Military families face a number of challenges. One very real experience is having to be separated for long periods of time. Although adults understand the concept kids struggle to grasp it. The reality is it requires sacrifices for every member of the family.
Military children especially the young ones suffer tremendously. I especially know this from experience as our family has been separated for the past nine months due to my husband’s remote assignment. Our five year old son has struggled with being away from his daddy.
How do you help your military kids cope with loss? You spend time talking with them. Check in regularly and ask how they are feeling every day. We have a daddy corner where the kids can see the countdown and know what time it is where Dad lives. I also put paper and crayons there for them to draw about their feelings or make something special for daddy.
We have also attended counseling and I work closely with his doctor and school to help him. The most simple thing that helps is my touch. Even after angry outbursts he comes into my open arms to be held. Children don’t know how to handle sadness so it often comes out as anger or frustration in meltdowns. The most helpful thing you can do as a parent is stay calm and extend love and support to them.
It’s tough so find ways to take a break once in a while through each deployment or remote.