More than 1.2 million US army children belong to the ages of zero to 23 years old. And around 50,000 military families have both parents serving in the forces; this means there’s a high chance that a couple may be deployed at the same time.
It’s very possible that your little one could develop psychological problems if you’re an active service member. They might feel scared of military operations, intermittent separation, or dramatic television coverage in your deployment location, for example.
Let’s delve deeper to understand the importance of remedial action for mitigating the risk of severe mental illnesses in your child.
While most army kids can handle a couple of deployments swiftly, the trouble starts with back-to-back deployment. The reasons your child needs extra support and care include:
Anxiety and stress—the most common mental disorder in military children—also include fear of separation, parents’ death, sleep issues, and physical complaints such as headaches. Experts recommend getting immediate medical intervention if your child seems sad or talks negatively all the time.
Pediatricians have also identified hypersensitivity, attention deficit, personality issues, and social isolation.
The earlier you get to the root of your child’s psychological issues, the better. Most military parents think the problems will go away once their children grow up. But conditions like insomnia and anxiety often manifest in teens and adults as tantrum and anger.
Pre-Occupied Military Parent
You may return from a combat zone with trauma, an injury, PTSD, or depression: this leads to a pre-occupation with injuries and personal problems. You’re likely to feel less involved, avoidant, or impulsive, causing confusion and sadness in your little one’s mind.
Signs Your Little One Is Depressed
A recent study published in JAACAP reveals that your child will show increased symptoms of physical injuries or emotional stress following your return from a military deployment. They also have increased mental healthcare needs and require your constant support and effort.
Here are some common signs that indicate your child’s sadness and emotional distress:
Infants: They show restlessness and have a disruptive schedule, which leads to decreased appetite, weight loss, and irritability.
Toddlers: Throw tantrums, become sullen, and experience sleep deprivation.
Preschoolers: Feel your absence more than babies, and their stress ravages their learning ability. They also try to rationalize their parents’ deployment as “My daddy left because he doesn’t love me.”
Middle-School Kids: They understand why their parents left and fear the consequences, leading to irritation, aggression, or whininess.
Teens: They’re more authority-challenged. You have to on a high alert to reduce the risk of their involvement in sexual acts, drug abuse, and illegal activities.
How You Can Ensure Your Child’s Wellness during & after Your Deployment
Here are some following tips to ensure your child’s physical and emotional health:
- Be open with your child. Talk to them about their feelings and how they feel about separation.
- Plan fun activities and family picnics before leaving. Make a tape of their favorite story or make an album of family photos.
- Speedy and seamless communication is a significant challenge for military parents. Utilize the power of the internet to stay in touch with your children from the combat zones.
Help the Suffering Families
Military children are brave, healthy, and exceptionally resilient. But their parents’ deployment makes them vulnerable to several mental health issues. At We Are One Inc., we have various military assistance programs to financially help veterans and provide emergency assistance for military families in San Diego and Los Angeles Counties in Southern California.