As a parent, it can be difficult to leave your children for long periods of time. Unfortunately, some jobs require long leaves of absence from your family. This is particularly true if you are in the armed forces. For a large duration of the year, you will be away from home, defending your country. You may think that your partner and children will suffer because of it. But there are ways to cope, making it easier for them and you.
Long Distance Relationship
If you are married with children in the army, you are in a long distance relationship. There is no getting around this fact, but that does not mean the relationship will be tough. It will be a challenge, but only because emotionally, it is difficult to be away from the people that matter most. The positive thing is that technology has evolved a lot and now you will be able to see your loved ones face to face over video calls. During your time in the army, there will be times when there is no internet, to hide your location. But these moments will be infrequent. For the most part, you will be in touch with your family during the time you are away from them.
Do not forget, when you join the army, you are taking on a whole new kind of family. Your fellow soldiers will be there with you, and many will be facing the same situation as you. You will not be the only soldier with a family at home. It is a good idea to share your problems and emotions with your fellow recruits.
Giving Them A Home
You should think about where your family will live while you are away in the army and during your return. There are special residences for families of soldiers. Military apartments are situated near towns and populated by soldiers like you. You may find it comforting to know that your family will be living in a community with people who are sharing the same experience as them. It may also help your partner to know the people living nearby will understand their emotions about the situation.
Explaining It To Young Children
If you have young children, the biggest problem you will face is that they will not understand where you are going or why you are leaving. You need to help them understand the situation as much as you can. This will mainly be up to your partner who is at home with the children. The first thing they need to do is keep you part of your child’s life and their experiences. They can do this by mentioning you in a context in different situations during dinner time and play. You can help the child realise that being on duty is just like any other job by referring to it as “going to work” or any other suitable phrase.
Some children understand what having a parent in the army means. However, they are still frightened that their parent is not safe. If you are not engaging in combat, explain this to your children in a way that they will understand and talk about your role in the armed forces. You can tell them where you are going and what you will be doing there.
Although life in the armed forces will be a challenge, it will not stop you being a great dad or mother.