Coping with Family Separation
How parents and kids can best handle staying close while being apart
Resources for Military Families
The Family Readiness Program helps members of US military families cope with separation and deployment, by providing information and referral to needed programs.
Additionally, the program provides numerous services and equipment for personnel to communicate with their families during times of separation, ranging from video phone calls for teleconferencing, to sponsoring five free hours of childcare once a month, to recording digital video files (MPG) which can then be emailed to deployed personnel from home or via service mail.
Family Readiness Programs also provide information and fact booklets on methods to reduce family stress during separations, before, during and after deployment. To find one near you, check your state’s military websites or do an online search for “Family Readiness Program” + your state.
Benefits of a Short-Term Separation
Although family separations are hard, they can also serve as a growth impetus to individual members. When my husband is on a trip, the kids and I try to set ourselves goals to meet before his return, either on a personal level, or we choose something that we want accomplished to surprise him.
This time, though my week away from home involved a lot of hard work, in some ways it felt like a terrific vacation during which I rediscovered the luxury of focusing on one thing at a time. I came home feeling energized, and had gained some perspective on my roles as a wife, parent, and writer.
I also learned that the old adage is true: no one’s indispensable. The kids and their dad developed stronger bonds, and I know they benefited from his parenting and disciplining style. With the best intentions in the world three CAN be a crowd in forging a one-on-one relationship, even in a close-knit family!
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