Military Children and Deployments

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Military children are in a league of their own, and at very young ages are thrown into situations of great stress. Approximately 1.2 million children live in the U.S. Military families (Kelly. 2003) and at least 700,000 of them have had at least one parent deployed (Johnson et al. 2007). Every child handles a deployment differently, some may regress in potty training, and others may become extremely aggressive. Many different things can happen, in most cases when a parent deploys and the child becomes difficult to handle, it can cause a massive amount of stress on the parent that is not deployed as well as added stress on the parent who is deployed. There are three stages of a deployment, pre-deployment, deployment, and reintegration, being educated on these three things can make a deployment “run” smoothly for the entire family. The pre-deployment stage can be extremely stressful for the family, out of the three stages it is more often than not, the worst. During the pre-deployment stage, parents can sometimes become preoccupied with the preparation and anticipation of the Active Duty member leaving, and will spend little time preparing their children. When a child finds out that a parent is being deployed they can sometimes be overwhelmed with emotion. The child will go through two phases Expectation for Separation, and Emotional Withdrawal. Expectation for Separation usually occurs six to eight weeks prior to the deployment. Feelings during this phase can range from excitement, denial, fear, to even anger. Emotional Withdrawal usually occurs one week prior to deployment. Feelings that most children will experience include ambivalence, fear, resentment, and even guilt (U.S. Department of Defense, n.d.). As the d... ... middle of paper ... .... (2007). The Psychological Needs of U.S. Military Service Members and Their Families: A Preliminary Report. (Presidential Task Force on Military Deployment Services for Youth, Families and Service Members). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Kelly, M.L. (2003). Geographic Mobility, Family, and Maternal Variables As Related To The Psychological Adjustment Of Military Children. Military Medicine, 168, 1019-1024. Pavlicin, K.M. (2003). Surviving Deployment: A Guide For Military Families. St.Paul, MN: Elva Resa U.S. Department of Defense. (n.d.) Educator’s Guide to the Military Child During Deployment. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from http://k12.wa.us/OperationMilitaryKids/pubdocs/educatorsguide.pdf USO, Inc. (2009). United Through Reading. Retrieved March 20, 2010, from http://uso.org/whatwedo/usoprograms/unitedthroughreading/

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