Being a “military brat” is often a badge of pride for both children and adults. I know because, not only am I a military veteran, I am also a “military brat”. My father served in the Army for 22 years. We traveled to Europe and around the US, met all sorts of people and encountered a variety of cultures. Sometimes military kids can become a bit smug when they relate their life experiences to their “normal” friends.
One of the most difficult aspects of parenting a military child is dealing with the potentially negative stereotypes children will be saddled with as a “military brat.” With the Month of the Military Child just behind us, wanted to take a minute to discuss ways to help children better understand and accept the military as a part of their lives.
Even though children are vulnerable targets for military stereotyping, families can work together to raise the youngest members of the community’s self esteem to take criticism in stride and be proud of their hard work.
Seeing as April is the month of the military child, I might as well confess: I’m a military brat, born to parents who served in the Air Force. My experience with the lifestyle was short, but I still managed to be conceived in Japan, born in California and had a PCS to Arizona.
The phrase “military brat” never bothered me. In fact, I took pride in it as an indicator of my parents’ service to our country. But that may not be the case for everyone. The word “brat” may confuse some on the surface and requires a deeper look. See More
Deployment is a difficult time for everyone involved. The danger and distance of a loved one being deployed overseas can put a strain on family relationships. With younger children one of the biggest struggles is explaining where and why their parent is leaving at an age when processing anything outside of daily life is difficult.
Dealing with a teenager who more fully understand the dangers and reality of a deployment presents a whole new set of obstacles and reactions that you should be prepared for. Here are some things to expect: See More
With so many technological temptations nowadays, kids are spending more time with cell phones, computers, game consoles and television. With the constantly changing environment of a military lifestyle, kids may be even more drawn to technology to maintain long-distance friendships or avoid new social interactions.
Despite how fun and helpful technology can be, it’s too easy for kids to spend hours in front of a screen rather than get the recommended 60 minutes of activity a day.
Parents know telling a child to do something doesn’t always mean they will; sometimes parents have to be a clever role model. If that’s the case, here are six ways to have fun and get active with your child and maybe even keep some winter blues at bay:
The transient nature of military life means it’s not altogether uncommon to hear about a service members’ child attending nine schools before graduating high school. In fact, more than 1 million children of military parents relocate every year, according to the the U.S. Census Bureau.
Unfortunately, the timing doesn’t always work out, meaning schoolchildren are at times faced with a move during the school year. A student may be in the middle of earning a foreign language credit and serving as captain of the lacrosse team, only to move to a school that doesn’t offer either.
These are difficult moves for both families and young students. But here’s a look at six ways to help ease the transition as much as possible: See More
Months or years of training leave most service members feeling prepared for the work aspects of deployment, but preparing your family and your children for the changes that come with losing a member of the family for an extended period of time is incredibly difficult.
One of the most difficult issues leading up to deployment when you have children is trying to truthfully explain what is going on and what you’re doing without scaring them or adding additional stress. The process of talking to your children about deployment and how much you tell your children depends largely on their age and maturity level.
We put these tips together for you to use when deciding how to talk to your children about deployments. See More
Deployment can trigger an emotional tide that impacts the entire family.
It can be especially difficult for children, who are suddenly faced with the departure of a mother or father. Young children can struggle to understand the “where, how and why” of a parent’s absence.
Studies have shown that some children with a deployed parent suffer from high levels of stress, which can lead to violence, mental illness and resentment that can change the entire family dynamic.
While you can’t replace that loved one serving abroad, parents, other family members and friends can help children cope by keeping them connected. Here are some long-term projects and other activities that can help children stay engaged in family life during a difficult stretch: See More