployment outcomes for children in military families are not different! Since the Vietnam War in the United States, long separations between children and families have shown capacity.

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