Raising children is tough, but raising children within a military lifestyle adds an additional set of challenges. Things like frequent moves and being away from a parent for long periods cause additional stresses on a military family. Learning to cope with the challenges you face is essential to nurturing and protecting the relationship you have with your children. Here is some advice for raising military kids. Talk to your kids
Communication with your children is vital. Their world is changing
fast, and often these unexpected changes require your participation in
helping them to see things in a positive light. Encourage your children
to be open and honest with you about the things that stress them out.
Regularly talk to each other, and share some of the things that are
stressing you out as well.
It is very important that your children feel safe when communicating to
you the things they are dealing with. Your life can quickly become
crowded with all the obligations and tasks that the life of a military
family requires. Make your children a priority by scheduling time with
them before the other things fill your schedule. Communicate to your
children how important they are to you and let them know by your words
and your actions that you are always available to them.
With your life changing so rapidly, it's important that your kids know
that there are always certain things they can count on. Developing
family traditions is a good way to nurture a close relationship with
your children, while at the same time providing a vital form of
stability that can be lacking in the military family lifestyle. If your
children know that family game night is on Wednesday night, or that
every Sunday is family fun day, they'll know that they have something
they can count on no matter what else happens around them.
Don't keep your children in the dark
For little kids, being in the dark – with no night-light and monsters
under the bed - is a scary thing. For kids of any age, being in the
dark about family issues that may affect them can be even worse. If a
family member is about to be deployed, for example, you need to
communicate this in an open, honest, age-appropriate way. Don't attempt
to hide things that are stressing you out. Children can sense the
tension when something is wrong, and when you're hiding something the
trust between you and your kids is broken. Respect them enough to let
them know of impending things that will impact the family.
Keep a close eye on school
As a parent, closely monitoring your child's school progress is
essential to avoiding future problems and supporting the happiness and
welfare of your kids. Get to know the teachers and ask to be informed
of changes in academic performance, behavior, or peer interactions. Let
the teachers know of any special needs your child may have. Most
teachers appreciate the involvement of parents in their child's
education and will do everything they can to support you and your
There is no doubt that being the child of military parents has stresses
that other children don't face. With your determination, involvement,
and support, however, your children can experience a close relationship
with you and a better quality of life.