One of the most serious downsides of life as a service member is having to leave your children behind when you’re going on a deployment. While you understand that it’s just part of the job, the kids might suffer because of your absence.
The effects of your deployment can be enhanced when you’re divorced from the child’s other parent. Fortunately, these tips might enable you to help them adjust to the deployment.
Let the kids know as soon as is practical
While it might not be a pleasant discussion, you should let them know about the deployment as soon as you can. This gives them a chance to come to terms with you leaving. Be as honest as you can with them, but don’t make promises you can’t keep. Let them know where you’re going if possible. They might be able to help you prepare for your deployment by researching the culture where you’ll be living and working.
Encourage them to talk to you
They will likely go through a range of emotions regarding your deployment. Encourage them to talk to you about these feelings and reassure them that their emotions are normal. Some children might need to speak to a counselor, so be sure to set up an appointment if you think they need it.
Allow them to spend time with other kids
Children who have military parents may enjoy spending time with other military children. It might help them to know that there are other kids who are in the same situation. Parents and caregivers who live on or near base might even find some social activities for children through services on the base.
Remember, your parenting plan is still valid when you’re on a deployment. For some service members, virtual visits are the key to fostering their relationship with their children. It might also be possible for you to have an immediate family member, such as your parents or siblings, to spend time with your children in your absence.