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Tips for parents to help children and teens with deployment: Week 2

published: 03-12-2012 Journal entry icon

Here are some additional practical strategies and tips you as a parent can use to help your children and teens cope with deployment and the post-deployment reintegration process.

Week #2 tips: Easing deployment and reintegration

  • Before deployment: If you’re being deployed, try recording your own audio books so your child can listen to your voice during your deployment. This also will help your child stay connected to you by continuing family routines such as reading before bed.
  • During deployment: Depending on their age, kids don’t understand timeframes as well as adults do. If you continue to remind them of future plans during and after the deployed parent’s return, it will help them deal with the separation and reunion.
  • Try referring to the deployed parent’s absence as work instead of just saying that he or she is gone. This helps children realize that the absent parent didn’t simply choose to leave them, which could make for a better reunion.
  • Before the deployed parent returns, talk about what issues to address when he or she does. And plan activities you can share together.
  • Throughout the deployment cycle: Be aware of mental health symptoms for children of all ages. If needed, join your children or teenagers in group counseling; it can be a helpful forum where everyone can discuss experiences, feelings, and thoughts.