“Throughout history, military children and families have shown great capacity for adaptation and resilience. Frequent moves can also make it difficult to build and maintain friendships and social groups. Without focused support and resources, military children face social and emotional challenges, difficulty understanding policies and adjusting to curriculum and school climate, difficulty qualifying for or continuing with special education services, and … Many formal and informal resources already exist to support military children and families, but further assistance, support and engagement involving the broader community is still needed. 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. LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va., April 12, 2012 — EDITOR'S NOTE: Elizabeth Howe, the daughter of U.S. Air Force Brig. Military children have always had to deal with the stressors of being the new kid on the block. 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. 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. The Children of Military Service Members Challenges, Supports, and Future Educational Research. In her work at STRONG STAR, Dr. Jacoby conducts prevention and supportive programs with military families with young children experiencing deployment. Although these relocations may disrupt academic and social networks, military children often function as well as, or better than, non-military children. 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. 3. Each relocation brings with it the numerous problems associated with transitioning between education systems that may not translate. The wellness of military children should be approached at more than the individual level, as the greater community environment has a significant impact on children’s psychological health during deployment as well. Too much responsibility, especially for things above what would typically be expected for their age, can cause a child to feel undue pressure, anxiety, or resentment. It is extremely hard when your parent leaves, but you have to realize that that is their job. Though each child's reaction to stress is unique, we know that children of deployed parents are at an increased risk for these difficulties when compared with military children whose parents did not deploy1. It’s easy to … 1,381,584 of the military-connected children are ages 4-18 years old. For example, at FE Warren, AFB I’ve made a lot Military children have always had to deal with the stressors of being the new kid on the block. This article reviews existing research on military children and families, with attention to their strengths as well as their challenges. 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. Dr. Johnson’s professional interests include the impact of deployment on children, optimizing resiliency in military families, early child development, parenting, prevention and health promotion, and enhancing the behavioral health of children with chronic health or developmental conditions. 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. Since the Vietnam War in the 1960s and ’70s, the military’s demographic has changed. Because of frequent transitions, it is unfortunately easy to miss warning signs that a child needs help. Publication Type – Peer-Reviewed Journal Article. The military teaches you to be strong and independent at such a young age. Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Howe, the daughter of U.S. Air Force Brig. 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. Make them aware of any special needs, and advocate for getting support with the transition. No matter what, these separations are stressful, especially for the youngest members of our force – military children. My military upbringing has taught me how to work harder, get further, and always be me. According to Dr. Jonathan Zaff who presented at the 2011 CNA Conference, 80 percent of military children are functioning relatively well despite the challenges. Over time, these unique stressors can take a toll on even the most resilient kids. She is member of the STRONG STAR Multidisciplinary Research Consortium and the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD, whose mission is to alleviate and prevent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other deployment related problems in active duty service members and their families. 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. Deployments make 9-12-month separations from a parent quite common. The first time I personally had to deal with a loved one dying was in college. Gen. Dave and Mrs. Dulce Howe and senior at Tabb High School, won the Langley Officer’s Spouses Club’s 2012 Scholarship contest. The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of One in Five Minds or Clarity Child Guidance Center. I am different because of my opportunities and challenges. Other children may act out or become more oppositional as they struggle with feelings of anger at having to be separated from their parent. 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. problems. And sometimes, they occur during peacetime. And as they grow up, the nearly 2 million military children face many of the … ... the majority of children are doing well despite those challenges. FORT CARSON, Colo. -- They never chose the Army, but many of them were born into it. I'm Stephanie Himel-Nelson and I'm excited to be hosting this chat today. The challenge is starting over in a new school, town, or new country; leaving friends and familiar places. And it’s usually not just a relocation down the street. Shorter separations, usually around 1 month, are even more common, as many service members must often travel for trainings and military-related educational programs. Being a military child comes with unique challenges, and yet there are many things parents and professionals can do to support their child through stressful times. Most families do well after peacetime deployments since these deployments are usually safer and shorte… Although many children in military families adjust well to the challenges of military life, some children, especially those with special needs, may still face significant problems. Many of the challenges military families face are moderated by interacting factors, such as branch of service, age, education, ethnicity, and pre-existing problems and assets. The military might consider implementing additional training programs for their service members on how to discuss deployment with family members. 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. It begins with a review of the basic demographics of military families and a discussion of the variability among military families. 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. 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. My children grieved the death of a friend’s father at the ages of nine, seven, and five. The basic requirements are that applicants must be a U.S. citizen between 17 and 23 years old (25 for the U.S. You can help your child understand and process their grief by encouraging them to share their feelings and letting them know it’s normal to feel sad. Military-related separations often come with a shift in family roles and responsibilities. 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. Although many children in military families adjust well to the challenges of military life, some children, especially those with special needs, may still face significant problems. 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. Research and programs need to take a comprehensive approach that is strengths based and problem focused. If you are anticipating a move, connect with your child’s new school and community, if possible. This also applies to child care services and pre-school enrollments. When family members find meaning in the service member’s work, they tend to function better. They need to be better coordinated and delivered at the level of individuals, families, and communities. 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! For example, even in the midst of feeling sad or anxious about the separation, family members may also feel pride for their service member. Issues of military families prior to deployment and after return ... take on the challenges while others do so with resentment. It’s refreshing to see recognition for the affect that has had on their lives. Her winning commentary, which reflects on her experiences as a military child, is published in celebration of the Month of the Military Child. 10) We speak a different language. Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Howe, the daughter of U.S. Air Force Brig. Future studies should focus on the relationships between these factors, and how they interact to determine post-deployment outcomes for these families. This can lead to difficulty keeping up with homework, school anxiety, or negative impacts on self-esteem. It is just as important to recognize their assets and to promote them. Experts explain mental state of military children. Gen. Dave and Mrs. Dulce Howe and senior at Tabb High School, won the Langley Officer’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. Because previous research has introduced the important role siblings play in an individual’s well-being, in the future, researchers should focus on the challenges facing brothers and sisters of service members, as well as the impact siblings have on military children. These separations bring a mix of complex emotions for everyone in the family. Deployment and mental health diagnoses among children of US Army personnel. It is natural for humans to connect and bond to our environment and to experience sadness and grief when we leave them behind. Military children typically attend between seven to nine schools before they graduate, moving approximately every two years. It’s refreshing to see recognition for the affect that has had on their lives. 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. 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. An opportu-nity being a military child IS making new friends and seeing new places. When military families establish strong relationships and have strong, supportive social networks, they perform well and display more resiliency during challenging times. Communities, neighborhoods, schools and extended family play a significant role in the well-being of military children during deployment. This emotional cycle of deployment begins when news of deployment is released to the family. Gen. Dave and Mrs. Dulce Howe and senior at Tabb High School, won the Langley Officer's Spouses Club's 2012 Scholarship contest. Frequent classroom changes do not give a teacher time to understand how a child learns best. December 2011; ... to a greater number of child difficulties and well-being . Surprise! Military children face challenges others often do not encounter until adulthood. Moving means not only a new home but also new neighbors, new classmates, new teachers, a new classroom, new sports teams, and the list goes on. When your parent is gone all the time for a long period of time, you have to learn to control your emotions. Vanessa Jacoby, PhD, is an Assistant Professor and Licensed Clinical Psychologist with a child specialization in the Division of Behavioral Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center. Life in the military has its challenges, but also opportunities. It's one of the many side effects of being a military brat. Lastly, previously acquired developmental milestones, such as using the potty, sleeping through the night, or talking in sentences, may temporarily back-track. 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. Community environments affect children’s adjustment and coping, and parental stress, which can be mitigated by community support. 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