We are all aware of the impact that military service has on those serving as active military members. Still, we all don’t think much about the impact military service has on the children of service members. As with the general population, military families come from diverse backgrounds and cultures. While military children face the same barriers as children from non-service families, some unique aspects add additional challenges to their lives.

April is the month to pledge support to military children and shed light on how important it is to ensure they are protected. Let’s take a look at the ways of supporting military children and easing the challenges they face.

Challenges Faced by Military Children

1. Mobility

Mobility is when the whole family has to move from one place to another, resulting in a school change for the child or young person. Many families from the Armed Forces community move within the US and the rest of the world regularly. Most children can cope with these changes, but some may need extra help. Frequent moves can be particularly difficult for children with identified additional support needs.

2. Deployment

Deployment is when the family member is away from home on an operation or a long-term training exercise. It is challenging for military children to cope with the deployment of a military parent. During deployment, children and young people can be separated from their parents for long periods, causing them to develop anxiety and other mental health issues. Since military deployment can be a time of uncertainty, there is high emotion involved. Many young children witness other adults’ anxiety at home during this time and experience significant life changes.

3. Interrupted Learning

Leaving their friends and family and starting afresh in a different education system is quite hard for young children. Many children also experience a gap in their learning. It may take time for them to establish a trusted support network at their new school. Many children also start feeling like they don’t know how to do something that everyone else does, leading to feelings of isolation. In short, interrupted learning can significantly impact a child’s self-esteem and lead to feelings of hopelessness.

Support Services Provided by Child Guidance Center

Child Guidance Center in Santa Ana, California, was established specifically to help military children cope with challenges like the ones mentioned above. The organization has been supporting military children and empowering them through their innovative mental health programs and services.

Let’s look at some of the services they provide:

1. Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®)

PEERS® is a program that helps children and teens who are on the autism spectrum and equips them with tools to handle bullying effectively, socialize, maintain friendships, and bond with others. This program aims to help children with communication and social difficulties, which can be very isolating.

2. Family Mealtime Coaching

Family Mealtime Coaching helps parents deal with their children’s eating difficulties, including overeating and extreme pickiness. The program uses live coaching to teach parents positive communication skills for meal times and sheds light on methods to build healthy food attitudes.

3. Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

Child Guidance Center is the largest and most experienced Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) in Orange County. PCIT is a therapy program that can help parents of young children (aged between 2 to 8) enhance their relationships via better communication. During PCIT sessions, a trained therapist coaches and observes parent-child interactions and provides practical, real-time training to deal with daily situations.

4. Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

TF-CBT is a psychiatric therapy program developed for young adults and children who endure significant behavioral and emotional challenges due to distressing events such as physical injury, abuse, and a parent’s death. With their parent and a therapist’s help, children become more willing to face and acknowledge their trauma. As a result, they experience a continuous advancement in their emotional health. TF-CBT also reduces parental stress, which can help the entire family to heal.

We Are One! CA. Pledges Support to Child Guidance Center

We Are One! CA. believes that every child has a right to grow up healthy and effectively address their emotional and behavioral health needs during the early years of their life. The sooner families get support for mental health concerns, the better they can ensure a lifetime of well-being. We pledge our support to Child Guidance Center that works tirelessly to provide evidence-based mental health services to address the impact of trauma on military children and their families.

To show your support to military children and the Child Guidance Center, log on to https://www.weareoneca.org/donations/ today to make a donation. Any amount is appreciated. Join hands with us as we continue on this mission of supporting military children and help ease their difficulties to ensure they lead a normal childhood.