Monday, February 4, 2013

How to Deal With the Special Challenges of Military Families

By Tina Kehoe

When a family member is deployed for duty, the family dynamic at home is altered. Children, parents, wives and husbands left at home scramble to keep a semi-normal life. Added stress is placed upon the family members since they have to take on more responsibilities at home, work and school.
If you aren't careful, all the added stress and pressure could blow up in your face leaving you less productive and possibly even sadder because you start to focus on the missing family member, wondering if he or she will be coming back.
Dealing with the special challenges of military family life is hard, but a necessity.

Be OK With the Move

Moving frequently comes with the territory of military families. It's a way of life and you won't get anywhere if you constantly complain about having to pack up and move every few years. You might find it difficult to form strong friendships or become active in your community because you feel like, "Well, what's the point? We'll be leaving soon anyway." That's not a good attitude to have. It's the friendships you make and the relationships you form that keep you grounded and preoccupied from the struggles of military life.

Volunteer Your Time

Keep your thumbs busy and volunteer your time making care packages to sent to troops overseas. Ed Young, pastor of the church in Grapevine, Texas hosted a decorated U.S. Marine and dedicated the event in his honor. Young's Fellowship Church recently hosted an event entitled "A Weekend of Honor" in which members of the community came together to put together care packages together to send to the troops and also served members of the Armed Forces and their families dinner.

Do Not Focus All Your Attention to News Stories

You will drive yourself nuts if you constantly watch local news stories or keep an eye on CNN 24/7. Whatever you do, don't spend hours combing through news articles or listen to news stories thinking it's happening where your loved one is located. I'm not saying cut news out of your life all together, but be mindful and watch in moderation.

Meet Other Military Families

Who better to understand your situation than other military families? If you have close friends who don't have a loved one deployed, they can only try to understand the situation you're in and will often times question why you can't just live a normal life and not worry about the things you can't control.
Search the Internet for discussion boards or join a military Facebook page and talk to other families going through the same thing you are. You will be surprised at how relaxed you feel after talking to someone who understands what you're going through.

Get Your Family to Try Something New

Start doing a family recipe of the week or have a fun family game night during the weekends. The best way to stay positive is to keep everyone happy and not dwell on the "what if." Get the kids to join a new after school club and while you have some spare time, take up a new craft or hobby.

Remember: You Signed Up for This

Even if they weren't in the military while you got married, discussions have come up and you knew it could have been a possibility. It takes a very strong person willing to deal with the trials and struggles when having a loved one away, so just remember you're stronger than you think.

Tina Kehoe
Tina is a stay-at-home mom of three wonderful kids. She shares her tips and adventures with readers and loves reading their feedback.


Julie Rahm

Mindset means everything. And no one knows this better than Julie Rahm, aka America's Mindset Mechanic. A former naval physicist, Julie applies physics to the energy of human thought and the results thoughts create. As a military daughter, spouse and mother-in-law she has experienced the challenges of deployment separations, frequent moves and telecommuting careers while remaining happy and achieving her dreams. With her passion and people-loving style, Julie has provided the metaphorical tools for thousands of people to bridge the gap between their thoughts and their lives. Julie Rahm, M.S., is a certified Frame of Mind Coach who has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts, including The Phil Knight Show and ABC affiliates. She hosts The Mindset Mechanic LIVE on Saturdays and Sundays on FM107.1 WTKF and AM1240 WJNC in Eastern NC. Her weekly column The Mindset Mechanic appears in The Pamlico News. She has been quoted in numerous newspapers, and on the web at and Julie is an inspirational keynote speaker conveying life lessons through a blend of intuitive success strategies, enlightened wisdom, humor and fun. She is the Champion of Military Kids around the World. Julie's latest book is Volume I of Military Kids Speak.

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