No matter what happens, good or bad, your family is always going to influence your life. Most military families face challenges before, during and after deployments. And in the case of multiple deployments they may experience each deployment differently.
Everyone in your family will be facing the same challenge and going through it at the same time. But you all may feel and react differently to the same situation.
Mom's Deployed, Dad's At Home
You are in the minority of military kids if your mom deployed and your dad stayed home. For this family it was hard to relate to all the stories from families that had a father deployed. These military kids had to get used to changing rules as the family adjusted to having their mom home.
LESSON LEARNED: Two parents with different rules. While your parent was away, you and your family have adjusted your routines at home. Your parent at home is the single voice defining the rules: chores, curfews, consequences, etc. When your deployed parent returns, your parents may not agree on the rules. Don’t be surprise if you are frustrated and confused. It takes time to settle in.
We Lived Two Parallel Lives
You may have experienced or are going to experience a second deployment of your parent. This family had a really hard time when their dad came home from a 13 month deployment. They figured out as a family that they didn’t communicate enough during the deployment. They put their heads together and decided to create a monthly family newsletter and it really worked.
LESSON LEARNED: Continuing a meaningful relationship with your deployed parent requires planning ahead of time. Being in touch with your deployed parent is much easier now with video chat and email. But having good communication takes some work. You may not have the opportunity to talk directly to your parent and may not know what to say. So you may become more separated from your deployed parent as the time goes by. Brainstorm with your parent ways that would help you grow your relationship during the deployment.
Not Everything Stays The Same
You may always hear that when your parent comes home everything will change. Your family life may have gone topsy turvy. This family was able to find some ways that the family stayed the same.
LESSON LEARNED: Everyone changes during a deployment: you, brothers, sisters, parents (at-home and deployed). Everyone gets older and has had new life experiences during the time of the deployment. After the homecoming there is a period of adjustment for you and your family life. Your parent may not recognize that you while he was gone you have “grown-up” and have taken on more responsibility. You and your family may have inside jokes that your deployed parent doesn’t get. But not everything will change. Both you and your dad may still enjoy baseball or football. Both you and your mom enjoy baking or cooking together.