Support for Military Families

> Download a Fact Sheet on Isolation (in English or Spanish)
> Download a Fact Sheet on Solo Parenting (in English)
> Listen to the Parenting Today radio show on Supporting Military Families

Nearly two million children in the U.S. today have one or both parents in the military, many of whom are deployed. Parenting is a tough job for all of us. But for families in the military, raising children can pose a unique set of challenges and concerns.

Families in the military have special needs, and parents should look for support as they navigate the often challenging life of a military family. Parenting is not easy, but we know it can be even harder for families in the military. What are some of the common experiences that cause challenges?

– Relocations
– Deployment
– Isolation for parents and children
– Stress/depression/mental health issues

What are some proactive things parents can do to be ready to handle these experiences?
1. Strengthen family communication
2. Establish family traditions, schedules (when possible)
3. Participate in support groups (for parents), playgroups (for kids)
4. 
Therapy to manage mental health, stress, depression, etc.

  • Unfortunately, families in the military – especially after a parent returns from deployment – often face some very serious issues. What does that include?

– Mental health issues: depression, PTSD, anger, etc.
– Physical disabilities
– Economic/employment issues
– Strain on parent’s relationships as well as relationship with children/other family

For the spouse or partner of a soldier, there are special challenges as well. They might feel isolated from their other friends and family who are not in the military, have stress or serious concern for their partner, and/or are often living as a single parent (especially during deployment), managing a hectic schedule, AND managing all household/family duties alone.

Support systems are critical for these families. Parents in military families have special needs above and beyond the average parent. That’s why they deserve support and services – and should never be ashamed to ask for help. If you’re a parent in the military community, we suggest contacting your Family Advocacy Program for news about support groups, workshops, counseling and more. Get help to build your support system – from professionals on base to friends, family members and other military families. This will strengthen your resiliency and help your family manage the added stress, unexpected changes and everyday challenges of raising children while serving in the military.