Children of all ages can feel off balance as they cope with changes such as a military move or a parent's deployment. If you're feeling frustrated with your child or teenager, take a step back and consider what their behavior is really trying to say.
What is Happening?
- Children regressRegression can happen in response to any big change in a child's life. Children may revert to behaviors you thought they outgrew – such as whining or acting clingy.
- Children find it difficult to regulate or control their emotions. Children may lose their ability to keep their cool and cope with problems that they've easily handled before. They might have emotional meltdowns to minor incidents or be more moody and irritable for a short time.
- Physical reactions often occur. As children adjust to the changes in their world they may often complain of headaches or stomachaches. They may want to sleep more than normal or are unable to sleep well. They may experience appetite loss or decreased amounts of energy.
- New behaviors emerge. You may notices changes in your child’s academic performance, uncharacteristic incidents of acting out, or aggressive behavior. They may appear anxious, worried, or depressed.
Reach Out for Help if You See...
- Common stress reactions such as persistent headaches, stomachaches, moodiness, etc.
- Significant changes in sleeping or eating patterns
- Difficulty concentrating or coping with common daily problems or routine issues
- Considerable or prolonged drop in grades
- Uncharacteristic incidents of acting out or aggressive behaviors
- or High-levels of anxiety or worry
Resources for Parents
The clickable images below provide documents that detail additional age specific resources for school aged kids and teens that may be useful.
How Can I Help?
Communication is key to the well-being of your child. Try sharing the resources below with your child, or use them as conversation starters. Be open to answering questions that arise.
Is a parent or loved one deployed or preparing to deploy? Recommend the deployment resources.
Has a parent or loved one recently returned from a deployment? Refer them to these videos.
Is a parent coping with a military-related injury or illness? Watch these video resources together.
Parenting2Go helps veterans and service members reconnect with their children and provides convenient tools to strengthen parenting skills. The app addresses challenges that come with parenting children of all ages and backgrounds. Parents can find:
- Quick parenting advice
- Relaxation tools to use when frustrated or stressed
- Tools to improve relationships with their children through positive communication
- Strategies to switch gears between military life and home
The app also offers guidance for seeking professional help and access to additional resources. The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, with a development team of leading parenting experts, researchers, and therapists, developed Parenting2Go.
More Helpful Resources
Military OneSource: Service members, their families, survivors, and the entire military community have access to Military OneSource resources anywhere in the world at no cost. Military OneSource provides resources and non-medical counseling include a confidential call line 800-342-9647 – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, from anywhere in the world.
Department of Defense Education Activity: This organization is responsible for planning, directing, coordinating, and managing prekindergarten through 12th grade educational programs on behalf of the Defense Department. The organization operates in 164 accredited schools in 8 districts located in 11 foreign countries, 7 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
Sesame Street for Military Families: Sesame Street for Military Families is a free, bilingual (English and Spanish) website where families can find information and multimedia resources on the topics of military deployments, multiple deployments, homecomings, injuries, grief, and self-expression. The website has a section for providers to learn more about the military culture.