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. 

1. How do I prepare my child for my deployment?

Preparing A Child For A Parent’s Deployment

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. 

2. What can I do to co-parent effectively during my deployment?

How to Coparent during a deployment

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. 

3. How can I be a consistent parent to my children when my career is unpredictable?

What Does Consistency In Parenting Look Like For Military Families

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.

4. How much information is too much information for my child?

Upfront Communication Can Help Ease The Fears Of Military Children

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. 

5. How do I reconnect with my child when I return home after deployment?

Reconnecting With Your Child After Deployment

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. 

6. How can I make relocating easier on my children?

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation - Planning Ahead Helps Kids Deal With Moving Stressors

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.

7. What does a strong support system look like for military kids?

A Strong Support System Reaps Big Rewards For Military Kids

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.

8. How can I effectively incorporate my military values into my family life?

How To Take The Best Of Your Military Training Into The Family And Leave The Rest At The Door

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.

9. How can I foster mental wellness for my family in the midst of stressful changes?

5 Healthy Habits To Promote Mental Wellness For Military Families

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.

10. When does a child's behavior change from normal to a mental health issue?

Helping Your Child Cope With A Military Deployment

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.

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This page was created thanks to the support of USAA

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