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Where No Hero is Forgotten

Ask Sandria

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Question? Need to vent?

Just ask Sandria, our counselor on board ready to listen .

                                           Sandria@HomefrontHugs.org

Issues that are covered in the Just Ask Sandria program include everything including the kitchen sink and your name is never used or any identifying info if we use your question in our newsletter or web site. We follow OPSEC and confidentiality seriously here at Homefront Hugs.

Here are a few examples:

  • Separation issues with children
  • Preparing for a deployment
  • Coming home and adjusting to the family again
  • Sexual issues between couples during and after a deployment
  • Depression and behavior issues in children when our hero is away
  • Having to be Mom and Dad at the same time
  • Explaining the war and our hero’s purpose there to children
  • Bedwetting
  • Eating disorders (bulemia and anorexia)
  • Sleep issues in our children and ourselves
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the effects on loved ones
  • Dealing with the Media and balancing the truth
  • Infidelity and Healing
  • Trust Issues with our spouse
  • Loneliness and Depression while deployed and or dealing with deployments
  • Finding ourselves again and strength to make it through deployments
  • Substance abuse
  • Creating support systems for ourselves
  • Coping with chronic or serious illness.
  • Blended families
  • Taking care of oneself and ones needs – putting yourself first
  • Guilt issues regarding leaving loved ones behind when deployed
  • Communicating effectively with our spouse or loved one during a deployment
  • Holiday stress and depression
  • Spirituality and faith when dealing with deployments
  • Dealing with injury or death in your family or unit.

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Dear Sandria,

My husband is coming home in a few months and I am not sure how to prepare the children as they were quite angry this time when he left for the 3rd deployment. He has been gone 9 months.

Signed,

Beth in California – Proud Marine Wife

Dear Beth,

You ask a question we have gotten a lot here at Homefront Hugs. It is not easy for the children to be asked to cope with 2nd and 3rd deployments and though they may be angry, I am sure they feel mixed feelings and still love their Dad. I am sure it has not been easy for you either. Begin to sit them down and gradually prepare them by asking them what they think it might feel like when Dad comes home. Ask them how they want things to be the day he comes home, how to welcome him,and what they need too from Dad or you.

I am a huge fan of family meetings- so if you are not already having them- choose an evening once a week and begin to have them with your kids.  This is a time to air feelings,plans for the week, concerns, behavior issues and consequences, and get the children to participate as a team no matter how young. This is something they can control and if you feel there is some deeper anger or depression going on, you may want to seek some outside help from your chaplain, or a counselor on or off base.

What’s important is not to negate their feelings and to allow the kids to feel angry and maybe write down why. Then you can discuss them privately or at family meetings and it helps them to know that it is okay and this is part of a family- growing and coping and learning from hardships . This country is so proud of your kids and but you know better than most what sacrifices they make too. You know how hard it is for them to have Dad miss so many important life events  like birthdays,soccer games, ballet recitals, Christmas, Hannukah,etc.

Make sure that your kids are hearing daily affirmations from you and those around them in their life. That anger can be easily mixed with depression and fear that Dad might not make it home okay…a very reasonable defense mechanism older children tend to use. Self-esteem is intertwined there too so make sure their daily activities meet these needs and give them consistency, and positive support as well as sports which are an excellent outlet for stress.

Make sure you are taking care of you too. The kids need to see Mom strong but able to admit too when you’re having a tough day with it all. It;s okay to take an evening a week for you and to let the kids know that as it helps Mom be the best Mom possible. Hire a sitter or swap childcare with friends .

Lean on each other- be a family. The fact that you are already are asking these questions before he gets here is  a sure sign your instincts are in the right place. Your family resource center on base can send or provide you with a whole list of ways to prepare for homecomings if you call them- most resource centers now have pamphlets which deal with just that . Email me if you need any contact information.

Take care.

Sandria

 

Savored Moments Photography 2013 

Whether you are in the military, a veteran or family of a loved one who is serving , deployed, wounded or having served, you are not alone.  There is someone here waiting to listen.