Good Effects Of Deployment On Military Children Research Paper Example

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Family, Children, Military, Parents, Deployment, Study, Education, Stress

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2020/12/20

Deployments call for a highly stressful event that is shown in long periods of obligations that symbolizes a great stress (Kgosana & Van Dyk, 2011). These stressors may appear before, during or after the deployment. These effects may extend themselves even way beyond the deployment affair. These stressors bring with them great stress and emotional problems to the family. Ever since the beginning, a soldier’s deployment means having to deal with stressful novelty inside the military. These changes may include an increased number of training exercises, an increased number of tasks, planning events and equipment monitoring (Kgosana & Van Dyk, 2011). The members of the unit most often than not work long hours with only a few slots for vacation time during the weeks and months that are before their deployment. Isolation from the family and a lower pay are the different possible stressors that could appear during the deployment. These among others pose great stress to the soldiers. These problems do not even include the challenges and the stressful impacts that are related to combat. Peacekeeping jobs also present probabilities of deployment that can also cause stressors. Those problems associated with the peacekeeping areas include heavy workload, role conflict and the vagueness of the missions. Problems of lack of sleep, less physical exercise, little recognition, and poor communication also come into play in these situations (Kgosana & Van Dyk, 2011). Reviewing the definition coined from the study made by Kgosana & Van Dyk (2011), the stressors for these peacekeepers can only mean to come from a focal point. The main focus according to Kgosana & Van Dyk lies within the borders of role conflict. This fact means that these officers are heavily trained technically and psychologically to combat offenders but are having a difficult time dealing with the stressors from the family.
Military deployments for the members of the United States Army have increased more in length and frequency over the previous ten years. One of the alarming results of these deployments is the growing number of children from military homes that are currently experiencing the absence of a mother, a father or both. It is estimated according to James & Countryman (2012) that there are more than two million children in the United States who have been directly affected by the experienced absence of a parent through deployment. Nguyen et. al, (2014), also suggest the same case when their studies have revealed over 2.5million military members who were deployed in order to support special operations abroad. Such assignments that have required the presence of more and more officers are the Operation Enduring Freedom or the OEF and the Operation Iraqi Freedom or the OIF. Among these deployed military officers are the estimated 1.9 million parents who affect over 2 million children. According to Nguyen et. al, (2014), 48% of these parents have served at least two cycles in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Despite the fact that more and more women continue to join the military since the 1970s, it is still considered as a dominantly male industry. However, despite this being the fact, the loss of military fathers or some of the military mothers have had troubling effects on children born and raised in military families. Studies have shown that children who were children of military officers have had increasing degrees of behavioral findings (James & Countryman, 2012). Nguyen et. al. (2014) also found from their recent studies that there are some reports that have indicated higher levels of anxiety. There were also higher degrees of depression, stress and a decreased cohesion in the family each time a family member is deployed. James & Countryman (2012) also reveal that deployed members of the United States military who have children have showed an increased problem with sleeping and a great decline in grades. There were also results that show an increase in the number of child maltreatment and child maladaptive behaviors.
Aside from those indicated above, there were also evidences of lower rates of a partner cohesion among husbands and wives of military members and there are indicators of higher levels of family stress. In a study noted by Nguyen et. al. (2014), there are currently 20% of those deployed members who have shown great interest in separating from their families. These include divorcing their partners soon after returning from their assignments. On the other hand, those who do not think of separation as a recourse have shown indicators of posttraumatic stress disorder that present great problems in terms of post-deployment adjustments with their families. Although these present alarming threats to the families of the deployed members of the military, there is only a handful of these studies that deal with the effects of deployment on children. Fortunately, James & Countryman (2012) have noted that a survey of 20% of military partners has reported an increased degree in behavioral problems among military children. These problems manifest at home as an answer to their parent’s deployment. Conversely, 21 percent among those who were surveyed have reported an increased level of anxiety and fear shown by their children. The same study from James & Countryman (2012) suggests that there is also an increased frequency of the mental and behavioral health visits for the children of deployed military officers. It was said that 11 percent of these children have had an increase in mental and behavioral health visits and 19 percent of them have a reported increase in behavioral disorders. Unfortunately, 18 percent of those who were surveyed additionally reported signs of an alarming stress disorder from their children because of the deployment. These rates have shown an increase in levels as the children grew older compared to the children of younger ages.
It is quite evident that having deployed family members contribute a great deal to the stressors that children from military homes deal with every day. Studies have shown that there are higher degrees of behavioral problems and a decrease in emotional and social operations in children of any age (Nguyen et. al, 2014). Chandra et. al., as cited by James & Countryman (2012) have revealed from their study that the caregivers and children from military parents indicate higher degrees of emotional difficulties. This result is as opposed to the United States general population. In one study reported by Nguyen et. al., (2014), Lester other researchers have revealed that 33% of the school-aged children were at a greater risk of having psychosocial negativity. Most likely, adolescents who were from one or both deployed parents have reported higher degrees of family, school, and peer problems. In addition, these children were thought of being exposed to greater chances of physical abuse after the moments of deployment. Research suggests that these children exposed to parents who were deployed in the military were also at risk to be exposed to the problems of drug and alcohol abuse (Nguyen, et. al, 2014).
James & Countryman (2012), can only make a direct conclusion that the deployment in itself is positively related to the number of problems that these children face. This conclusion is based on the fact that there is great stress that presents itself to children from deployed military members. According to the researchers, the greater the months that a parent is deployed, the more problems there is for the children to face. It was also found from the researchers' study that girls were seen to have more problems with reconnecting with their parents more than boys (James & Countryman, 2012). Also, from the same study, older children (those from the middle or later adolescence) were found to experience more difficulty in dealing with reconnecting with their parents because of deployment. A survey conducted to investigate the impact of deployment on military children has revealed a significant amount of stressors that may cause pathological problems to healthy children (James & Countryman, 2012).
Despite the fact that girls have more problems dealing with reintegrating with parents, those of the opposite sex appear to be more susceptible to the impacts of deployment (James & Countryman, 2012). In a recent study by Walsh et. al. (2014), there is forty percent of the United States military members who are parents, and most of them are fathers. Thirty-seven percent of the two million children in the United States have at least one parent serving the military. Of course, the stress of serving the military does not only present itself to the children but to the whole family itself. In the words of Walsh et. al. (2014), deployment symbolizes a substantial stressor for families that often has problems ensuing from the beginning of the deployment until the reintegration. The National Guard and Reserve Component Officers and their families have encountered most of the time additional challenges that are associated with a geographic diaspora that includes more isolation and limited access to resources. During the process of the deployment, those parents who were not deployed state that the have experienced mood problems, adjustment problems and stress (Walsh et. al., 2014). Also, the reintegration phase of the deployment presents more challenges that include difficulty in rekindling former relationships and reestablishment of both routines and roles. (Walsh et. al., 2014).
Wives who have children of the school-aged level were surveyed through a series of tests covering the different timeframes of their partners’ deployments. These wives were tested in the periods of before, during and after the deployment of their husbands to the Persian Gulf War. Since this was only a one-time affair the wives who participated in this examination reported more externalizing and internalizing signs among their children as opposed to those whose father’s deployment was part of a routine. James & Countryman (2012), expound on the survey as they state that those children whose father has been absent for only one or more months during the past year experienced higher degrees of anxiety and depression. Of course children of differing ages have varied experiences on the deployment of their parents. Children whose age ranges from three to five years of age with deployed parents show greater signs of behavioral problems than those children whose age ranges from 18 months to three years old. According to James and Countryman (2012), the children ages three to five years tested for the Child Behavior Checklist for their study of the effects of deployment have showed higher internalizing and externalizing signs. These children may have more chances of associating with their primary point of contact who is commonly their mothers (James & Countryman, 2012). This fact was assumed by the researchers of the paper because this stage establishes relationship attachments to their closest parent.
When in school, children of deployed soldiers were evaluated thus coming to the conclusion that these children were faced with detrimental learning challenges when faced with deployment issues. Maholmes (2012) have stated that they found out that the longer deployments and the deployments that occur during the academic testing season creates a downward trend in the standardized achievement results of the students. Maholmes (2012) noted Engel, Gallagher and Lyle’s study as they were among those scholars who revealed that the detrimental effects on the academic performance of the children may ensue for longer years. Likely, Lyle (2006), according to Maholmes (2012), has reviewed the effects of relocating households on the children’s achievements. The researcher has found that both household changes and parental absences create a dent on the child’s learning statistics. In addition, the detrimental effect has more impact to the children of single parents and the children of mothers who are in the Army.
The issues cited above highlight the vital role of a parent in helping the child adjust to the various phases of deployment. It is, however, no longer surprising that the stress encountered by most parents is also an essential factor of the child’s psychological operation. As mentioned in the above paragraph, although children are the main focus of the effects of deployment, spouses who are left behind are also left with problems that often lead to family disruptions. These instances may directly affect a child while adjusting through the stress brought about by the deployment. There should be an existing knowledge about the susceptibility of a child in order to prevent his or her vulnerability to poor caregiving and poor child adjustment. Part of the impact that is also caused by deployment is the chid’s vulnerability to the drug and alcohol use. Acion et. al. (2013)., was able to identify that the children of these deployed parents were more susceptible to becoming substance abusers more than their counterparts. In a certain study narrated by Acion et. al. (2013), it was stated that the adolescents who had deployed parents seems to have more possibilities of being linked to engaging in binge drinking. They are also found to engage in substance abuse than those children who had non-uniform parents. According to Lester and Flake (2013), studies have shown that teens and school-age children who have parents who are deployed found an increase in the problems that they are experiencing with peers. This event was mainly caused by the use of drugs and alcohol each time a parent or an older sibling is deployed and sent to war.
Again, how children of the military respond to the challenges brought about by a deployment varies on the child’s age. Those younger children may be more susceptible to commotions within the parental functioning of the family because they have weaker coping mechanisms to help them deal with this kind of stress. Another contributing factor is that these children lack the presence of an older figure in their lives who could help guide them in their paths (Lester & Flake, 2013). Also, the younger children mainly show their stress of the deployment through difficulty in accomplishing their daily routines, withdrawing emotionally and regressing behaviorally. The worst effects call for the children who act out and behaviorally manifest conduct disorders (Lester & Flake, 2013). While the younger generation seems to have been affected more emotionally, school-aged children and adolescents, on the other hand, manifest a more different behavior. According to Lester & Flake (2013), contrary to the general studies such as those in the above, these older children may understand the situation on a more positive note. They may instead be aware of their parents’ responsibilities and the risks that they are subjecting their lives into. Also, since these parents could not help with their child’s daily tasks such as homework from school, they tend to miss academic achievements in their child’s lives. This event, therefore, encourages the older children to take on new responsibilities. Lester & Flake (2013) suggest that these adolescents may instead harbor more responsibilities. Encouraging the fact that they must not only take responsibilities when a parent is deployed but also when a parent also comes home with psychological troubles or physical injuries. It is rather noticeable how these claims are quite the contrary to the previous articles where they only had negative hopes for the children of this generation and condition.
According to Lester & Flake (2013), a strategy that helps establish such a positive connection among the families of deployed officers are the current technological advancements that allow for real-time communication wherever the deployment maybe. At present, there are numerous communication tools in order to help families reconnect with their loved ones anywhere and any day. With the use of internet chat, social media, email, etc., communicating remotely has never been easier. These strategies help strengthen the family bond no matter how far the distance is between the deployed officers and their families. However, dependence on technology alone can produce confusing effects between the family and the military member himself. These short encounters online can produce great frustration and can bring the family closer to the problems and the realities of war. Also, the uncertainty and the fear that is felt by most families are increased because of the real-time communicative advantage of technology (Lester & Flake, 2013). It is, therefore, an appropriate conclusion that the actual hugs and kisses from a parent is far better than the virtual emoticons.
The studies reviewed in the above present great applicability to our current environment since it presents an issue that continues to live so as long as there is the desire to maintain peace. It is rather true that the children of these military officials face great struggles each time a deployment happens. Like any other caring family member a military child experiences worry and anxiety for their deployed parents. Also, because of the absence of one or both of the parents, these children are left to celebrate their milestones alone, or worse, they are left to go through their troubles alone. It is rather alarming to know that a recent study has proved that most children who come from deployed military parents are now more vulnerable to substance and alcohol abuse. This finding alone warrants a more focused approach to studying the effects of military deployment on children. It is unfortunate that those who are affected the most are the children who do not understand yet the weight of their parent’s sacrifices for the country. The younger age groups, especially those who are between the age of three to five have more difficulty in dealing with the difficulty of the situation. This fact is as such because these children are at the stage where they are currently searching for people with whom they can identify and idolize. Because of the absence of a parent, a child loses one personality in his life that can teach him the ways of the world.
Academic knowledge impacts the social implications and the institutions of this current issue in a way that can help people understand and empathize with the children. With the proper academic knowledge, the adults and people involved in raising and teaching military children can know the proper approach to handling children who are experiencing emotional problems because of deployment. Also, gaining more knowledge of the issue calls for a deeper empathic feel since different adults gain hindsight to what these children are going through every day. The studies reviewed above can send alarming signals for the United States Government in order to create an action plan for the children affected by deployment. There may be possibilities of encouraging programs that reach out to families of the deployed officers to help them cope with their current loss in the family. Debriefing these children can create preemptive measures that can lessen the emotional challenges experienced by these kids.
Since not all issues are attended to immediately by the government, active citizenship can help establish programs and organizations for these troubled children. With the help of concerned citizens, creating organizations and recovery programs solely for these military children can create wonders for the two million children affected by the deployment. This number is not to go unnoticed since these two million children will soon make up the whole of a nation. If active citizenship takes place in the next five to ten years, the lives of the many generations of military children will be changed. This move will gradually lessen the impact of the emotional problems brought about by the deployment of a parent. More importantly, the active participation of concerned people can help these children understand the purpose of their parents’ deployment; thus this understanding can help encourage these children to help the country in the future.
One documentary that I have encountered while researching the materials for this topic is Breaking Ground’s documentary on military children. This audio program is one of the most recent audio documentaries that I have encountered that has accurately dealt with the issue. The documentary covers the issues that are encountered by children who went through their milestones in life without another parent by their side. The documentary focuses on how the military children were able to cope positively with their situation of having only one parent present during their birthday parties. Many of the spouses were also interviewed and was asked to relay their experiences to the audience and tell their story as a family who has experienced moving houses a number of times because of deployments. Because of such a documentary, the audio program has enabled me to understand more the situations of these families and how difficult it must be trying to build new friendships and relationships over and again. The academic knowledge of such a program has helped people understand more the difficulty that is linked to such a situation. I have found it easier to empathize and understand more the pressing issue since the information has come from the family. Judging from the hour-long documentary, I must say that the reporter has delivered a balance of scientific knowledge and empathy for the families of the deployed soldiers. With the help of media tools that air the side of these families, people gain more reasons to help and gain a better understanding of such an emotional issue.


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Cardoza, K. (2014, September 19). Breaking Ground with Kavitha Cardoza: Military Children. Retrieved from
James, T., & Countryman, J. (2012). Psychiatric effects of military deployment on children and families: the use of play therapy for assessment and treatment. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, 9(2), 16-20.
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