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Effects of Military Life on Children

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Jezzie Fajota

on 28 February 2013

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Transcript of Effects of Military Life on Children

Effects of Military Life
On Children Demographics
1.2 million school aged children of active duty
625, 000 children of National Guard
705,000 children of Reserve Parents Tunac De Pedro, K.M., Astor, R. A., Benbenishty, R., Estrada, J., Dejoie Smith, G. R., & Esqueda, M. C. (2011). The children of military service members: Challenges, supports, and future educational research. Review of Educational Research, 81, 566-618. Erikson's Psychosocial Stages Issues that Military Children are Faced with: Relocation
Deployment
Parenting
Active Duty Children vs. Reserve Children Deployment By the end of 2008, 1.7 million American service members had served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom

43% of active duty service members have children Physiological Effects
Children have higher levels of stress
Child mal-treatment is more than doubled during times of parental deployment
Must assess for signs of neglect or abuse School Concerns seen by staff related to children who’s parent’s were deployed
The uncertainty of the length of deployment
A large amount of stress in the home environment
Mental health issues of the non-deployed parent

In one study, school staff indicated that parental deployment led to sadness and anger within these children
Boys more commonly than girls displayed this anger with aggression
Girls exhibited behaviors such as depression or somatic complaints
Psychosocial Problems What to look for in:
Young Children: separation anxiety, temper tantrums, and changes in eating habits.

School-Age Children: decline in academic performance, and have mood changes or physical complaints.

Adolescents: may become angry and act out, or withdraw and show signs of apathy
Higher levels of depression and anxiety
Loss of Resiliency As length of deployment is extended, or multiple deployments were encountered, children were losing their resiliency

Unable to cope and function in school, home, and in peer groups Returning From Deployment Among vets with children, those with more severe PTSD and depression were more likely to report that their children were afraid of them or lacked warmth toward them. Stressors Parental separation
Redistribution of household roles and responsibilities
The left-behind parent’s added stress and anxiety
The child’s fears and anxieties about financial limitations
Possible geographic relocation
Parental injury or death
Tunac De Pedro, K.M., Astor, R. A., Benbenishty, R., Estrada, J., Dejoie Smith, G. R., & Esqueda, M. C. (2011). The children of military service members: Challenges, supports, and future educational research. Review of Educational Research, 81, 566-618. Relocation Occurs every 2-3 years School Related Difficulties Social Networks and Activities Difficulty meeting school requirements
Child may fall behind Child may have difficult time leaving friends, church, communities, etc.
Can affect extracurricular activities at school Park, N. (2011). Military children and families: Strengths and challenges during peace and war. American Psychologist, 66, 65-72. Emotional and Behavioral Problems Loss of old friendships, Forging new ones
Getting adjusted after a move Learning New Culture and Social Norms Geographic
Community demographics
Neighborhood Kelley, M. L, Finkel, L. B., Ashby, J. (2003). Geographic mobility, family, and maternal variables as related to the psychosocial adjustment of military children. Military Medicine, 168, 1019-1024. Davis, J. (2011). The effects of military deployment on children’s health and well-being. Retrieved from https://research.wsulibs.wsu.edu:8443/xmlui/bitstream/handle/2376/3075/A_Davis _010742856.pdf?sequence=1 Tunac De Pedro, K.M., Astor, R. A., Benbenishty, R., Estrada, J., Dejoie Smith, G. R., & Esqueda, M. C. (2011). The children of military service members: Challenges, supports, and future educational research. Review of Educational Research, 81, 566-618. Davis, J. (2011). The effects of military deployment on children’s health and well-being. Retrieved from https://research.wsulibs.wsu.edu:8443/xmlui/bitstream/handle/2376/3075/A_Davis _010742856.pdf?sequence=1 National Center for PTSD. (2009). How deployment stress affects children and families: Research findings. Retrieved from http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/pages/pro_deployment_stress_children.asp National Center for PTSD. (2009). How deployment stress affects children and families: Research findings. Retrieved from http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/pages/pro_deployment_stress_children.asp Davis, J. (2011). The effects of military deployment on children’s health and well-being. Retrieved from https://research.wsulibs.wsu.edu:8443/xmlui/bitstream/handle/2376/3075/A_Davis _010742856.pdf?sequence=1 Parenting Multiple studies show that child’s adjustment is influenced by ongoing parental and family functioning throughout development Modeling Behavior Mental health of civilian parent is highly influential in determining child adjustment

Mother’s depressive symptoms predicted child’s sadness, anxious and withdrawn behavior Lester, P., Peterson, K., Reeves, J., Knauss, L., Glover, D., Mogil, C., … Beerdslee, W. (2010). The long war and parental combat deployment: Effects on military children and at-home spouses. American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(4), 310-320. Lester, P., Peterson, K., Reeves, J., Knauss, L., Glover, D., Mogil, C., … Beerdslee, W. (2010). The long war and parental combat deployment: Effects on military children and at-home spouses. American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(4), 310-320. Parent Perception As relocation increased, parent perception of relocation improved and the adolescent’s behavior improved with each relocation

Parents reporting clinically significant stress have children identified as high risk for psychological and behavioral problems Kelley, M. L, Finkel, L. B., Ashby, J. (2003). Geographic mobility, family, and maternal variables as related to the psychosocial adjustment of military children. Military Medicine, 168, 1019-1024.

Weber, E. G., & Weber, D. K. (2005). Geographic relocation frequency, resiliency and military adolescent behavior. Military Medicine, 170, 638-642. Children of Active Duty vs. Children of the Reserves 700,000 members of the Reserve and National Guard have been activated since 9/11, parents of about 35% of military children

Reserve children live off base and are less integrated into a military community

Limited access to military support systems and programs
Park, N. (2011). Military children and families: Strengths and challenges during peace and war. American Psychologist, 66, 65-72. “Suddenly military status”
Creates instability and stress on family and children
Reserve children have higher risk for mental health and adjustment issues
They report lack of understanding and support from peers and teachers more than active-duty families
Park, N. (2011). Military children and families: Strengths and challenges during peace and war. American Psychologist, 66, 65-72.

Davis, B. E., Blaschke, G. S., & Stafford, S. M. (2012). Military children, families, and communities: Supporting those who serve. Pediatrics, 129, S3-S10. Civilian and reserve children feel “war is not right”

Active duty and reserve children fear their parent may go to war and die

Family dynamics may be different in the homes of National Guard and Reserve service members, some of whom may not have “signed up” for the type of duty inherent in deployments in the current conflicts.
Davis, J. (2011). The effects of military deployment on children’s health and well-being. Retrieved from https://research.wsulibs.wsu.edu:8443/xmlui/bitstream/handle/2376/3075/A_Davis _010742856.pdf?sequence=1

Sheppard, S. C., Malatras, J. W., & Israel, A. C. (2010). The impact of deployment on U.S. military families. American Psychologist, 65, 599-609. Resiliency Military Family-Specific Resiliency Factors include:
Access to comprehensive health care
Education
Consistent employment
Legal assistance
Host of on-base organizations specific to providing support to families
Sheppard, S. C., Malatras, J. W., & Israel, A. C. (2010). The impact of deployment on U.S. military families. American Psychologist, 65, 599-609. Geographic Relocation as a Positive Offers opportunities for unique experiences and/or exposure to different cultures
Adolescents perceived that frequent relocation resulted in broader perspective toward people and cultures
Starting over and being able to recreate themselves viewed as positive Kelley, M. L, Finkel, L. B., Ashby, J. (2003). Geographic mobility, family, and maternal variables as related to the psychosocial adjustment of military children. Military Medicine, 168, 1019-1024. Children Can Adapt Well If they are able to control their responses to stressors
Have strong cognitive defense mechanisms
Coping skills
Able to acclimate in order to handle parental separation Tunac De Pedro, K.M., Astor, R. A., Benbenishty, R., Estrada, J., Dejoie Smith, G. R., & Esqueda, M. C. (2011). The children of military service members: Challenges, supports, and future educational research. Review of Educational Research, 81, 566-618. Adolescents Demonstrate Maturity In the absence of the deployed parent
Reported taking more responsibilities
Emotionally supporting left-behind parent
Caring for younger siblings
Kelley, M. L, Finkel, L. B., Ashby, J. (2003). Geographic mobility, family, and maternal variables as related to the psychosocial adjustment of military children. Military Medicine, 168, 1019-1024. Repeated Relocation Military children develop healthy coping and adaptable skills
Do not struggle psychologically or behaviorally as they reach later stages of childhood
The greater the family adjusted to change
Higher social competence
Parental perceptions or relocation improved and aberrant behavior of military children decreased across all five branches Tunac De Pedro, K.M., Astor, R. A., Benbenishty, R., Estrada, J., Dejoie Smith, G. R., & Esqueda, M. C. (2011). The children of military service members: Challenges, supports, and future educational research. Review of Educational Research, 81, 566-618. Treatment Approaches and Interventions Be aware of what military children are experiencing Coping Strategies Important to focus on teaching coping strategiesProblem-focused copingEx. When relocating, gathering information about that locationEmotion-focused copingEx. When stressors cannot be changed Burrell, L. M. (2006). Moving military families: The impact of relocation on family well being, employment and commitment to the military. Military Life: The Psychology of Serving in Peace and Combat, 3, 39-63. Provide Resources Groups organized to disseminate information about military culture

Organization geared toward helping youth
Burrell, L. M. (2006). Moving military families: The impact of relocation on family well being, employment and commitment to the military. Military Life: The Psychology of Serving in Peace and Combat, 3, 39-63. Holistic Approach Using nature as a form of therapy for military and their families Operation: Military Kids Supporting children affected by deployment
Helping them achieve a sense of community support
Enhance well-being
Krasny, M. E., Pace, M. H., Tidball, K. G., & Hepland, K. (2010). Nature engagement to foster resilience in military communities. Greening in the Red Zone. Operationmilitarykids.org Things to keep in mind:
Even though the goverenment repealed the Don’t ask Don’t tell policy military families may still feel its impacts

Service member siblings may be children themselves therefore must also be monitored

Officer’s Children vs. Enlisted Service Member’s Children
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