Resilience is a word that military families hear often, so often that it may just sound like a modern buzzword tossed out at briefings and townhall meetings. While the term speaks to toughness, the more important meaning is the ability to bounce back, recover, and be flexible. Unfortunately, the latter often gets lost. As both a mental health professional within the military community and a member of the community personally, I too have had my moments of cringing at what seems like the overuse of “resiliency.” And then I met a military family who helped refresh this term for me.
It’s a new year, and that means it’s a perfect time to reflect on our habits and goals for ourselves and our family – especially around mental wellness for your family. I encourage you to take some time to reflect on how your family is doing in these five areas below. Take note of any areas where you would like to grow, and decide on some small steps your family could take to make those changes happen.
Topics: Military Families
The time leading up to your spouse returning from deployment is often a frenzy of varied emotions, tasks in preparation, and expectations for the time together to come. Whether your spouse has been deployed for four months or 12, to a combat zone or in support of a training mission, the transition back home is an adjustment worth considering. Here are some suggestions for how you can support your serving spouse through the re-deployment phase.
Topics: Military Families
How Military Parents Miss the Warning Signs of Mental Illness in their Kids
“I can’t believe I didn’t see this sooner.”
It’s an agonizing moment when you realize your child is possibly dealing with a mental illness. You’re a good parent, you care about your kids, and yet somehow in the midst of your busy military family life, you missed the signs.
According to Jill Palmer, Clinic Director at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Endeavors in San Antonio, you’re not alone. Military families face enormous stress with moving every few years, starting new schools, adapting to new communities and everything that comes with military life. And this stress makes it easy to miss the signs of an underlying mental illness.
With the overabundance of media outlets today, many adults have difficulty discerning the line between reality and fantasy, so it should come as no surprise when children experience these same feelings. And when the images show a nonstop barrage of war, shutdowns, terrorism and violence, a military child can experience anxiety, fear and confusion. They may not know that person in uniform on TV, but it’s someone who looks like Mom or Dad.
Military parents can help allay those negative feelings by talking to their children and validating their very real concerns.
Long before the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” found its way into American culture, military parents knew that raising their children in a safe and nurturing environment was a community effort. Being a military child brings with it inherent challenges and rewards; a strong support system within the military culture can ensure the rewards outweigh the challenges.