Even in times of peace, military families face challenges that anyone who has not served or been part of a military family cannot fully understand. Just like civilian families, military families worry about pay, retirement benefits and usually military spouses must work in order to support the families financial needs. Military families worry about their children, childcare and education.
Most families want to put down roots, but for military families that is nearly impossible. They move often making it difficult for the entire family to make and keep close friends or to be close enough to enjoy the support of extended family members that most civilian families enjoy. Frequent relocation is very difficult for children who have to leave behind friends and schools with each change of duty station.
Deployment is the top stressor. During deployment, military spouses and children are separated from their loved one who is serving. This can result in marital relationship problems and anxiety for the children. Military families worry about their loved one who is serving. The fear the possible outcomes of their loved one's deployment. Will they be killed or physically injured? Will they come home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or other mental issues caused by the deployment? Will they even be the same person they were when they left? Will they be able to adjust back to civilian and family life? How will they cope? Will they use alcohol or drugs to self-medicate? Assuming they return, safe, sound and whole, will the deployment sour them on serving in the military? If that happens, how will the family survive financially?
Anyone who believes that children won't be aware of the dangers to their serving parent, or the issues that can be caused by their deployment, seriously underestimates their intelligence and intuitiveness.
If you think that military families have it easy and get all kinds of great benefits, then you are mistaken. Military families serve our country just as their serving spouse or parent does. They deserve our gratitude, support and understanding. Many of us thank service men and women and veterans for their service, but it is high time that we remember the service of their families as well. To all of those who serve or have served and all of their spouses and children, Thank You For Your Service!