Are you thinking about bringing your kids into the military lifestyle? Do you want children in the future? Military life can be tough on kids.
Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe military life can be an incredible thing. Like most situations, you have to make the best of the hard times. As a spouse, the adjustment was only a temporary adjustment for me. I knew my husband was happy with his career choice, and I could either choose to enjoy the journey or be miserable.
There is no way I am going to live miserably!
I talk more about my life thus far in my post My First Three Years as a Military Spouse. Sharing my story will hopefully encourage other people to support their spouse in joining the military.
Pack it all up
I think the number one reason military life can be hard on kids is the fact that you’re rarely settled down. Military families aren’t known for staying at the same base for more than 2 or 3 years. By the time they’ve started at their new school, it is time to move again.
It is sad to say, but packing it all up just becomes the name of the game. We really do learn how to live with less stuff… Whether or gets lost or broken by the military movers. Forget having collectibles.. Or family heirlooms.. Or a ton of pictures.
Letting your guard down and getting settled can be hard. Should I make new friends if we move in a few months? Is it worth it to join a sports team? Yes and yes. Get involved in your school and community whether you have 6 months or 6 years!
Tip: If you want to help your child in their adjustment to the constant moves, then allow them to decide how they want to organize or decorate their new room. Change the situation from fear to excitement to help them feel like they have a sense of control in the situation.
Say goodbye again
Transitions are frequent for military brats. Write it in your schedule for nothing to go as planned.
What you assumed would be a field training has turned into a week long trip to another state. Deployments get extended. Schools come unexpectedly.
Saying goodbye again can be a high stressor for kids. The uncertainty and lack of control in the situation can send them into a tailspin. Some children have trouble sleeping and others tend to act out more. Try not to be angry with them. Their whole world has been rocked, and this is the only way they know how to respond. Be patient and reassuring, and you’ll see better results.
Tip: Instead of saying goodbye, say see you later. Focus on the happiness of having your soldier back instead of how long they have to leave for. Write lots of letters, and allow kids to help pack care packages.
Where even is home
Is it the state where you were born? Is it where the majority of your family lives? Where do you even call home when you are always moving around?
Unfortunately, my son sees our family over Facetime more than he sees them in person. I grew up with family 15-minutes down the road, so having him in this situation is painful for me.
Military families don’t get the same experience of Sunday lunches with family. We hardly get to head home for the holidays.
You HAVE to learn to make home wherever you are together. Home isn’t the house you stay in.. It is the family that makes you feel comfortable. It is the people who you share your laughs with everyday.
Tip: Try to personalize your home. Plant flowers in the garden. Make a welcome sign for the front door. You can make a rental house into a comfortable living space with a little bit of effort.
Military life can be tough on kids who don’t do well with change. Those that can roll with the punches find that it isn’t that bad.
When you start treating everyday like an adventure, then you’re learning to live like a military family!
Yes military life can be tough on kids, but it can also be an incredible experience.