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.
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.
The military move. Inevitable and exciting? Yes. Stressful? Not necessarily. With planning and communication, a military move can be something children – and parents – look forward to and not dread.
Coparenting, or the coordination between parents as they work together to raise a child, is hard work. Staying consistent, attuned, and effective as a team is a challenge for any family. For military families, separations due to trainings and deployments add to that challenge.
Topics: Military Families