Military Children and Deployments

opinion Essay
1531 words
1531 words

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.).

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(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


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

USO, Inc. (2009). United Through Reading. Retrieved March 20, 2010,


In this essay, the author

  • Opines that parents should inform their children's caregivers and teachers that a parent will be deploying.
  • Advises parents to be consistent with rules, discipline, and their daily routine. if their child is angry, the parent should teach them positive ways to express their feelings. military installations offer give parents a break.
  • Opines that the final stage of a deployment is reintegration, and that parents should plan to spend some time with their children by doing activities that are special to them.
  • Opines that military families should be educated on the different coping strategies that are needed to get through the stages of deployment.
  • Explains that military children are in a league of their own, and at very young ages are thrown into situations of great stress.
  • Explains that when a military member deploys, the family members will have feelings of loss, loneliness, emptiness, and worry. children of deployed military members reach different levels of adjustment.
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