Soldiers serving this country choose the military life with all its sacrifices and danger. To some extent, so do their spouses. Their children? That’s another matter. While soldiers’ children have the good fortune to be born into families rooted in values such as selflessness and love of country, they also have to grapple with hardships other children will never face.
For instance, have you considered that deployed regular Army soldiers are typically overseas one day for every two days at home? Children of Green Berets see their dads even less often: Special Forces soldiers typically get just .69 days home for every day served overseas during deployments. This means that a typical Green Beret has been home for just five years of a 15-year-old son’s or daughter’s life!
Children’s response to these separations can vary, according to this clinical psychologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center. A child of a deployed or recently returned service member might worry about the safety of her dad, or have separation anxiety. Some may even act out or become oppositional as they deal with the anger at being separated from a father, writes Vanessa Jacoby, Phd. Some children might have chronic sadness or depression, and young children might regress on developmental steps such as potty-training or sleeping through the night.
The impact of deployment on children consistently ranks among the top issues for military families. The Blue Star Families’ 2018 annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey found that time away from family was the top issue for both active duty members and their spouses, with more than half ranking it as the top issue. More than a third of both active duty members and their spouses said the impact of deployment on children was the top issue. The survey last spring had 10,000 respondents.
Special Forces Soldiers protect our freedoms around the world so that we can sleep safely at night. Among the programs we provide, through the help of generous donors, are family resiliency retreats. Children and their parents learn skills and strategies to better handle the stresses that frequent deployments, moves and worry bring. Want to learn more? Our website is a great place to start! And never forget: The families serve, too.