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You are here: Home / Family & Relationships / Military Family Skills/Resources / Military Family Skills/Resources

Military Family Skills/Resources

Information on possible outcomes from deployment and suggestions for optimal support.

Pre-Deployment

How to optimize family relationships before deployment—for families, couples and parents, and children.

Click on the links below to jump to each section.
For Families
For Couples and Parents
For Children

For Families

Preparing For The Deployment of a Parent
A one-page checklist to help prepare for the deployment of a parent from The University of Missouri, Lincoln University, and Virginia Tech, in collaboration with the USDA and DoD. It provides tips for how to get ready, as a family, for deployment.

This section of the Real Warriors website provides more information.

Family-resilience training course
The Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program offers a two-hour course highlighting what soldiers will experience and what families will experience at home, and emphasizes skills that will help keep a family strong during separation. (They offer post-deployment training as well.) These comprehensive evidence-based trainings are accessible online and offer a PowerPoint presentation, lesson plan, student handout, and videos to reinforce learning.

For Couples and Parents

Preparing for deployment can be a daunting task for all involved. Below is a list of resources that provide information, tips, and checklists for couples and parents preparing for deployment:

Deployment Readiness Checklist
Covers potential legal issues, financial planning, and emergency planning from Fleet and Family Support Centers.

Hospital webcam visitBecoming a new father as a service member and becoming a new mother as a service member, as well as becoming a new father during deployment from Military OneSource.com.

Courage to Care for Me
What to expect when becoming a military parent, from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS). It includes important health conditions a parent should be aware of.

Courage to Care for Your Newborn and Yourself
What to expect when becoming a military parent, from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS). It includes what to expect with a newborn, tips for helping you and your baby settle in together, important health conditions a parent should be aware of, and tips for remembering to take care of yourself.

For Children and Teens

Preparing Teens for their Parent’s Deployment
This section of the Real Warriors website provides information about what to expect from your teen as you prepare for a parent’s deployment. They also provide tips of what you can do before deployment, during, and after.

How to Talk to Your Kids About War
The Navy’s Combat and Operational Stress program has information about how to talk to your kids about war. They suggest tips by age group, too.

Resilience in a Time of War – Wartime Stress & Teens
Tips from the American Psychological Association on how your teenager can tap into his or her resilience skills during wartime.

Real Warriors provides tips on how to help your teen cope with deployment and  in-depth justifications for specific coping methods, in addition to warning signs and activities to do as a family, such as creating a scrapbook or a photo album, or even making a “home video.”

Deployment Readiness Checklist
Provided by Fleet and Family Support Centers. Covers potential legal issues, financial planning, and emergency planning.

Family-resilience training course
The Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program offers a two-hour course highlighting what soldiers will experience and what families will experience at home, and emphasizes skills that will help keep a family strong during separation. (They offer post-deployment training as well.) These comprehensive evidence-based trainings are accessible online and offer a PowerPoint presentation, lesson plan, student handout, and videos to reinforce learning.

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      Deployment

      How to optimize family relationships during deployment—for families and couples and for taking care of yourself.

      DeploymentClick on the links below to jump to each section.
      For Families

      For Couples
      Caring for Yourself

      For Families

      Taking Care of Children During Deployments
      Check out the RealWarriors Campaign that describes taking care of your children during deployment. It provides tips and Q&As for parents and caregivers to help children cope with a parent’s deployment and highlights symptoms to look out for that show a child’s distress.

       

       

      Guide for helping children and teens cope with separation
      The Department of Defense has compiled an informative guide on helping children and teens deal with deployment-related separations. Information, tips, and resources for parents, teachers, service providers, and community members are highlighted. Specifically, the effects of deployment (one to 11 months; page 5), the initial post-deployment stage (three to six months; page 6), post-deployment/reunion tips (page 8), and warning signs for adjustment troubles (page 14).

      Some additional tips for helping your child cope with deployment are provided by  Military.com, as well as warning signs and positive aspects of separation.

      Examples of commonly asked questions parents receive from their children during deployment provided by Military OneSource.com.

      Tips for parents on what to expect during deployment (emotional cycle; page 13).

      The emotional phases of deployment is provided by Military.com.

      Tips on how to cope with sudden deployments and suggestions for setting goals, treating yourself, and planning for the blues are provided by Military.com.

      Tips for single parents and for when both parents are deployed (page 22).

      Tips for teachers (page 28), service providers (page 31), and community members (page 34) on warning signs to look for and strategies to help children and families.

      If you'd like a brief resource to look at quickly, check out USUHS's helping children cope during deployment article. It provides tips and Q&As for parents and caregivers to help children cope with a parent’s deployment.

      What families can expect during deployment
      Information and strategies for parents to help children cope with the inevitable sources of stress from USUHS.

      Airforcetimes.com also provides tips for families to help children cope during deployment.

      Tips for Caring for Your Newborn and Yourself
      Covers what to expect, with tips to help you and your baby settle in together,  provided by USUHS.

       

      An interactive platform for adapting to lifestyle changes
      A partnership between the DoD and Sesame Street. Use this video link and follow the instructions on the document: Talk, Listen, Connect.

      For Children and Teens

      Dealing with Comings and Goings
      A guide from Sesame Street to help young children cope with deployment, homecoming, and the changes needed to establish a "new normal." It provides age-appropriate examples for helping children cope with the transition of deployment.

      An interactive booklet from Operation R.E.A.D.Y helps children between the ages six and eight cope with deployment. Activities allow children to remain involved in the lives of their deployed parent and at the same time maintain a strong connection with the at-home parent.

      Tips for teens to better communicate with their families (page 2), cope with separation (page 5), and handle emotional expectations during the reunion stage (page 9) from Operation R.E.A.D.Y.

      An Interactive booklet to help Children Cope with Deployment

      An interactive booklet from Operation R.E.A.D.Y helps children between the ages six and eight cope with deployment. Activities allow children to remain involved in the lives of their deployed parent and at the same time maintain a strong connection with the at-home parent.

      For Couples

      Communication During Deployment
      The importance of communication when one member of the couple is deployed. It covers the advantages and disadvantages of various methods to communicate during deployment, including letters, e-mail, phone calls, care packages, audio/videotapes, and telegrams.

      Balancing Work and Life as a Dual Military Couple
      Information on how to balance work and life when both members of a couple are in the military, including potential challenges, coping strategies, and decision-making strategies. CNIC offers more tips to strengthening a military relationship.

      Worksheet that helps couples function as a parenting team during deployment provided by Military OneSource.com.

      How to maintain family rituals during deployment
      Information on the importance of family rituals and how to maintain them throughout deployment, in addition to reintegration, from Military OneSource.com.

      Caring for Yourself

      It is not uncommon for spouses of service members to focus all of their energy towards supporting their spouse. It is important to take time for yourself and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

      Tips for spouses on how to care for themselves from Real Warriors.com.

      Suggestions for spouses of deployed service members on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle at home, provided by CSTS.

      How to take care of oneself while supporting a spouse who has recently returned from deployment from the Defense Centers of Excellence.

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      Returning Home/Reintegration

      How to optimize family relationships after deployment when Warfighters return home and reintegrate into the family.

      Returning homeClick on the links below to jump to each section.
      For Service Members
      For Spouses of Service Members
      Couple Relationships
      Children & Teens

      For Service Members

        Tip sheet for returning service members to help them transition back to family life from the DoD. Tips include what to expect from children of different ages as well as what to expect from your spouse.

          For Spouses of Service Members

            What to expect upon reuniting and how to best communicate with one another. The reunion process can be stressful for a service member’s spouse.

            Information on what spouses can expect during reunion, including tips for communicating from Real Warriors.com.

              Tip sheet for spouses on what to expect when their service member returns home from deployment.

                Couple Relationships

                Coming together as a couple following a time of deployment is not always easy.

                Suggestions for strengthening relationships post-deployment, with a step-by-step breakdown of themes common in couples following a military deployment, with tips for how to avoid conflict from The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS).

                  Children & Teens

                  Guide to supporting children affected by military deployment, injury, or death is provided by Zero To Three. The guide describes situations a family and their baby/toddler may experience (i.e., during deployment) and ways to help children cope (page 14). The guide also points out signs for when a parent should seek additional support (page 46).

                    The top 10 things that military youth want their parents, family, and support system to know from The National Military Family Association. The 18-page packet describes key areas that influence military youth, highlighting each with quotes, information on that topic, helpful tips, and resources for more information.

                      Guide to supporting children affected by a military parent’s death from Zero To Three.

                      Information for parents that focuses on communicating with children if their mother/father does not return from deployment from the Defense Centers of Excellence.

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                      Post-Deployment

                      Information on possible outcomes from deployment and suggestions for optimal support.

                      CoupleClick on the links below to jump to each section.
                      Intimate Relationships and Sex
                      Traumatic Brain Injury
                      Mental Health Concerns
                      Dealing with Physical Injury
                      Emergency Preparedness

                      Intimate Relationships and Sex

                      Throughout life, it is not uncommon for individuals and couples to have issues in their sex life—either temporary or prolonged.

                      Sexual Concerns
                      Information from the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center that describes common concerns and problems that can impact one or both partners, such as little desire, inability to get or stay aroused, difficulty obtaining a sexual release, pain during sex, and other concerns; some possible physical and psychological reasons for what could be contributing to what is happening; and some possible treatment steps—medical, physical, and psychological.

                      A list of questions for both men and women, from the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center. Also some tips for self-help. They offer suggestions such as: making it a priority to spend a certain amount of time (as little as 15 minutes) each day with your partner; being affectionate daily; scheduling a weekend away every couple months; and other tips such as relaxing together.

                      Traumatic Brain Injury

                      Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result from combat.

                      For a definition of TBI as well as signs and symptoms, coping strategies, and recovery tips, from the DCoE.

                      More in-depth information regarding TBI from CSTS. Also a do’s and don’ts list for those who are experiencing a TBI.

                      A Family Caregiver Curriculum
                      From The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center. An online module-based curriculum that is aimed to be user-friendly, accurate, informative, and real; to help train family caregivers of Warfighters with traumatic brain injury.

                      • Module 1: Introduction to TBI explains traumatic brain injury with graphics to help you understand the injury and the initial treatment.
                      • Module 2: Understanding the Effects of TBI and What You Can Do to Help helps you during the recovery process with information and tips on what to expect.
                      • Module 3: Becoming a Family Caregiver for a Service Member/Veteran with TBI provides tips and information to help you organize information and suggests guidelines for how to take care of yourself and your loved ones.
                      • Module 4: Navigating Services and Benefits provides long-term references to the services and benefits you and your Warfighter are entitled to.

                      Mental Health Concerns

                      Understanding and helping with post-deployment stress symptoms from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress. Defines PTSD and other common psychological disorders; includes common signs of post-deployment stress symptoms and venues to seek help for issues such as starting or increasing habits like cigarette smoking, alcohol use, or reckless driving; discusses more serious problems, including PTSD, depression, violence, and traumatic brain injury

                        Psychological health conditions can be common in service members who are deployed in hostile areas. Supporting your family member who is dealing with psychological health issues is crucial. Individuals who experience TBI can show short- and/or long-term effects, including alterations in thinking, emotions, language, and overall behavior.

                        What military families should know to help loved ones who might be at risk for suicide. Warning signs, risk factors, and things you can do to take action and help, from USUHS.

                        What military families should know about depression. A description of what depression is, the signs and symptoms, general tips, and the importance of early detection and help, from USUHS.

                        Dealing with Physical Injury

                        Principles of Caring for Combat Injured Families and their Children
                        From the CSTS. Describes the challenges an injury can pose, as well as tips for effective care of the individual, and stresses the importance of being knowledgeable when it comes to combat injuries. Effective support requires collaboration among family, healthcare services, and community resources.

                          Guide to supporting young children affected by a military parent’s injury, addressing how physical injuries to service members can have a huge impact on children. From Zero to Three.

                          Emergency Preparedness

                          Guidelines for Navy Family Emergency Preparedness
                          Provides resources on emergency preparedness. It includes checklists, protocols, and tips to better prepare individuals for a variety of emergencies.

                          Family Emergency Plan
                          A template for families to protect themselves from an emergency situation and references for others if something catastrophic were to take place.

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