Military families face different issues than non-military families. Families that have one or more active military members deal with many of the same issues that civilians encounter, and service members and their loved ones must also navigate added concerns due to deployments, relocations, and possible injuries and trauma. Military family life is unique and can be full of ups and downs.
Heading Into Military Life With Eyes Wide Open
If you are considering joining the military and having a family, it is best you dive into the lifestyle with your eyes wide open. You will want to know how military life with a spouse and kids looks like before committing to it. While military life will certainly vary from family to family, know the general hurdles and challenges that one might expect in living the military family lifestyle. There are tons of pros and cons to being a part of the military and raising your kids in this culture. Consider the benefits as well as the setbacks that one might face during times of training and deployment. Know that while some army, navy, and airforce bases are ideal for family life, military families tend to move around often, leading to feelings of isolation, and sometimes struggles with mental health issues related to their job or their family member's job. Taking the perks and the struggles into account can help you make an informed decision about whether military family life will be a good fit for you and your loved ones.
Serving in the Military and Caring for Family
Moms and dads serving in the military are often deployed for long periods of time. Before they leave for active duty, they have to make sure that their families are being cared for. Sometimes families include two parents serving in the military. When two parents leave for active military duty, it is crucial that they put an army family care plan in place to take care of the children in the family. If a family with a military member goes through a divorce, the family will need to create a military parenting plan. Ensuring everyone is receiving proper care can be more challenging for parents serving in the military, but with the correct guidance, it certainly can be done.
Services and Benefits for Military Members and Families
Life in the military comes with many benefits that are not available to civilians. There is financial help available to family members serving in various branches of the military. Aid can come from government sources as well as non-profit sources. Families with military members also receive health benefits to help support them. There are several networks and organizations whose primary purpose is to assist military families in need.
Aside from financial aid and health benefits, military families enjoy perks not available to just anyone. Many museums and theme parks offer free admission to military members on certain days, thanking them for their service to their country. Some National Parks offer passes, like the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass, and those too can be free to military members. Plenty of other businesses offer military discounts throughout the year as well.
Welcoming Military Family Home
When a family member leaves to engage in training or active duty, the family members left at home can find themselves missing their loved one terribly. They count the days down until they can hug their husband, wife, sister, parent, or child once more. It is a special moment when a military family member finally returns from their duty. Families might consider making this reunion extra special. Some families choose to create welcome home from deployment decor or activities. Families can keep the reunification more low-key and choose to create a special poem or make a collection of quotes and sayings tailored to their special military member.
Finding Support in Times of Need
A common thread among families of military members is a need for support. Those raising kids while their spouses are away often gravitate towards support groups and connect with other military families. Families of military members need to know where they can find support systems and how to connect with people who can be of help to them. Life on the military base is an excellent option for families to easily connect with others who understand the lifestyle like no other.
Proud to Serve
While daily life with active service members can be stressful, keep the big picture in mind. Your family member is serving their country, which you can all be proud of and reflect on to help you get through the difficult moments of military life.