Far-away Father’s Day for parents in uniform puts focus on balancing military, family life
June 17th, 2012
05:58 PM ET

Far-away Father’s Day for parents in uniform puts focus on balancing military, family life

Opinion by Tova Neugut, Kate Rosenblum, and Mike Erwin
Special to CNN

As Americans celebrated Fathers Day, few were likely aware that close to 2 million children have at least one parent who serves in the armed forces. Forty-three percent of American troops are parents, most of them fathers.

While many acknowledge the sacrifices made by our servicemen, women, and their families, our appreciation for the significance of these sacrifices has deepened as we’ve heard the voices of military dads. Like this one:

“I’m away so much, whether it’s just, you know, active duty here in the States or being deployed again. I think the biggest impact is he senses that, ‘OK, well, Dad’s here for a little bit and then he’s gone and then he’s here’… I hope to have a really good relationship with my child, you know. I didn’t have a great father figure when I grew up and I wanna kinda correct that and be a father figure for my child… I feel kinda like a papa bear, you know, protective…”

All parents want to protect their children from harm and keep them safe. Military parents have a dual commitment, to protect their children and protect our nation. So Father’s Day is an opportunity to call attention to the special challenge of balancing military and family life, and to honor those who both strive to be good fathers across a great distance during deployment, and those who remain as primary caregivers when their spouses/partners deploy.

It’s also an opportunity to remember the hard work of fathering after deployment, when eagerly anticipated reunion brings both joy and challenges, including reintegrating the service member or veteran back into the family unit, reestablishing roles and routines, and the potentially necessary adjustment to combat-related injuries (both visible and invisible).

“He was born and I was deployed before he was walking. And when I came back, he was standing, gripping onto (his mother’s) leg –- looking at me like, ‘That’s who?’ She had to tell him, ‘That’s Daddy.’”

Military kids and military families sacrifice and serve alongside service members.

As researchers from both civilian and active duty backgrounds, we work to understand resilience in the face of challenge. What we find is that individual resilience depends on a context of relationships. Strong relationships among service members in their units – and strong connections with friends, extended family, teachers, co-workers, and others in the broader community, for family members who stay behind – provide the support needed to bear the burden of separation and worry.

The need for support and a strong community continues during the period of reintegration after the service member returns.

“When I came back, it was difficult … trying to find that closeness and trying to find that reconnect.”

A core challenge many military parents face is the need to reconnect with a child who has undergone significant developmental changes while they were away – the daughter who transitions from school-age to “tween,” the infant who now walks and talks and doesn’t recognize his father, the teenage son who has a hard time adjusting to someone new setting rules at home.

Healing and repair occur through day-to-day moments when family members respond to one another’s need for connection, nurture, and support: picking up the young child when he cries, playing ball together, laughing and sharing joy, and supporting one another when feelings are hard.

These everyday interactions build and strengthen relationships, enhancing both individual and family resilience.

With no more Iraq deployments on the horizon and a dwindling number headed to Afghanistan, stories about the military and our veterans may begin to fade from the front pages; yet the effects of deployment will endure far into the future.

While acknowledging the need for enhanced, long-term support for military families, we simultaneously recognize what military families have to offer. Military families know a great deal about confronting challenges and transitions, the work it takes to maintain relationships, and the importance of savoring time with those we love. These hard-earned lessons in coping and resilience are instructive for all of us, military and civilians alike.

As individuals, as families, as communities, and as a nation, we all stand to draw strength from respectful, reciprocal relationships that bridge the civilian-military divide.

AUTHORS:

Tova Neugut is a Doris Duke Fellow for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment and a Ph.D. candidate in social work and psychology at the University of Michigan, where she is involved in intervention and research projects to support families connected with the National Guard and United States Air Force.

Kate Rosenblum, Ph.D., is a clinical developmental psychologist and clinical associate professor affiliated with the University of Michigan's Military Support Programs and Networks, where she leads the STRoNG Families initiative providing support to military families with young children.

Mike Erwin is a major in the U.S. Army, has deployed three times to Iraq and Afghanistan, and teaches at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He is the founder of Team Red, White & Blue, a veterans' support organization.

soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Fmfvreext

    online generic cialis cialis 20mg overnight cialis pills low price http://sjcialis.com/ – buy cialis with paypal payment ’

    January 27, 2021 at 7:21 am | Reply
  2. Fbgfiple

    uk viagra generic viagra reviews forum genericviagra https://canadianpharmacy-usx.com/organic.htm – buy cheap viagra pills ’

    January 26, 2021 at 9:35 am | Reply
  3. Ahmdreext

    cialis wiki how many milligrams of cialis can you take in a day ? whats better viagra or cialis http://cialmenshoprx.com/ – cialis with no prescription ’

    January 26, 2021 at 7:18 am | Reply
  4. Jnhclups

    genericcialis cialis free offer cialis mail order http://loncialis.com/ – cialis generic date ’

    January 25, 2021 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  5. Nmilfiple

    purchase viagra no prescription cheap viagra generic 100mg brandviagra http://xz-pharmacyonline.com/en/career-opportunities.html – womens viagra ’

    January 24, 2021 at 12:29 am | Reply
  6. KbbtVelm

    safest and most reliable pharmacy to buy cialis prescription drug assistance buy cialis pro https://xz-pharmacyonline.com – Trandate ’

    January 23, 2021 at 10:21 pm | Reply
  7. Jbdcreext

    cheap brand viagra in usa viagra prescription insurance viagra trial pack http://llviabest.com/ – generic viagra online australia ’

    January 22, 2021 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  8. Fbdhfiple

    buy cialis online free shipping canada pharmacy generic cialis cialis 20mg http://21cialismen.com/ – cialis 60 mg ’

    January 21, 2021 at 1:58 pm | Reply
  9. Aqbvreext

    can i buy viagra over the counter in the us viagra online canada no prescription viagra generic canada http://acialaarx.com/ – viagra super force side effects ’

    January 21, 2021 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  10. Jvcbxclups

    buy cialis without doctor prescription cialis without prescriptions australia best online pharmacy for cialis http://phrcialiled.com/ – cialis usa ’

    January 21, 2021 at 7:22 am | Reply
  11. KbctVelm

    cialisВ® online find cialis online cialis tadalafil. au http://mycialedst.com/ – cialis reviews ’

    January 19, 2021 at 6:18 am | Reply
  12. Nlbxfiple

    cialis without a pescripton no prescription canadian cialis cialis 60 http://cialijomen.com/ – cialis 800mg black ’

    January 19, 2021 at 4:57 am | Reply
  13. Lcxreext

    best place to buy online viagra paypal cheap pfizer viagra online buy female viagra sydney http://genqpviag.com/ – where to buy viagra over the counter ’

    January 18, 2021 at 10:14 pm | Reply
  14. Fgnhfiple

    how much does viagra cost with out insurance low cost viagra generic viagra review paypal for viagra viagra taiwan viagra without rx generic viagra using master card viagra uk coupons for viagra viagra uk viagra discount buy viagra online viagra with dapoxetine viagra 50mg. viagra cana

    January 16, 2021 at 1:26 pm | Reply
  15. Jvcxclups

    buy cheap viagra in canada store selling viagra in tronto viagra&dapoxetine viagra 150mg canadian viagra paypal buy viagra with paypal viagra online usa red viagra viagra online overnightpharmacy4u brand viagra cheap viagra 50 mg book online viagra viagra arizona viagra shipped to canada generic viagra cialis paypal

    January 16, 2021 at 8:22 am | Reply
  16. KlioVelm

    where i can purchase viagra walmart rx viagra cost? viagraaustralia viagra online? viagra no prescription fast shipping viagra for sale no prescipstion online ordering viagra australia over the counter viagra walgreens viagra in south africa buy viagra on oine overnight delivery generic viagra generic viagra sale viagra premature ejaculation cure how much does viagra cost with health insurance pfizer viagra

    January 14, 2021 at 6:02 am | Reply
  17. Nlbxfiple

    generic viagra soft tabs reviews pfizer viagra 100mg shipping viagra to australia porches viagra viagra online canadian pharmacy viagra 100 mg buy viagra online express shipping genelic viagra prescription less viagra viagra usa buying viagra online to australia best viagra alternatives alternativ over the counter viagra grapefruit viagra interaction canada viagra dapoxetine

    January 14, 2021 at 4:00 am | Reply
  18. Jtmfreext

    24 hr pharmacy near me mens ed pills board of pharmacy

    January 12, 2021 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  19. Fgvdfiple

    pharmacy cheap pharm us online pharmacy

    January 12, 2021 at 10:52 am | Reply
  20. Jlloclups

    canadian online pharmacy ed medications cheap erectile dysfunction pills online

    January 12, 2021 at 8:44 am | Reply
  21. Nllpfiple

    canada rx pharmacy pharmacy express canadian online pharmacy

    January 10, 2021 at 12:13 am | Reply
  22. KhthVelm

    drugstore makeup usa pharmacy pharmacy rx world

    January 9, 2021 at 11:05 am | Reply
  23. Lokureext

    pharmacy near me online drugstore pharmacy canadian pharmacy online

    January 9, 2021 at 2:47 am | Reply
  24. Fhsnfiple

    cheap real viagra generic viagra blogs bayviagra

    December 15, 2020 at 8:15 am | Reply
  25. Dvnjfiple

    buy viagra espagne 100mg viagra can veterans get viagra

    December 14, 2020 at 9:48 pm | Reply
  26. Fgrsreext

    generic viagra sildenafil citrate buy viagra in canada legally viagra in india for men

    December 13, 2020 at 6:04 am | Reply
  27. Fqbfreext

    cialis windsor canada curved penis and cialis generic cialis

    December 12, 2020 at 2:46 am | Reply
  28. Fsfgreext

    viagra in qatar viagra from tijuana pfizer viagra price

    December 11, 2020 at 7:23 am | Reply
  29. Jgsvclups

    purchasing viagra in usa california 100 mg viagra buy viagra onlin

    December 10, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Reply
  30. KhedVelm

    viagra online united states viagra for sale overnight delivery of viagra in the usa

    December 10, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Reply
  31. Fbsbreext

    buying cialis cialis seling shop cialis

    December 10, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  32. Fgnsfiple

    generic cialis cialis black buy in australia cialis without prescription

    December 10, 2020 at 10:41 am | Reply
  33. Dvncfiple

    buy generic cialis online cialis and depoxitine buy cialis on line overnight

    December 10, 2020 at 12:25 am | Reply
  34. Ftghreext

    college essays to read write me a ten page research paper on slavery compare and contrast essay assignment

    December 2, 2020 at 12:42 am | Reply
  35. Fqfreext

    write my research paper reviews help on homework essay learning

    December 1, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Reply
  36. Fnsbreext

    abortion research paper write my dissertation question research paper methods

    November 30, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Reply
  37. Fgsfiple

    dissertation proposal case study 2 strong college essays

    November 30, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  38. Fsfreext

    great writing 3 from great paragraphs to great essays essay writing diagram teach me how to write an essay

    November 30, 2020 at 8:03 am | Reply
  39. Dvscfiple

    writing conclusion for research paper hire someone to do your homework writing essay custom service 911

    November 30, 2020 at 2:38 am | Reply
  40. Jgscclups

    theses dissertations thesis help research paper nutrition

    November 29, 2020 at 9:24 am | Reply
  41. KwgdVelm

    research paper 30 years war help me write my essay advertisements essay writing

    November 29, 2020 at 3:40 am | Reply
  42. Fnrdreext

    viagra w/dapoxetine genericx viagra viagra store espanol

    November 27, 2020 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  43. Fmsgreext

    best place to buy viagra online canada folyГ©kony viagra viagra stockport

    November 27, 2020 at 11:48 am | Reply
  44. Fdbvfiple

    buy viagra online 100mg buy generic viagra where can i buy sildenafil 20mg

    November 25, 2020 at 10:31 am | Reply
  45. Dbsffiple

    cost of prescription viagra viagra online lowest price where can i buy viagra without a prescription

    November 24, 2020 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  46. Jsweclups

    sildenafil gel india buying viagra in australia over the counter viagra 500mg online

    November 24, 2020 at 4:10 am | Reply
  47. ther

    I liked as much as you will obtain carried out proper here. The sketch is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish. nevertheless, you command get got an nervousness over that you would like be handing over the following. ill surely come more in the past once more as precisely the same nearly very steadily within case you defend this increase.

    March 9, 2013 at 11:31 am | Reply
  48. win 7

    thanks for you.buy win 7 home.

    February 22, 2013 at 7:26 am | Reply
  49. giảm cân nhanh

    Hello there, simply was aware of your blog thru Google, and located that it's really informative. I'm going to be careful for brussels. I will appreciate should you proceed this in future. Lots of folks will probably be benefited out of your writing. Cheers!

    February 15, 2013 at 10:01 am | Reply
  50. father

    I will immediately seize your rss feed as I can not in finding your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly let me know so that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

    February 13, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Reply

Leave a Reply to win 7


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.