Your Children and Separation

October 8, 2015
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Samantha Halchak / Halchak Photography

A 2-year-old girl interrupts a homecoming ceremony to welcome back her military dad. Her dad and 1st Lt. Daniel Oglesby had this to say “Having that reunion, it doesn’t make up for the lost time, but it’s definitely a sweet moment to finally be able to see them and embrace them again.”

Via: ABC Breaking News

According to, children going through deployment may experience many of the same effects as children of divorce. They worry about what will happen to them. They worry that the non-deployed parent will leave, too. Who will take care of them? This is particularly true if the family has trouble with mail deliveries or pay allotments which is sometimes the case in early days of separation.

Here are a few tips, by, that you can do to help support your kids:

Be Truthful: Children are very perceptive! As soon as the servicemember starts planning and preparing for a drill or deployment, the child will catch on that something is up. Do not lie to your child in an attempt to shield him or her from the truth or they may assume something worse. Talk to your child openly and honestly.

Share Feelings: Children often lack the vocabulary to share their feelings. It will help if parents talk about their own feelings which will help children communicate their feelings. Let your child know that even negative thoughts and feelings are OK and normal.

Explore Destination: Using a map or globe, show your child where you are going and chart your route. Using books or encyclopedias, explore weather conditions, cultural norms, or products produced in that region.

Communicate with Teachers: If your child is school-age, let the teacher know what is going on at home. The teacher may use maps and chart your travels with the class!

Design an Activity to Pass Time: With your child, design or create an activity to help mark time. For younger children, make a paper chain with a link for each day you will be gone that the child can use to measure time (the child will break a link each day). For an older child, choose a book that you both would enjoy and each read a pre-assigned passage everyday.

Show Your Workspace: If possible, set aside time to show your child the ship and where you will be eating, sleeping, and working. Or, take your child to the armory prior to departure and show him or her the artillery guns or weapons that you might be working with while away.

Let Your Child Help You Pack: Letting your child help you pack will allow him or her to be more involved in the process and also allow them to “care” for you. If possible, let them decorate the inside of your footlocker. Not only will they have great fun but you will enjoy their artwork for days and months to come.

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