There are two lines of thoughts when it comes to telling children about an upcoming deployment: (1) immediately, as soon as you find out so they have a long time to prepare; or (2) wait until just a couple weeks out to reduce concern and worry in the children?
Neither one of these way are the right or wrong. Each family is different and each family is different and we all have to do what is right for our own family. But this can be difficult, what if our friends disagree and let it be known publicly?
Here are some Pro’s & Con’s of each:
As with many things the age and development of the children plays a huge role when deciding how and when to tell children that their parent is deploying. Toddlers might not understand and so it is difficult to tell them too far in advance, because they just don’t have the developmental ability to comprehend and remember that.
School aged kids and teenagers (especially those who have been through a deployment before) will be able to notice the signs of beginning of the pre-deployment cycle. Things such as frequent training, gear vomit, and tense/anxious parents are all warning signs. Because they will be able to sense that something is happening, they will not appreciate being deceived.
You also have to take into account that units typically deploy together. Chances are someone else knows they are leaving soon and you don’t want someone else to spill the beans. Especially because others might tell their children right away and as we all know children have no filters!
So how have you done it? If your spouse has never deployed how do you think you would handle it? Let me know it the comments, and join the debate!
Coming Soon: Grace Filled Parenting –
Parenting Support for Military Families
I am working on a new project, that I am so excited to share! I am currently working on a new parenting coaching program designed specifically to meet the unique needs of military families. As a fellow military spouse and family counselor I have guided many military families through the ups, downs, absences, and transitions that accompany military life. In my own military community, and online I have seen such a need for a program that addresses parenting difficulties of military life. If you do a quick Google Search or go to Amazon and look for books on military parenting strategies, you won’t find much. Maybe a few resource guides, but nothing about strategies, techniques or ideas. But this is a real need for military families who have come into my office month after month searching for solutions on how to help their children cope with separations, moving over and over again, and for how to help stay sane when they are parenting all alone.
Here are just a few areas in which you will be able to grow:
- Parenting through Deployment
- Aiding Children in adjusting through Reintegration
- Finding ways to reassure children when they are separated from extended family, friends, or their parent
- Reducing anxiety for parents & children during PCS
- Starting new schools
- How all of these events affect children at different ages
I have spent most of my life working with children, and the rest of it being a child! I have worked in preschools and children’s ministry, I have been a live in nanny, and I am trained as a family counselor at the University of South Carolina. In my experience of practicing counseling I have worked at a Children’s home, worked with families and children in a South Carolina school district where I ran multi-family groups, co-facilitated groups of elementary and middle school students, individual counseling with k-12, and family sessions. And finally as we prepare for our new PCS I am about to leave my position as a voluntary family counselor with the family life chaplain here at Fort Benning where I have worked with spouses, families, and service members.
If you are interested in learning how to navigate parenting as a military family though all the ups and downs it brings please sign up here!
As a Thank you for signing up you will receive my Behavior Chart Template along with my Simple steps for using Behavior Charts Effectively to help promote Positive Behavior in your children!
Want to help shape my program? Click here to take my survey!
If you would like to see some of blog posts about parenting and children check out:
10 Ways to Reduce Anxiety in Children