Military Families….Places to Find Support

SAMHSA's Service Members, Veterans, and their Families
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Deployment is a challenging time for all families.

Support from friends, family, other parents, and the community can be a great help and comfort. The following support networks offer help to parents and children:

  • Family Readiness Groups or Rear
  • Detachment Command
  • Family and friends
  • Playgroups
  • Religious/ spiritual activities
  • Community gatherings
  • Army Community Services
  • Behavioral Health Services

Families of deployed service members face unique challenges and problems, including:

  • Fear for the deployed parent’s safety
  • Disrupted patterns and routines
  • Feeling overwhelmed by new roles and responsibilities
  • Less income and more worry about finances
  • Negative reactions from children to sudden changes in the family
  • Need for developing new coping and resilience skills
  • Need for renewing family relationships
  • Need for making new friends, and for joining support groups
  • Several factors affect the way families respond to these new challenges:
  • How the at-home parent is adjusting
  • How the child/ family was doing before the deployment
  • If the family or child is experiencing multiple stressors (e.g., multiple changes)
  • Availability of social support (parents, friends, teachers, clergy)
  • Age and gender of the child
  • Service member’s unit/ specialty/ location in war zone
  • Critical events (i.e., death of a known family friend in the unit)

Deployment often creates stressful circumstances for the at-home parent. At-home parents may have to take over new roles and responsibilities. They may have to adjust to a reduced income.

Families that relocate during deployment may have to adjust to the separation from close friends and a supportive community. Deployment may even create or increase marital tension. Young families may face added difficulty in dealing with deployments because they’re not used to the military lifestyle. Learning to adapt to the lifestyle of a military family takes time and experience—something many young families lack. Children look to their parents as examples as they respond and adapt to big changes. If parents struggle to cope with these new demands, the children will likely struggle as well. On the other hand, kids cope and function well during deployment when their parents function and cope well. Children adjust better when they see their at-home parents cope with the separation, manage the household, and stay involved socially

  1. Military Family Research Institute. 13 July 2007 http://www.cfs.purdue.edu/mfri/
  2. Military One Source. 13 July 2007 http://www.militaryonesource.com
  3. Families With Kids Guide