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Starting the "deployment" conversation can be like talking about the elephant in the room for us parents. We know its there, we can see it staring at us, except we are fighting that first stage of deployment ourselves, denial! Therefore, it is easy to put off the conversation.

 

Here's why you should start talking to your kids early about an upcoming deployment. There are actual stages to deployment! They are normal and by knowing each of them, you can actually explain them to your (school aged) kids.

Here are some ways to explain deployment to your kids and some ways to cope with predeployment stress from MilitaryOneSource.com:

 

  • Talk with your child. And listen to her/him. As much as you're permitted to, describe your deployment and let them know that the reason you can't reveal all the details is to help keep you and others safe. Listen to their concerns and answer their questions without judging them. Don't be afraid to let your child know that you wish you didn't have to go, too. But try not to overburden her/him with your feelings. Otherwise she/he may feel responsible for making you feel better. If your child says they're afraid you won't come back home, talk about all of the training and practice you've had and how that will help keep you safe.
  • Help your child find positive ways to cope with strong emotions. Everybody needs a reliable way to release pent-up emotions, whether it's shooting hoops, painting a picture, digging in the garden, or turning up the music and dancing in the living room.
  • Give your child a job. Children this age tend to thrive on responsibility because it makes them feel important and grown up. Sit down with your spouse and put together a list of chores they will need help with while you're gone. Assign one or two of these to your child, and set aside time for training.
  • Spend time doing fun things or just hanging out. Strengthen your connection and create comfortable, pleasant memories all at the same time.

Talking about deployment is never easy. But by learning the stages, and starting early, it can make a difference in having a more positive deployment experience.

 

For more information on talking to your kids about deployment visit the below links:

Helping Your School-Age Child Deal with Your Deployment - MilitaryOneSource.com

Helping Your Preschooler Deal with Your Deployment. MilitaryOnceSource.com

 

Related post:

Deployment Tips for You and Your Preschooler