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Deployment disrupts children's lives, too
ARNEWS ^ | Megan Smith

Posted on 04/25/2006 6:47:30 PM PDT by SandRat

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (Army News Service, April 25, 2006) – When deploying Soldiers leave behind loved ones, the disruption to family life can be especially hard on children.

That’s why Dr. Thomas Hardaway, a child psychiatrist and chief of behavioral medicine at Brooke Army Medical Center, spoke with first- and second-graders at Fort Campbell, Ky., last fall when the 101st Airborne Division went to Iraq. He was coaching school administrators, counselors, nurses and parents to talk with children about deployment.

“Deployment has potential to be destructive to a child’s development,” Hardaway said. “The message I’m trying to give is that (deployment) is part of Army life, and if children receive the right kind of support and education, it can actually become something that is developmentally positive.”

“This is not group therapy,” he said. “We deal with prevention as opposed to turning them into patients; we call that teaching.”

Hardaway’s deployment tips for parents:

Talk as a family before deployment.

“The family meeting is a good time to design ways to stay in touch after deployment. Include letters, e-mail, pictures and video. You might prepare addressed and stamped envelopes with children’s artwork, photos of the family, and photocopies of your children’s handprints, or record them reading or singing. This is also a good time to address painful issues of the impending deployment.”

Make plans for the family to continue to progress together, and include the deployed parent in ongoing projects.

“Help children design ways to communicate with the deployed parent. Relate progress with pictures and report cards so the deployed parent can provide encouragement. Do not discuss with the deployed parent problems they cannot do anything about.”

Continue family traditions and develop new ones.

“Don’t stop your Friday-night pizza night, or other special family times because one parent is gone. If the family has not had previous regular family traditions, now is a good time to start. Encourage children to talk about these events and activities to the deployed parent in their communication.”

To children no news is worse than bad news.

The remaining parent should be open about sharing concerns and news about what’s going on with the deployed parent. Parents should not use their children as surrogate adults and load all of their concerns on the child, but should use judgment in sharing enough to ease the child’s worries. Listen to a child’s worries about the deployed parent and answer questions as truthfully as possible.

Maintain firm and routine discipline in the home.

“Discuss with your children your intent to have very firm routines related to bedtimes, morning routines, room clean-up, chore accountability and homework. Then follow through.”

Initiate and maintain a close relationship with the school and teachers.

Ask school or other caregivers to watch for signs of stress in your child that may include behavioral problems, mood changes, tearfulness or irritability. Younger children might require repeated reassurance that they will be taken care of.

As the remaining parent, make sure you take care of yourself.

Take care of your physical self, talk to other adults about your emotions and squeeze in time for something you enjoy. You will be better able to help your children if you are coping well.

(Editor’s note: Megan Smith writes for the Fort Campbell Courier.)

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; US: Kentucky
KEYWORDS: childrens; deployment; disrupts; lives; too

1 posted on 04/25/2006 6:47:32 PM PDT by SandRat
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To: SandRat

It's better than the children being blown up by terrorists.

2 posted on 04/25/2006 6:58:06 PM PDT by pcottraux (It's pronounced "P. Coe-troe.")
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To: SandRat
Growing up in a Navy household gives you lots of practice. My dad was perpetually deployed on sea duty from my birth until age 13. The exceptions were kindergarten and first grade in Hawaii (a desk job in in Pearl Harbor), a desk job at the Pentagon (1/2 5th grade -> 1/2 7th grade). He finished sea duty and went to a desk job permanently at the start of 9th grade.

Having the movers show up every two years is disruptive. They empty all your neatly arranged desk drawer contents into ONE box to be sorted at the next location. Those lasting friends of two years duration are left behind and a new round of meeting people in the next location begins.

I recall receiving 3 inch audio tapes from my dad in the mail. I learned to thread the tapes onto the reel to reel recorder at age 5. When I was 15, he took me down to the music store and purchased a good quality bugle so I could attend to my duties in the scout troop. He left for Vietnam for the 3rd time the next day. During that deployment, the gas valve failed on the forced air heater. That explained why the house was cold as hell for 3 weeks. I rode my bicycle 10 miles to an appliance store and purchased a replacement. A little Teflon tape and a check with some soapy water confirmed a good install. When dad is out at sea, everyone has to pick up the slack to keep things running smoothly.

3 posted on 04/25/2006 7:12:25 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Myrddin
That just proves you had a copy of BUSHIPS/FMMF/AFM/FM R-U-1-2 Real Military Spouses and children Can Do Anything On Their Own.


4 posted on 04/25/2006 7:18:20 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat
I could have secretly authored it from personal experience :-)
5 posted on 04/25/2006 7:24:01 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Myrddin

I thought that was my wife and 3 kids that authored it. LOL!

6 posted on 04/25/2006 7:27:45 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: Myrddin

A poem written by a young Navy brat...these kill me.

Author Unknown

My daddy loves me
I already know
He hugs me and kisses me
Please daddy, don't go.

As he leaves our home
On this cold wintery morn
I know that I'll miss him
My heart will be torn.

See my daddy's a sailor
I'm so glad to say
He sails on a ship
Sometimes so far away.

He travels the ocean
And goes to many places
He visits foreign countries
And sees different faces.

My daddy he misses me
He always writes me a letter
To say he'll be home soon
And that all will be better.

I'm counting the days
Until my daddy comes back
When he walks in the door
I will help him unpack.

Oh daddy please hurry
I'm waiting for you
I know you're still out there
On the ocean so blue.

Just sailing and sailing
And sailing the seas
I hope you are coming
Hurry up daddy, please.

It's been a long time
But the day's finally here
When my daddy comes home
I know that he's near.

I watch as his ship
Returns from the sea
We're proud of my daddy
My mommy and me.

He walks off the ship
As proud as can be
He did his part
So we can be free.

I run to my daddy
for a hug and a kiss
He squeezes me so tightly
A squeeze that I miss.

I'm happy my dad's home
Happy as can be
I know he did his job
for my mommy and me.

7 posted on 04/25/2006 7:36:29 PM PDT by Wristpin ("The Yankees announce plan to buy every player in Baseball....")
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