All too often we are seeing an image like the one above, a child hugging her father’s leg as he prepares to deploy. When we think of deployments we think mostly about the soldier and what he will be faced with while being away from home. However, just as organizations are forming at a rapid pace to help support the soldier deal with deploying, organizations to support the soldier’s children are also increasing in numbers. America is realizing that not only do we have to help support the American Soldier, but the children of these soldiers, who are waiting on their parents return, are also in need of support.
The military child can endure an incredible amount of stress when a parent deploys to another location for a length of time. With deployments for soldiers being no less than a year these days, military children are having to adjust longer to having one parent in the household. The spouse left behind is finding themselves taking over the roll of both parents as they struggle everyday to make sure their child continues to strive and develop.
Luckily, spouses left behind can find support not only at military bases Family Centers, but also on the Internet. So many incredible organizations and individual people are using their experiences to help support military families with children while their spouse is deployed. From organizations such as the National Military Family Association and Our Military Kids, to individual authors who have written books (that can be found on Amazon to help children deal with a parent being away from home), America is responding to the needs of military children.
The National Fatherhood Initiative has developed a military section on their website, hoping to reach out to fathers who are looking for support to help guide them with caring for their child while serving. With the creation of books, pamphlets, videos, and numerous programs, fathers too can feel a little less stressed knowing that resources to help them, while their wife is deployed, is only a click away. Same goes for the wives, who struggle while their husbands are deployed overseas. They too can find much needed support from not only the Family Readiness centers on military installations, but also from other moms who are going through the same situation.
Loaded with lots of activities, Deployment Kids is another great website, created so children of a deployed parent can stay busy by making a special deployment journal, playing name games or even making post cards to then send to their father or mother overseas. A website as such, though only one in thousands on the Internet, can be used to teach a child what deployments are about, give a child an opportunity to get their mind off of the missing parent, or better yet, help to strengthen the bond between child and parent.
Though all children are different and react differently to a parent being deployed, so many support groups are out there ready to help support children get through the struggle of missing their parent. Another great website I stumbled upon one day is the Voice For The Military Child, which is a blog that allows military children to write a little about themselves and what they go through growing up in the military. Many children on this site talk about dealing with having a loved one deployed, and what a better way for a child to be able to understand that they are not alone than to read first hand what others their age are going through.
The blog Voice For The Military Child allows military children to express themselves; it allows them to speak about their feelings and what they are going through while growing up in the military. I find it so interesting to read about what these children have to say as they speak about everything from school, moving, new friends, to dealing with their parent being deployed overseas. For someone like myself who served his country, yet grew up in a small town in New York far away from any major military base, I’m able to get a glimpse of what it would be like to be raised as a military child reading what these children wrote about.
Any Veteran will tell you that the support out there for us is the greatest it has ever been, though Veterans who have families will tell you to please not forget about their spouse and especially their children. The military child needs America’s support more than ever, as they too struggle to cope from being separated from their parent or parents who are deployed to an overseas location.
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