As military families, we are used to having to tackle the harder subjects in life, and we hit them head-on. We know we need to be honest with our kids about war, and about what our deployed service members are facing. However, there is always a balance between the truth about tragedy and information that could be too overwhelming for younger ears.
I was thinking about the horrific shooting early Friday morning at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater. How can we explain this tragedy and others like it to our children while maintaining a sense of trust? How can we assure they can be safe and still meet good people in this world?
When I worked in children’s mental health the idea of behavior being a form of communication became apparent. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the behavioral component of communication and just feel frustrated with the behavior.
But what’s considered “bad behavior” may be the only way your child knows how to deal with stress and fear.
Children communicate in ways that sometimes leaves their parents confused and frustrated. When children are faced with adult-sized stress and only have a child-sized understanding they fill the chasm with behavior. When words fail, they act out.
When I meet other Blue Star parents who are facing deployment for the first time, often one of the first questions I get is “how much communication do you get during deployment?” and “How can I stay connected when he (or she) is so far away?”
These are tough questions to answer. Some of it depends on the branch of the military your son or daughter is in, and what his or her occupation in that branch is, and how you and your son or daughter’s communication is now. Another very important variable is where he or she will be deploying! See More