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December 15, 2020

Common Reactions of Military Kids When a Parent Deploys

Deployment is never an easy time for any military family. Although parents may have their own share of challenges that they have to deal with, in most cases, the children are the ones who bear the brunt of the situation. Parents often find themselves wondering how the separation may affect their kids and how they can help them through this difficult time.


What Are the Common Reactions of Military Kids When a Parent Deploys?

You can’t expect the reactions of your kids to be the same since their reactions depend on their ages. The key is to keep an eye out for your children’s behavior so that you can look for any changes that may indicate their need for help in coping with your spouse’s deployment. To give you an idea about the possible behavioral changes that your children may exhibit, Veteran Car Donations rounds up the common reactions of military kids when a parent deploys:

  • Preschoolers

Since the younger children tend to be the ones who will struggle more with the changes in your family’s dynamics, they will need to be constantly reassured that they are loved, safe and that they didn’t do anything to make their mom or dad leave. Preschoolers are more likely to show higher emotional reactivity.

Other signs of distress include clinging to people or a favorite toy, unexplained tearfulness or crying, preferring to play with adults over peers, aggressive behavior toward people or things, becoming very quiet, sleeping difficulties or night terrors, eating difficulties, separation anxiety, and temper tantrums that increase in severity over time.

  • School Age

The level of stress that the at-home parent experiences is the most critical predictor of the psychological well-being of a school-age child during a parent’s deployment. According to research, school-age children tend to be more prone to psychosocial problems when their parents are relatively younger or were married for a shorter period of time or had a junior enlisted rank. Furthermore, these psychosocial problems will tend to persist even after the deployed parent returns home.

The behavioral changes that you need to watch out for include body complaints, irritability, refusing to go to school or complaining about it, declining grades, and unexplained anger toward the at-home parent.

  • Teens

Teenagers are more likely to struggle with anxiety about the safety and well-being of their deployed parents especially if their parents are deployed overseas. Children of this age also tend to become more responsible and emotionally mature. However, when a parent is deployed for extended periods of time, teens are more likely to experience emotional challenges that could get worse when the mental well-being of the at-home parent is not stable and when their coping skills are not effective.

Examples of a teenager’s maladjusted behavior include acting out at home and at school, trouble with the law, low self-esteem, self-criticism, misdirected anger, declining grades, and loss of interest in their usual hobbies.

Learning how to spot these common reactions of military kids when a parent deploys is crucial in finding an appropriate solution to address this issue. Never hesitate to seek help from a professional who knows and understands the needs of a military family. However difficult it may be for you or your spouse to handle the negative effects of deployment on your children, it’s still possible for the whole family to adjust to the realities of life in the military with a little help.


How to Help Veterans and their Families

It only takes an unwanted vehicle to turn around the lives of needy veterans and their families. When you donate your clunker to Veteran Car Donations, you’ll help our IRS-certified 501(c)3 charity partners enhance the dignity and quality of life of our nation’s heroes.

We auction off all donated vehicles and use the proceeds from the sales to help finance our charity partners’ programs. They provide deserving veterans with mortgage-free and specially adapted homes, free mental health care, employment opportunities, job training, transitioning assistance, tutoring support, education scholarships, financial assistance, and other benefits.

As a donor, you’ll get to have your car hauled away for free from a location of your choice. Plus, you’ll also receive from us a tax-deductible sales receipt that will entitle you to claim a healthy tax write-off in the next tax season.

To donate any type of vehicle, simply fill out our online donation form or call us at 877-594-5822.

For more information, check out our FAQs page. If you have questions, feel free to call our toll-free 24/7 hotline or send us a message online.


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