You want this deployment to go as well as can be expected, especially for the sake of your children. Easier said than done? Certainly a bad attitude helps no one during a deployment—not the service member, not the at-home spouse, and not the children.
So here are three points for parenting during deployment—so simple that we call them the “ABCs”:
“A” is for “Ask good questions.” Your relationship with your children starts with a good relationship with your spouse. So initiate conversations before and during deployment, using simple questions such as, “What are your concerns today?”
Don’t assume you already know the answer. And don’t forget those all-important questions—“What can I do to help you?” and “How can I pray for you?”
“B” is for “Be prepared.” Throughout the deployment, talk with your spouse about the children’s daily schedules, school activities, developing friendships, educational progress, spiritual growth, upcoming holidays, finances, service projects, consistency in discipline, and your commitment to support each other in doing what is best for the family.
“C” is for “Communicate with the children.” If you’re on deployment, send a card, send an email, send a gift, send anything. Ask them good questions, too—and listen! Let them know that they are part of the mission and that your family could not succeed without their help at home. Encourage them in their schooling, their chores, and their behavior. Above all, don’t forget to pray with them and for them.
Another good reminder is to answer an emotion with an emotion. Children (and adults) need that. If your child says, “I miss you so much,” make sure you say “I miss you so much, too. You are so special to me!”
Lead and love your family well during this deployment!
1. In what ways will you prepare your family for this deployment?
2. Do you believe there are unmet parenting needs? Address them before the deployment.
Do you know your most important job as a parent? Read Dennis and Barbara Rainey’s article on FamilyLife.com.