Conference aims to help military kids cope

Conference aims to help military kids cope
It is always a joyous moment and a big relief as servicemen and women come back from war.

"It's been hard, especially with two kids. I think they take the brunt more than we do. It's been difficult," said Army wife Adrienne Mock.

Military medical experts say the children are the ones who oftentimes have the most trouble dealing with the deployment.

"Just try not to think of how bad it is. Just think of the good things," said soldier's daughter Ashley Dunsmor.

But it's not always that easy, according to the military kids who appear in the video titled Military Youth Coping with Separation: when family members deploy.

"I worry for his safety," one child is heard saying in the video.

"Sometimes I feel sad," said a second.

"It's okay to be sad or angry," a third said.

The kids say when they watch the coverage of the war, all they see is the violence and it frightens them.

One young girl said she trembles every time her dad talks to her through a video hookup.

"And I thought maybe something bad is going to happen while he's talking and we're going to see him die," said the teen.

It's that kind of stress that's bringing military and civilian experts together to figure out ways to help these kids cope.

It is the reason behind the conference "Military Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health and Well-Being during Wartime and Beyond." The three-day event is put on by Madigan Army Medical Center.

Much of the outreach includes special video presentations for older children and animation for the younger ones.

There is a saying that the military will take care of its own. While that maybe true, the doctors say it's important to know that most of these kids live out in the community and therefore, it's important for all of us to understand the special needs of children of military parents.

"One of my mentors says if you want to honor the service and sacrifice of a service member, take particularly good care of their legacy, which is their children," said Maj. Keith Lemmon of Madigan.

And so when you watch these reunions see if you can tell who's happiest the deployment is over, the parent or the child.

More Information:

Army Behavioral Health