Impact of deployment on children


I’ve heard the children of the military called the youngest draftees – they are the ones who didn’t sign up for the life as a military brat, they were born into it, or their parent signed up and they were pulled along into it.

My son was a MilBrat – then we got out and he didn’t soak in the military (except for one weekend a month and two weeks a year) until later – then he joined up.  Now he’s out of the Army – Our granddaughter will only get the military lifestyle one level removed, her grandpa Chief is in and will be for a while.

I’ve talked to military spouses, who are coping with deployments, but watching as their children have trouble getting through yet another absence by that service member.  It’s hard to watch your child hurting – and it’s agony to watch your child’s child in pain.  The military has realized there is a problem.

Deployments since fighting began in Iraq and Afghanistan have affected nearly 2 million military children, and about 234,000 of those children currently have at least one parent deployed, according to a 2007 Defense Manpower Data Center report.

The Defense Department has programs for the children, as does Military OneSource; We all know about the Sesame Street DVD and I’m told having Elmo tell you something is very special (direct from the granddaughter’s mouth!) The Military Child Education Coalition website looked promising to me.

As grandparents of military children, we have a special role in their lives.  I remember that when we moved constantly (when my father was in the State Department), my grandparents were my constant, their house was always the same, I could find everything and my Omi was a rock who was there, always.  It’s an important role for us – any advice for your fellow MilParent?