Deployment is a stressful time for both service members and their families. Studies have shown that children with deployed parents are affected by the deployment at all ages. However, with planning and support they can adjust well to the additional challenges that deployment can cause. Key ingredients for successful coping include:
Extensive on-line resources are available to help children successfully manage deployments. The most comprehensive websites are Military OneSource (http://www.militaryonesource.com) and Military HomeFront (click on “Troops and Families” at http://www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil).
Specific links on the Military OneSource site include:
A guide for service members who become fathers during a deployment.
Ordering information for a free Sesame Street DVD kit addressing deployment. It is designed for children ages 2-5, is accompanied by parent/caregiver information, and is available in both English and Spanish.
Confidential, free, 24/7 counseling online or by phone. Free in-person counseling can also be arranged in your community without a referral from your primary care manager.
Video-sharing service allowing deployed service members to keep in touch with their families.http://www.trooptube.tv/home (also accessible via the Military OneSource homepage)
Additional online resources:
A deployment journal and coloring book that can be downloaded for children.
FOCUS: A DoD-sponsored training program (available both at bases and on-line) that develops family resiliency in the face of combat-related stress. It provides practical guidance on how to deal with challenges related to deployment as well as post-deployment reintegration.http://www.focusproject.org