Research Paper: Military Children

Pages: 8 (2358 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Children  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] Using a systems approach, it is apparent that parents need to participate more in social activities and make social connections for the health of their families, whether or not they are in the military. This is because social connections are integral for resilience. Developing a strong social support network is not something that comes naturally for all parents, which is why some need to work harder than others on this key trait. Likewise, there is a need for the development of traits leading to effective parenting styles.

Parenting styles vary, but parents who develop strong social skills are likely to empower and support their children. Parenting style is important for both civilian and military families, as there are some parenting styles that are more effective than others in promoting healthy child development. Effective parenting styles can also mitigate the problems associated with PTSD and parental deployment, as "hypervigilance and hyper reactivity to perceived threat can lead to irritability, a rigid authoritarian parenting style, and an inability to tolerate normal family interactions," ("Stress of deployment boosts child abuse, neglect in military families," 2007, p. 2). All parents should take care to avoid hypervigilance and other problems. Authoritarian parenting styles are signs that the parent might be stressed out. However, there may also be individual differences that are causing the parent's unhealthy approach.

Individual differences are important for both parents and children. Parents will cope with stress and change differently, whether or not they are in the military. Children will likewise react differently to stress and change. As Masten (2013) points out, "increasing evidence suggests that some individuals are more sensitive to both bad and good experiences, and thus more affected both by adversity and by positive interventions," (p. 207). This is true for both civilian and military children. The main thing is for all children to have access to mental health services if needed, to develop strong social support networks outside of the family, and to have parents willing to address their needs.

From a systems perspective, it is easy to understand why the development of strong social support networks is especially important for military families. When a parent is deployed, the child can rely on the ancillary support systems. The parent can also rely on these support systems. If the parent who is deployed does not come back, then the family has a network in place to deal with grief. Social support is a great "protective factor," as Masten (2013) puts it (p. 204). This is not limited to formal groups and support systems that the military might provide. Rather, the support extends into the whole society.

Although more can be done to help military families cope with the stress and strain of deployment, change, and PTSD, there is some hope. " High-quality social and health care services are available to military families, particularly those living near a military base," ("Help Your Family Face Challenges Successfully," (2014). Yet more research is necessary to understand the needs of military children (Chandra & London, 2013). For those who do not live near a military base, it is important to use websites like that DOD one called MilitaryKidsConnect.org and others like it. The important factors to remember for both civilian and military families include the factors that promote resilience. Social support, keeping a positive outlook, and taking care of one's body and mind are important for all parents and their children. Military life can be difficult, but it can also be very rewarding for all parties.

Conclusion

Both military and civilian families face change, stress, and mental illness. However, military life presents some problems that civilian life does not have. Based on evidence, it is important to take into account individual differences when treating or addressing military families that are struggling with abuse or mental illness. The individual differences will be present in both civilian and military families. There are factors that are shared in common with military and civilian families, including vulnerability and stress. However, military families do face specific problems that civilian families do not have, such as the stress related to deployment, the presence of mental illness associated with PTSD, death, and injury. Military children have been suffering from higher rates of abuse vs. their civilian counterparts. Many are cut off from peers, as families move around often. Some of the factors that are linked to increased risk for abuse or mental illness in the family include repeated deployment and related instability. In both the civilian and the military population, resilience is the most important factor that determines effective outcomes and effective parenting.

References

Bursch, B. & Lester, P. (2011). The long war comes home: mitigating risk and promoting resilience in military children and families. Psychiatric Times 28.7 (July 2011): p26.

Chandra, A. & London, A.S. (2013). Unlocking insights about military children and families.

"Help Your Family Face Challenges Successfully," (2014). MilitaryOneSource. 22 Feb, 2014.

Masten, A.S. (2013). Afterword: what we can learn from military children and famliies. The Future of Children 23(2): Fall 2013.

MilitaryKidsConnect.org (2014). MilitaryOneSource. 22 Feb, 2014.

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Military Children.  (2014, March 18).  Retrieved April 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/military-children/8302712

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"Military Children."  18 March 2014.  Web.  19 April 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/military-children/8302712>.

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"Military Children."  Essaytown.com.  March 18, 2014.  Accessed April 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/military-children/8302712.