How can I help my younger children deal with their older brother's deployment?
When your son or daughter in the military is deployed, you probably have many emotions. It's natural to feel proud of his or her service and courage. It's also natural to feel sad or worried about the separation you'll endure, and concerned about your child's safety and well being.
When parents are so busy dealing with their own complicated emotions, it's easy to overlook the worries that younger siblings might have. But your other children are affected, too.
That's why it's important to include all family members in the process of preparing for separation. Siblings have a need to say goodbye, too, each in their own way. They also need to know that even though they might not see their brother or sister for a while, there are ways to keep in touch and think of each other. Decide how you'll do this. Maybe you'll plan to keep an old-fashioned scrapbook for certain things, use email, texting, online chat, or video calling to communicate, or create a web-based photo album you can share.
Encourage your kids to talk about their concerns and questions so you'll know where answers and reassurance are needed. Talk about how you'll help each other through this difficult time.
Remember that kids can sense your stress and anxiety even if you don't talk about it. It's far better to let them know that they're not alone in their worries. By sharing your feelings, you can help them feel comfortable talking about theirs as well.
While your son or daughter is away, create some new, enjoyable routines or activities with your other kids. Start a family game night, story night, movie night, or make-your-own-pizza night. Spending positive, relaxing time together keeps you feeling close and can make it easier to cope with the difficult period of deployment.
Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: July 2015
|American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists This organization provides listings of marriage and family therapists nationwide.|
|American Psychological Association (APA) The APA provides information and education about a variety of mental health issues for people of all ages.|
|American Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.|
|When a Parent is Deployed When a parent is deployed, there are ways to help kids cope and foster the resiliency they need to endure during the separation.|
|Helping Kids Handle Worry All kids to worry at times, and some may worry more than others. But parents can help kids manage worry and tackle everyday problems with ease. Find out how.|
|Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Kids and teens who live through a traumatic event can develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Healing is possible with the help of professional counseling and support from loved ones.|
|When Loved Ones Get Deployed It's difficult having someone you care about sent overseas to fight in a war. These tips can help you cope.|
|Worrying About War - for Kids You may hear stories about war on TV or the radio, or hear adults talking about it. It can be scary, upsetting, and confusing, especially if you know someone in the military. Find out what you can do if you're worried.|
|How Do I Help My Kids Deal With My Husband's Deployment? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|How Do I Handle the Transition When My Husband Returns From Active Duty? Find out what the experts have to say.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.