FORT CARSON, Colo. -- They never chose the Army, but many of them were born into it. An opportu-nity being a military child IS making new friends and seeing new places. It begins with a review of the basic demographics of military families and a discussion of the variability among military families. 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. The basic requirements are that applicants must be a U.S. citizen between 17 and 23 years old (25 for the U.S. Check in with your child’s doctor and seek support if you suspect your child might be struggling with a deployment or separation. Tasks and responsibilities held by the service-member parent must be delegated while they are deployed. My military upbringing has taught me how to work harder, get further, and always be me. 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. For most families in the United States, long separations between children and their parents are rare – unless you are a military family. This means that frequent moving comes not only with stress of readjustment, but also with feelings of sadness and grieving. It is extremely hard when your parent leaves, but you have to realize that that is their job. An opportu-nity being a military child IS making new friends and seeing new places. The Children of Military Service Members Challenges, Supports, and Future Educational Research. 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. Research and programs need to take a comprehensive approach that is strengths based and problem focused. If you believe your child is struggling with these challenges, use whatever support is available to you, such as a therapist. Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Veterans Strategic Analysis & Research Tool (V-START), Veterans Program for Politics and Civic Engagement. Gen. Dave and Mrs. Dulce Howe and senior at Tabb High School, won the Langley Officer's Spouses Club's 2012 Scholarship contest. I have travelled the world supporting my husband and have lived and breathed the challenges faced by this community. Finally, future studies should explore the challenges specific to military families with a special needs child, and what additional support these families may need. It is just as important to recognize their assets and to promote them. 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. Children may also struggle with chronic sadness or depression due to missing their deployed parent. When military families establish strong relationships and have strong, supportive social networks, they perform well and display more resiliency during challenging times. 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 … 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. Kavitha Cardoza/WAMU Check … And as they grow up, the nearly 2 million military children face many of the … “Throughout history, military children and families have shown great capacity for adaptation and resilience. 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. 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. This can leave military children feeling lonely or socially isolated. Gen. Dave and Mrs. Dulce Howe and senior at Tabb High School, won the Langley Officer’s … Military children have always had to deal with the stressors of being the new kid on the block. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. One thing you always hear about military brats is that they move around a lot, and that’s true. 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, at FE Warren, AFB I’ve made a lot Deployments average 3 to 15 months. Being a military child is somewhat like being a part of an elite club. 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. Frequent moves can also make it difficult to build and maintain friendships and social groups. 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. 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. And, with each move comes many transitions. For example, at FE Warren, AFB I’ve made a lot Most importantly, being a military family has made us all very resilient. Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Howe, the daughter of U.S. Air Force Brig. Military children face challenges others often do not encounter until adulthood. 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. Writing about the challenges you've faced during military life can set you apart from other college applicants. Military children have always had to deal with the stressors of being the new kid on the block. 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. Most families do well after peacetime deployments since these deployments are usually safer and shorte… 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. Kavitha Cardoza/WAMU Check Out The Full Story From WAMU's Breaking Ground Project Military life means moving a lot. Being a military child is somewhat like being a part of an elite club. 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! Military children and families deserve greater attention from psychology.”. Additional research on the experiences of National Guard and Reserve families, who often have less access to support services, would also be valuable. Talk with your child before the move to help them prepare, build a support system, and check in with them frequently in the months after the move. For example, even in the midst of feeling sad or anxious about the separation, family members may also feel pride for their service member. I'm Stephanie Himel-Nelson and I'm excited to be hosting this chat today. Family Separations. Her winning commentary, which reflects on her experiences as a military child, is published in celebration of the Month of the Military Child. I am different because of my opportunities and challenges. 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. This also applies to child care services and pre-school enrollments. No job is just a mommy or just a daddy job. 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. • 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. What items could you add to the list? When family members find meaning in the service member’s work, they tend to function better. Changing schools multiple times over, and navigating gains and losses that are inherent of military … 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. Children of military and veteran families experience unique challenges related to military life and culture. Military-related separations often come with a shift in family roles and responsibilities. Experts explain mental state of military children. • 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. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have led to concerning psychological, behavioral, and academic outcomes for children in military families. On average, military families are assigned to a new installation every two to three years. Gen. Dave and Mrs. Dulce Howe and senior at Tabb High School, won the Langley Officer’s Spouses Club’s 2012 Scholarship contest. And it’s usually not just a relocation down the street. 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. The military teaches you to be strong and independent at such a young age. Further, military families are particularly vulnerable to the negative repercussions of the favorite child complex. The military might consider implementing additional training programs for their service members on how to discuss deployment with family members. 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. 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. Community environments affect children’s adjustment and coping, and parental stress, which can be mitigated by community support. 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 … 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. • Alternatively, family members may exhibit increased resilience and personal growth, and become closer after deployments. 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. 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. 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. One in Five Minds and Clarity Child Guidance Center accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. No matter what, these separations are stressful, especially for the youngest members of our force – military children. 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. Military Children from WAMU's Breaking Ground project sheds light on the challenges of being the child of soldiers. It's one of the many side effects of being a military brat. 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. problems. Positive youth development. Some Quick Resources and Suggestions to Support your Military-Connected Child, Mansfield, A. J., Kaufman, J. S., Engel, C. C., & Gaynes, B. N. (2011). Life in the military has its challenges, but also opportunities. It’s easy to … This article reviews existing research on military children and families, with attention to their strengths as well as their challenges. 1,381,584 of the military-connected children are ages 4-18 years old. 10) We speak a different language. 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 … Issues in need of further research are identified, especially research into programs that assist military children and families. Surprise! The challenge is starting over in a new school, town, or new country; leaving friends and familiar places. The first time I personally had to deal with a loved one dying was in college. Programs for military children and families often focus on the prevention or reduction of problems. Other children may act out or become more oppositional as they struggle with feelings of anger at having to be separated from their parent. No, often times military families are assigned to Anyone who has experienced a move knows how stressful it is. December 2011; ... to a greater number of child difficulties and well-being . Approximately 10 to 12 percent of military-connected students are served in special education programs. This is even more true for children because they are developmentally primed to grow strong attachments for comfort and safety. 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. It’s refreshing to see recognition for the affect that has had on their lives. This can lead to difficulty keeping up with homework, school anxiety, or negative impacts on self-esteem. 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. Shorter separations, usually around 1 month, are even more common, as many service members must often travel for trainings and military-related educational programs. The military community is one that is close to my heart being an ex-soldier and a current wife to a serving solider and mother to 2 young service children. This is especially challenging for children who learn differently or have special needs. 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. When military families establish strong relationships and have strong, supportive social networks, they perform well and display more resiliency during challenging times. Make them aware of any special needs, and advocate for getting support with the transition. 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. Deployment: When a parent is deployed, a child … My military upbringing has taught me how to work harder, get further, and always be me. Every school district in the country has military-connected students. 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