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Deployment Stress

A study published in the Journal of Development & Behavioral Pediatrics found that children of military members are 2.5 times more likely to develop psychological problems than American children in general.

The study also found that 42 percent of parents that remained home were found to be under “high-risk levels of parental stress.”

Click here to see more about the study.

This all comes in the midst of new studies and examination into how long-term deployments affects families.

It is my prayer that I will be able to avoid getting super stressed when my husband deploys. I have other military friends and a church family to help me out.

A support network is so important to preventing burnout and high levels of stress.

I got an idea from an article I read on Wives of Faith about videotaping story time between my husband and son so that when my husband leaves, my son can see him on DVD. I plan to do that, along with videotaping some of their other interactions too.

I want to try and keep things as stress free as possible for my son. For him, that means sticking with schedules. He loves having a routine.

As for me, I have some goals that I would like to achieve while Dear Hubby is defending our freedom.

  • I plan to become more disciplined with my writing (finish my book, send out some queries, etc.)
  • The Wii Fit and I are going to renew our vows. I would like to get in shape and lose about 15 pounds.
  • I would like for my son to be potty trained. I’m getting tired of changing poopy diapers and carrying diaper bags.
  • I’m going to spend time with others and visit family to help pass the time away.

I figure that with these goals, I can keep myself busy and the days will go by faster. All of them are attainable with a little bit of discipline.

Questions:

What do you do to help pass time away when your spouse travels or deploys?
How do you deal with the stress that your children feel when your spouse is away?
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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Lighthouse Prayer Line August 19, 2009, 7:28 PM

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  • Jen @ Canadian Rhapsody August 19, 2009, 5:57 PM

    Kids are very resilient, so I would focus more on making sure you make enough time for yourself, so you can give your best as the 'single parent' during the time he's away.
    In terms of activities for kids that can help maintain the bond over a distance, the best ones are those that help them to see that their away parent is still participating in their lives, and that there is a time in the future that they are coming home. Using iron transfer sheets, or the walmart photo centre, put a photo of your spouse onto a pillowcase, or a tshirt of a teddy bear; it's nice for them to cuddle.
    Create a paper link chain or fill a jar with jellibeans (or healthy treat) with one for every day they'll be away. This is easier in Canada with 7 month deployments, but still can be done!
    The video tapes is a great idea. Another is to have your husband record reading books onto tape, and then play it while reading those books with them.

    I work for a Military Family Resource Centre so I always have tons of resources for families. Let me know if you'd like some support when he's gone! (My husband will be gone Feb-Nov 2010)

  • Becky August 19, 2009, 12:00 PM

    When my husband was travelling over the winter and spring, I cleaned out everything you can think of and donated a garage full of stuff to Goodwill. Now that he's deployed, I've made a list of goals I want to achieve while he's gone – get to the bottom of the pile of books on the coffee table, catch up on scrapbooking – I'm only a year and a half behind! EEK!, along w/the basic financial goals, better budgeting, eating better, taking better care of myself, etc. I don't have kids so I don't have to worry about the kid stress – BUT – we do have two nephews who he is very close with. The oldest one is 5 and we made the decisions, with my husband's brother and his wife, to not tell Jake that his beloved Uncle Jer was leaving, til shortly before he left. We told him a month before. I don't know if that's better or worse, but they were concerned about him being anxious and sad every time he saw Jer til he left. The day before Jer left, he took him to see a movie and dinner and Jake gave him lots of coloring pictures to take with him to hang on his walls. So, the goodbye went as well as it could. Although, when I went over there the other day, the 2 year old asked me where Uncle Jer was….I told him he was working.

  • Tooje August 19, 2009, 3:47 PM

    We do NOT have the burden of long term commitments away from the house. In fact, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of people always IN the house. I therefore ask that Hubs finds time alone…away from us, with his friends. I find that the small amount of time AWAY does us good just as the smaller amount of time you have TOGETHER does your family good. 🙂 I think the goals you have set for yourself are perfectly proportioned for getting DONE. They sound reasonable and pleasant. I hope that you're able to accomplish all that you want. Have a happy Wednesday. I'm popping over from SITS roll call.

  • Christian Mommy Writer August 19, 2009, 3:34 PM

    @Chele – Thanks so much for your prayers. It means a lot.

    @Jolyn – this deployment is definitely for sure. He leaves in a couple of weeks.

    @HappyHousewife – thanks for stopping by. Babysitters are a godsend!

    @Becky – I hope the boys adjust well to your hubby's deployment. I know that they are special to you two. I think setting goals and achieving them while the spouse is gone is a good place to put our focus.

    @Proverbs 27:19 – I plan to write a lot of letters and send a lot of coloring pictures from our son.

    @Heather – thanks for stopping by. I stay up late now so that I can get "me time" so maybe I won't have to stay up late when hubby deploys. I think I may pick back up my scrapbooking hobby.

  • heather@it'stwinsanity August 19, 2009, 12:27 PM

    We are facing our first deployment (in a few months) but we've done lots of TDY separations over the last 6 years. My kids keep me busy and I usually stay up late at night because I can't sleep. I use tat time to work on projects, clean the house, sew, or blog. It's my "me" time.

  • Proverbs 27:19 August 19, 2009, 12:02 PM

    As a result of constant prayer, Anton has not deployed since we've had kids. He has, however, done brief TDY's.

    Anton has made it a point to call everday and sometimes he sent the kids a picture message from the cell phone.

    Eyanna, our oldest, likes to go shopping for his favorite snacks and send a care package.

    Writing letters occasionally helps as well. The e-mail is nice, but every once in a while a "paper treasure" is the best.

    smooches,
    Larie

  • The Happy Housewife August 19, 2009, 10:56 AM

    Well, last time my husband deployed I had 6 little kids including a newborn so it wasn't hard to pass the time. I was sooo busy with daily activities.
    I think having a social network is very important. People from our church brought meals once a week and baby sat so I could go to the grocery store. It may seem like little things but it made a huge difference!
    Toni

  • Jolyn August 19, 2009, 9:07 AM

    Do you have an upcoming deployment for sure?

    I just got the Wii Fit! But it's waiting under our bed until Christmas… The whole family is getting a Wii for Christmas, but the Fit is kind of for me;)

    When hubby is away, I am a better mom if I get some time away from the kids. This can be just an hour. The best gift you can give a single mom, in my opinion, is to take her young children from her for an afternoon, an evening… even just long enough so she can go get her hair cut!

    "When mom's good, the kids are good."

  • Chele August 19, 2009, 7:43 AM

    I have not really had to deal with any of this but I can't imagine the stress it brings. Pray, pray, pray!! I've had you in my prayers since I "met" you… I hope it helps! 🙂

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