Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Military Kids

Arkansas has done a great job of helping students whose parent or parents are in the military by providing resources to the families and schools. In 2012 The Arkansas Coalition for Military Children was created.

The mission statement of ACMC is to develop and sustain a process to support children and youth of military families who have served or are currently serving our nation. There are over 18,000 military children in Arkansas today.

Military include Active Duty, Arkansas National Guard (Army and Air) and Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine and Coast Guard Reserve children. Arkansas National Guard and Reserve families live, work, and contribute to their communities but typically live far from military bases.

Five stages of deployment have been identified and school counselors are asked to share these with their faculty.

Pre-deployment - family is notified that member will be deployed, several weeks to a year in advance.
  • General shock and disbelief; security, and safety of family feels shattered.
  • May feel like soldier is already "psychologically deployed".
Deployment Phase - from the time the soldier leaves home through the first month of deployment.
  • Mixed emotions - may include feeling abandoned, angry, sad, numb, and relieved.
Sustainment - from the first through next-to-the-last month of deployment.
  • Majority of families reach a "new normal" and resume life with renewed resiliency and hope.
  • Level of adjustment varies from family to family, and from child to child; families with multiple pre-existing problems and/or troubled family members are at a higher risk for adjustment problems.
Pre-reunion - the month before soldier is scheduled to return home.
  • Mixed emotions - excitement, anticipation, and apprehension.
  • Unrealistically high or low expectations.
Reunion - typically lasts 3 to 6 months, beginning when soldier returns home.
  • Initially reunion is experienced with euphoria and joy for many families.
  • Family structure and roles will need to be renegotiated because all family members will have changed.
  • Child's response depends on age; may display significant anxiety for up to a year.
Educator Update: Advocating for Military Children:

Free tutoring for military families:

Discussion of tough topics and helping children cope:

Scholarships for military youth:

Student Online Achievement Resources designed for military families:

Arkansas specific information and announcements for military children:

"A Paper Hug" Stephanie Skolmoski
ISBN: 0-9786425-0-3

"Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings" 2nd Edition
Kenneth R. Ginsberg, MD, MS Ed, FAAP
Published by the American Academy of Pediatrics
ISBN: 978-158110-551-3

"Helping Children Grieve and Grow: A Guide for Those Who Care" Donna O'Toole with Jere Cory
Compassion Books, Inc.

"When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death" Dino Tales: Life Guides for Families
Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown
Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 978-0316-10917 (hardback)
ISBN: 978-0316-11955-9 (paperback)

"You and Your Military Hero: Building Positive Thinking Skills During Your Hero's Deployment" Sara Jenson-Fritz, MS, Psy.S.
Paula Jones-Johnson,  BSW, M.Ed
Thea L. Zitrow, M.Ed
Beaver's Pond Press, Inc.
ISBN: 1-59298-268-9

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