Month of the Military Child – Understanding their experience

Why the Month of the Military Child Was Created:

The Month of the Military Child was created to honor and recognize the sacrifices and resilience of children in military families. April serves as an opportunity to acknowledge the sacrifices they make and to celebrate their contributions to their families and communities. As we round out our Month of the Military Child campaign, we wanted to share more about the experiences of military children to encourage you to support and honor them this and every month. 

5  Facts About Military Children:

  1. There are more military children than there are military service members.
  2. Military children are twice as likely to join the military.
  3. Over 1 million children have at least one parent in active duty service.
  4. Military children are often referred to as military BRATs. BRAT stands for bravery, resilience, adaptability, and toughness. 
  5. As a symbol of their tenacity, adaptability, and strength, dandelions are the official flower of military children.

What Military Children May Experience:

Military children face a variety of challenges due to the nature of their parents’ service in the military. Here are some common challenges experienced by military children:

Parental Deployments and Parental Reintegration:                                                                               

Military children may experience prolonged separations from one or both parents due to deployments, training exercises, or temporary duty assignments. Coping with the absence of a parent, uncertainty about their safety, and changes in family dynamics can be emotionally challenging for children. Reuniting with a parent after a deployment can be a complex process for military families. Children may experience mixed emotions, behavioral changes, and difficulty reconnecting with the returning parent due to the stress of separation and changes in family dynamics.

Educational and Living Transitions:                                                                                                                                                       

 Military children frequently change schools as their parents relocate, leading to disruptions in their education and social development. Adjusting to new curriculum standards, teaching styles, and peer groups can impact academic performance and emotional well-being. Moving frequently can lead to the loss of established support networks, including friends, extended family, and community resources. Military children may struggle to build new connections and find a sense of belonging in their new environments.  

Emotional and Behavioral Health:                                                                                                            

Military children may experience emotional challenges, such as sadness, loneliness, anger, and confusion, related to the unique stressors of military life. Some children may exhibit behavioral problems, difficulty concentrating, or withdrawal symptoms in response to family disruptions.

These challenges emphasize the importance of providing support and resources to help military children thrive amidst the unique stressors of military life. By addressing the needs of military children and families, communities can support their well-being and resilience throughout their childhood and beyond.

How We Help

As part of our holistic approach to case management, we support the entire family, which means that if military children of clients we serve are in need, we connect them with resources and support. Whether it’s school supplies, clothes, food, mental health support, or anything in between, if a parent reports a military child’s need to us, we leverage our network of community partners to find them the support they need. Additionally, parents can use our online resource database, PATRIOTlink®, to find children’s resources in their town or city. 

In honor of this year’s Month of the Military Child, we worked with a funding partner to send care boxes to over 80 children and families. Children received individual boxes with self-care items, toys, and books. We also sent movie night boxes to families, so that they could spend quality time with each other. We are grateful for these opportunities to show military children appreciation for their service and sacrifice. 

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