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141st - Deployment Resources (Ages 13-18)

Deployment - Emotional Signs and Coping Strategies

0-3   3-5   5-8   8-12   13-18   Adults 

Children: Ages 13-18
 

Pre-Deployment 

Emotional Signs:
More irritability or crabbiness
Fear for their parent's safety
Dread parent's departure - loss of companionship 

Suggestions for Coping:
Praise children for their efforts to cope with the pending separation
Listen to your children; ask for their opinions, preferences
If possible, show children deployment location on globe or map
While packing, suggest a "swap" of some token, something of the child's that can be packed in your duffle bag in return for something that belongs to the deploying parent
Make a plan for keeping in touch

During Deployment 

Emotional Signs:
More irritability or crabbiness
Fear for their parent's safety
Feel disconnected from family life
Resent parent's absence from school or sports events
Increased aggressiveness or anger 

Suggestions for Coping:
Encourage children to write letters to the deployed parent
Keep the lines of communication open between you, your children, and the children's teacher.
Understand that your children may feel more comfortable talking to their peers about their feelings. Other children of military members are particularly empathetic.

Reunion / Homecoming 

Emotional Signs:
Increased guilt they didn't do enough in the deployed parent's absence
Decreased ability to concentrate on school work
Fear the changes in routine and authority
Unsure of what to expect after parent returns, will rules change? 

Suggestions for Coping:
Respect your teen's privacy and friends
Listen attentively and non-judgmentally to your teen's attempts to share their current interests/activities
Encourage your teens to talk about their lives during the separation and share your deployment experiences with them