10 Key Questions For Military Children's Wellness
To celebrate the Month of the Military Child, we would like to offer solutions to 10 common parenting challenges faced by military families.
Click the questions for a full blog on each topic.
Make intentional time to share the news about your deployment to ensure your child has time to process the news, voice their questions, and share any concerns. Use developmentally appropriate language to share your plans and set expectations.
Set aside time to sit with your spouse and create a coparenting plan that reflects your shared parenting values. Share this plan with your children prior to your deployment, so they can ask questions and understand their new routine.
Stay consistent to your parenting values. Maintain predictable - yet flexible - routines so your children can anticipate how their day will go. Create traditions around the change itself, like building a deployment wall.
It's okay for your children to know that you don't have all the answers. Talking through your children's fears is an opportunity to connect as a family and potentially set plans in place to alleviate some of their concerns. While open communication within your family is important, pay attention to what your children are viewing on TV and social media.
Manage your expectations of your child's reaction to your homecoming, as many factors (age, environment, etc.) can impact how well they respond to this major change. Set a specific, recurring time for you and your child to engage in a non-competitive activity you both enjoy, such as playing with play-doh or going for a walk to the park.
Focus on where your family is moving to, rather than what you are moving away from. Keep communication open with your children to avoid uncertainty and build excitement regarding your new home. Be understanding of any negative reactions and validate that their feelings are normal. If your child's level of distress is hindering their daily activities, don't hesitate to involve a counselor as this is a very stressful transition.
Family, friends, neighbors, school, church, clubs, and other organizations can all provide military families with support during trying times. Social media can be a useful tool, but it shouldn't be a primary support system. Older children can broaden their social circle by volunteering.
Military life instills many strong values - such as giving it your all and being vigilant - but it's important for parents to take the context of these lessons into account to ensure they are applied in developmentally appropriate ways.
Communicate honestly and respectfully in order to function as a team to support each other. Prioritize both family time and self-care. Consistency is key for both building new, healthy habits and fostering a sense of well-being for your children.
Every child handles stress differently, so trust your instincts. In general, parents should watch for behaviors like poor school performance, backsliding on previously mastered tasks, and becoming increasingly withdrawn, irritable, tearful or hyperactive.
This page was created thanks to the support of USAA