Kids With Parents in the Military Have a Lot of Stress to Deal With -- Especially Teens

It's hard to ever know how military families cope with so much transition and sacrifice. Many of this nation's servicemen and -women demonstrate heroism on the front line, but battle great obstacles behind closed doors -- and they aren't the only ones. A new study reveals military kids endure their own battles due to stress.


Researchers believe children in military families are not only more likely to be victims of physical abuse and persecution, but sadly feel the need to bring a weapon to school. A startling 81 percent of kids surveyed in grades 7 through 11 feel the need to bring a knife to school. Even cyberbullying is a problem as kids with association to the military report several incidents of online harassment.

The study published in JAMA Pediatrics also points out teens with parents serving in the military have a higher chance of abusing substances -- including alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, and prescription drugs.

"We believe this is partly due to ongoing stressors related to war, deployments, frequent moves, being bullied, and being involved in risky peer groups," notes Kathrine Sullivan, lead author of the study and social work researcher.

With so much focus on individuals serving in the military, it oftentimes is easy to forget those left behind. Things like deployment and constant change to a family dynamic can greatly affect a child, no matter his or her age. Even if this study doesn't account for every military kid, it should be enough to take notice and look for ways to make everyday life a little easier.

More from The Stir: 20 Signs You're Raising a Military Kid

"We need to ask about military service across all levels of the education and health-care systems to better identify families and teens who may be at risk and in need of intervention," says Suzannah Creech, a psychologist with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.


Image via © Terry Vine/Blend Images/Corbis

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