Frequent deployment is just a way of life for military families. Every year, thousands of Service members deploy, leaving behind families, friends and loved ones to wait for their safe return. And, while life goes on as normally as possible during this time, the wait is never easy.
Since 2001, 2.7 million Service members have served on 5.4 million deployments across the world.
As a program manager, you can help make a difference in the lives of military families in your community. The simple gesture of providing families with proper support and resources during deployment can go a long way. The QuickSeries® suite of deployment, reunion and reintegration products can help you provide this support.
The following is a glimpse into the kind of valuable advice you can share with military family members so they are better equipped to face the challenges of the deployment cycle.
Dealing with Deployment
The first few weeks of a deployment can be very stressful for Service members and their families. This time can seem confusing, but the initial anxiety is generally short-lived. The following strategies can help the partner left behind adjust to their household’s new normal:
- Communicate with your spouse, family and friends. Allow them to provide support and positive reinforcement.
- Get involved. Participate in a support group or find an organization to volunteer with. Reaching out to others is a good way to minimize self-pity and increase self-esteem.
- See the humor in situations. The car may break down, the washing machine may overflow and the dog may leave you a “gift” on your new carpet. Have a good laugh and put it in perspective. Life will go on and you’ll have a great story to share.
This is an especially difficult time for children too. Parents should stay positive, validate feelings, alleviate fears and, above all, communicate throughout the entire process. The parent at home can use the following tips to help:
- Ensure that each child is left with a photo of him/herself with the deploying parent.
- Have children prepare a care package for the deploying parent that can be opened after they leave.
- Establish rules/limits before the deployment.
- Record (video or audio) the deploying parent reading bedtime stories or doing other activities with your children.
- Plan fun activities to do as a family during the deployment.
- Plant some seeds and talk about how much they may grow during the deployment.
The deployed parent should make an effort to connect with their children while away: remember birthdays, call/write regularly, ask about school and activities, etc.
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