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The Emotional Impact of Deployment
Transcript of The Emotional Impact of Deployment
Stages of Deployment
The Emotional Cycle of Deployment
Each stage of deployment is characterized by a time frame and specific emotional challenges.
Separation Anxiety and Deployment Stress
What issues or behaviors might result from a parent, sibling, or other close relative leaving a child for an extended period of time?
Military Kids Are Resilient
Kids may develop surprising strengths as a result of deployment!
How You Can Help
Listen and reflect: Help kids identify, accept, and express what they are feeling.
The Emotional Impact of Deployment
Reunion and Reintegration
1. The service member receives order to deploy anywhere from a few days to a few months in advance.
2. The service member and family members attend pre-deployment information sessions (e.g. Yellow Ribbon Program or Family Night).
3. The service member begins training for mission and may be away from family for extended periods of time.
When the service member is away for their tour of duty, whether in the U.S. or overseas.
Technically up to 180 days after the service member returns from deployment.
Be patient, understanding, caring, and yet firm
with consequences for misbehavior.
Model constructive ways of dealing with strong or challenging emotions such as anger, grief, loss, and sadness.
Lack of appetite
Complaining of stomachaches/headaches
Problems at school
Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
Stage 1: Anticipation of Departure
Timeframe - When Service Members receive orders to deploy.
Increased feelings of stress at home
Reality of change sinking in
Denial and/or anticipation of loss
Everyone feels more emotional
Stage 2: Detachment and Withdrawal
Timeframe - occurs shortly before Service Member leaves
Service Member is focused on preparing for mission.
Arguments may increase.
Communication may be difficult.
In preparation for loss, family members may distance themselves emotionally.
Stage 3: Emotional Disorganization
Timeframe - 1 to 6 weeks into deployment
Life without Service Member may initially feel overwhelming.
Feel numb and not interested in doing much.
Be more irritable than usual
Have difficulty concentrating in school
Wish things would go back to "normal."
Be surprised at how smoothly everything is going now that the Service Member is gone.
Stage 4: Recovery and Stabilization
Timeframe - Usually begins between weeks 3 and 5 after deployment
Family finally starts to settle into a routine without Service Member
Coping with changes can be both challenging and positive for kids.
Stage 5: Anticipation of Return
Timeframe - about 6 weeks before the Service Member returns
Family is happy, excited, and feeling a boost of energy.
Family tries to make everything "perfect" for return.
Sense of relief that Service Member will return vs. concern that Service Member might be different.
Stage 6: Return, Adjustment, and Renegotiation
Timeframe - For up to 6 weeks after Service Member returns
During time of separation the Service Member and all family members have changed.
Family members may feel overwhelmed by Service member attempts to get to know everyone again.
Everyone needs space and time to readjust.
Stage 7: Reintegration & Stabilization
Timeline - up to 6 months (and beyond) after the Service Member returns.
A "new normal" is established regarding routines and expectations.
Family members may begin to feel secure, relaxed, and comfortable with one another again.
Serious issues with Service Member may not surface until this time frame.
Maturity and growth
Independence, flexibility, and adaptability
Skills for adjusting to separation and losses later in life
Connect to community organizations and/or positive adult role models
Family bonds may grow stronger
Able to identify and verbalize feelings
When the service member returns
The process of incorporating the service member back into family, work, and community.
By Connecticut Operation: Military Kids