There's been a lot of focus lately on PTSD and the stress military service members face. But what about their kids? A new study called "Home Front Alert: The Risks Facing Young Children in Military Families" reveals that children of servicemembers may suffer from stress, too. Author David Murphey says he's concerned that this stress can cause children to have "difficulty learning to cope with emotions, to do well socially and academically, and even have problems with their physical health."
Half a million children are in military families. Young children (under six) especially are sensitive to their parents' absences at a time when they're also undergoing rapid cognitive, social, and emotional development. All of these factors together make them excruciatingly vulnerable to the stress of being in a military family.
Military families know how many different kinds of stress they face. A few face death. Many others face long absences and major, debilitating injuries. But there are also the smaller, more persistent stresses of frequently moving around, isolation, and all the challenges of having essential a single parent while the other parent is deployed far away. These daily stresses can add up for children and cause larger problems for them.
We're learning how everything is connected in our bodies -- our emotions, our brains, our health. So it's not surprising that the heartache of uprooting from your home over and over again could lead to having trouble in school, for example. Parents need to be aware of this and find ways to get their children the help they need.
But this also shows how important it is for all military family members to get support, whether it's counseling or tutoring or more frequent checkups. It's not just the adults who need help -- it all ripples down to the youngest family members, too.
Do you worry about how the stress of being a military family affects your kids?
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