Although these relocations may disrupt academic and social networks, military children often function as well as, or better than, non-military children. 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. Approximately 10 to 12 percent of military-connected students are served in special education programs. 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. 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. Military Children from WAMU's Breaking Ground project sheds light on the challenges of being the child of soldiers. Teachers and school administrators are in a unique position to provide support and assistance to military children and their families. 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 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 … 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 … 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 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. According to Dr. Jonathan Zaff who presented at the 2011 CNA Conference, 80 percent of military children are functioning relatively well despite the challenges. Life in the military has its challenges, but also opportunities. And, with each move comes many transitions. Most importantly, being a military family has made us all very resilient. The Children of Military Service Members Challenges, Supports, and Future Educational Research. 10) We speak a different language. For most families in the United States, long separations between children and their parents are rare – unless you are a military family. This emotional cycle of deployment begins when news of deployment is released to the family. 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? Families face a number of challenges before, during, and after deployment. This can leave military children feeling lonely or socially isolated. 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. Military Children from WAMU's Breaking Ground project sheds light on the challenges of being the child of soldiers. Military children have always had to deal with the stressors of being the new kid on the block. 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. 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. 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. For example, even in the midst of feeling sad or anxious about the separation, family members may also feel pride for their service member. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. 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. Every school district in the country has military-connected students. Below are four of the top challenges that our military kids face, some common difficulties kids experience as a reaction to those challenges, and some tips to help your children through them. Some Quick Resources and Suggestions to Support your Military-Connected Child, Mansfield, A. J., Kaufman, J. S., Engel, C. C., & Gaynes, B. N. (2011). This is especially challenging for children who learn differently or have special needs. 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. 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. Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Howe, the daughter of U.S. Air Force Brig. Being a military spouse can actually make some parts of going back to school easier. Experts explain mental state of military children. 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. I have travelled the world supporting my husband and have lived and breathed the challenges faced by this community. Anyone who has experienced a move knows how stressful it is. 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. Programs exist that are intended to help, but their effectiveness is largely unknown. 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. Surprise! 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. 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! The challenge is starting over in a new school, town, or new country; leaving friends and familiar places. December 2011; ... to a greater number of child difficulties and well-being . 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. Life in the military has its challenges, but also opportunities. 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. Military families overcome challenges that most civilian families can't imagine! 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. 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. Check in with your child’s doctor and seek support if you suspect your child might be struggling with a deployment or separation. 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. Kavitha Cardoza/WAMU Check Out The Full Story From WAMU's Breaking Ground Project What items could you add to the list? For example, at FE Warren, AFB I’ve made a lot For most families in the United States, long separations between children and … Military children face challenges others often do not encounter until adulthood. If you are anticipating a move, connect with your child’s new school and community, if possible. Military children typically attend between seven to nine schools before they graduate, moving approximately every two years. 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. Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Veterans Strategic Analysis & Research Tool (V-START), Veterans Program for Politics and Civic Engagement. 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. It is natural for humans to connect and bond to our environment and to experience sadness and grief when we leave them behind. Frequent moves can also make it difficult to build and maintain friendships and social groups. 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. 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. Deployments make 9-12-month separations from a parent quite common. Gen. Dave and Mrs. Dulce Howe and senior at Tabb High School, won the Langley Officer’s Spouses Club’s 2012 Scholarship contest. 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. It begins with a review of the basic demographics of military families and a discussion of the variability among military families. The basic requirements are that applicants must be a U.S. citizen between 17 and 23 years old (25 for the U.S. An opportu-nity being a military child IS making new friends and seeing new places. This means that frequent moving comes not only with stress of readjustment, but also with feelings of sadness and grieving. Make them aware of any special needs, and advocate for getting support with the transition. The challenge is starting over in a new school, town, or new country; leaving friends and familiar places. Writing about the challenges you've faced during military life can set you apart from other college applicants. Publication Type – Peer-Reviewed Journal Article. Children may also struggle with chronic sadness or depression due to missing their deployed parent. Williams and I are both Army brats -- her father is a retired lieutenant colonel and mine is an active-duty sergeant major. Further, military families are particularly vulnerable to the negative repercussions of the favorite child complex. Programs for military children and families often focus on the prevention or reduction of problems. No, often times military families are assigned to “Throughout history, military children and families have shown great capacity for adaptation and resilience. It's one of the many side effects of being a military brat. LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va., April 12, 2012 — EDITOR'S NOTE: Elizabeth Howe, the daughter of U.S. Air Force Brig. Deployment and mental health diagnoses among children of US Army personnel. 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. 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 is even more true for children because they are developmentally primed to grow strong attachments for comfort and safety. problems. This also applies to child care services and pre-school enrollments. 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. When family members find meaning in the service member’s work, they tend to function better. December 2011; ... to a greater number of child difficulties and well-being . Deployment: When a parent is deployed, a child … Frequent classroom changes do not give a teacher time to understand how a child learns best. I am different because of my opportunities and challenges. Family Separations. It is just as important to recognize their assets and to promote them. Military-related separations often come with a shift in family roles and responsibilities. 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