Dealing With Your Parent’s Deployment

Girl hugging soldier

If you're a military kid, deployment happens. You may not realize it now, but going through a deployment may make you stronger than you imagined. You'll figure out how to get through this tough time and there's a lot you can do to help yourself.

You can do things before, during and after deployment to help the time pass. Before you know it, your parent will be back home and hanging out with you. Here are some tips to make the deployment fly by:

Before deployment


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  • Write down your questions. There is a lot to think about when your mom or dad deploys, so make a list of questions to ask. You can also start a journal where you write down your thoughts and feelings.
  • Plan a special goodbye. Figure out the best way you and your parent can say goodbye to each other. Maybe you'd like to go to the movies, play a favorite game or just spend an evening together at home.
  • Set a goal. Plan to tackle a new skill, and master it, by the time your parent has returned from deployment.

During deployment

  • Stay in touch with your parent. Even though you can't call your deployed parent whenever you want to, you can email and even send snail mail updates about what is going on in your world.
  • Talk to your friends. If your family moved because of a deployment, keep in touch with your friends from your old school. Talking with friends who are also military kids can be especially helpful, because they get what you're going through and they'll know how to support you.
  • Figure out how you can help at home. No one expects you to be a superhero, but you can make life easier for everyone by helping with the household routine. Take care of your usual chores and responsibilities, and jump in to help when you see something else that needs to be done.
  • Stay flexible. The return of your deployed parent may be delayed at the last minute, or your family's plans for an exciting reunion may be put on hold. It's all part of military life, so try to go with the flow.

After deployment


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  • Give your parent some space. Try to keep things low-key for the first few days after your parent gets home. He or she may need some rest or may have to go back to work right away. Make sure you give him or her time to relax and get back into the swing of things.
  • Be patient. It may seem strange, but adding a parent back into the family routine may mean making some adjustments. You can make the changes easier on yourself by having a good attitude and keeping an open line of communication with your parents.

No matter how difficult or unfair it may seem at times, supporting your family by doing the best you can is a way military kids can serve, too.


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