Our military connected children shoulder a big responsibility.
Most military connected children have many different feelings about their loved one serving their Country. First and foremost, they are proud of their loved one serving our Country. Simultaneously, they can feel sad, scared, angry, anxious, and confused when they are separated from their loved one. Imagine the difficulty of processing this emotional array while keeping their daily lives together. Welcome to the world of a military connected child.
Conditions for military children vary according to their location.
The kids living within the military structure – on a military base – have a built in support system. Their perspective and understanding is expanded through direct experience with peers. They come to know what it means when a friend’s loved one has to study for an upcoming training, or when their loved one is called up for Duty and has to leave suddenly. They understand the sad or angry feelings of a friend whose loved one is serving a deployment, and they know what it means to help out their friend’s family during deployment. They understand the loss of a friend who moves to another military base. They also understand the challenge of reconnecting with a loved one after deployment. Even with the military base structure around them, it is still difficult for military connected children to adjust.
However, the majority of our military connected children are not living on or even near a base. They live in our communities, with parents/guadians who have civilian careers. The impact of a deployment and separation takes on new meaning for these kids as they shoulder the responsibility in isolation.
They feel different.
The challenges for children living off base in a military connected family are overwhelming. Most have not been properly prepared for what is likely to come. While at school, these kids tend to keep their feelings inside because they believe peers and teachers do not relate to or understand their situation. Feeling alone and “different”, they shoulder their responsibility with varying degrees of success.
How can we get these children the support they deserve?
Collaboration is the way forward.
Military Children’s Collaborative Group engages communities and links critical resources in support of our military families. We begin in our schools by encouraging school districts to identify and recognize military connected children. We educate our educators and help them develop linkages to access essential resources. Working together in partnership with others, we insure that each and every military connected child receives the support he or she deserves.