One Too Many Moves: Helping Military Kids Cope
The constant moves that accompany military life can be difficult for adults, but they are typically much more traumatic for teenagers and young children. After all, stability is critical in a young child’s life to help them feel secure, and teenagers spend a lot of time forging personal connections with their peers. Because of this, they can feel really depressed and anxious when they are constantly being forced to adjust to new environments and make new friends. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to help military children adjust to this lifestyle.
1. Give Your Teenagers Access to the Internet – It will be vital for your teenagers to have the opportunity to stay connected to the friends that they make in different areas. For example, if you are stationed in Alexandria, Virginia, for a couple of years, your teen will need to have the opportunity to keep in touch with the friends they made there when you eventually get the order to move to a new base.
2. Let Your Child Decorate their Room – Without consistency, young children can end up feeling insecure. Therefore, you need to take steps to ensure that they have the opportunity to create a safe environment for themselves. One good option is to allow them to decorate their room after each move so that they can arrange all of their belongings in a manner that makes them feel more secure.
3. Give Children as Much Notice as Possible – Anyone who has lived on a military base knows that you can quickly get the order to move, but it is still imperative to give your children as much notice as possible about the move. For example, if you find out that you need to be packed up and moved within a week, you should immediately have a family meeting to let everyone know what is going on so that your children have the opportunity to say goodbye to their friends.
4. Encourage Open Communication – It is easy to get wrapped up in your own life and responsibilities, especially when you wear a military uniform to work, but you need to make sure that your children know that they can talk to you about their feelings. Keep in mind that many so-called military brats believe that they are supposed to bury their feelings, and this can cause them to lash out in a very negative way. Therefore, you need to ensure that you keep the lines of communication open at all times so that your child does not go down a bad path.
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