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141st - Deployment Resources (Ages 8-12)

Deployment - Emotional Signs and Coping Strategies 

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

Children: Ages 8-12
 

Pre-Deployment 

Emotional Signs:
More irritability or crabbiness
Increased fear for deployed parents safety
Increased school problems, dropped grades, unwillingness to attend, odd complaints about school/friends 

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
Brainstorm with children creative ways of keeping in touch...cassette tapes, puzzle letters, encoded messages, etc.
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

During Deployment 

Emotional Signs:
A rise in complaints about stomachaches, headaches, or other illnesses when nothing seems to be wrong
More irritability or crabbiness
Increased fears for the welfare of deployed parent 

Suggestions for Coping:
Give children a method of measuring the passage of time such as a ceremonial crossing-off on each day on the calendar
Talk about the deployed parent often and spend time looking at scrapbooks and photo albums with children
Encourage children to write letters to the deployed parent
Keep the lines of communication open between you, your children, and the children's teacher.

Reunion / Homecoming 

Emotional Signs:
Increased guilt they didn't do enough in the deployed parent's absence
Temporary uncertainty regarding the impact of the deployed parent's return 

Suggestions for Coping:
Praise children for their efforts to cope with the separation
Listen to your children; ask for their opinions, preferences
Review school work with your children
Share scrapbooks, pictures, etc.