Raising Military Kids

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.

Family Traditions

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 children.

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.

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