My husband is getting ready to deploy in December to Afganistan, he is very close with my 2 year old son and im worried about my husband leaving for multiple reasons.

Jessica - posted on 10/30/2008 ( 18 moms have responded )

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My son doesnt like to listen to me while his dad is at work, he runs all over me and hits me. When his dad is home, he knows what his boundaries are. Im worried that my son will get used to this and continue to run things for the 12 months that his dad is gone. My husband is also worrying about my son forgetting him and what not. I always try to reassure him that our son will not forget him. I dont want my son to think that his dad just left us, but Im worried he wont understand why daddy doesnt come home everynight. Here's the truth.. IM SCARED OF THIS DEPLOYMENT!!

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Robyn - posted on 11/16/2008

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hi ya, my hubby is in the navy, doesnt go for as long as your hubby goes for. we have a 6 yr old girl and a 3 yr old boy, our daughter isnt interested really, when daddy rings but she understands why he has gone and he will be home, she counts down the days. she was 3 months old when he first went to sea foe 3 months then again when she was just over a yr old . the 1st time when he got back she just screamed at him him for days, but i had to leave the room and he stayed with her and after a few days she was fine but then again he then had to go back to work. she cant get close to him now. she loves him loads, but she knows he has to leave. but for our son, he has been to sea while he been here, and in the last 2 weeks he been gettin upset, cryin for his daddy, wakin up in the middle of the night for him, ckeckin our bed in the mornin to c if he here. he has to ring him every day. i am dreadin the day when my hubby has to go back to sea, the other thing my son was really bad, he would hit, kick and shout. i hated it but in the last 4 months or so he has calmed loads and has also started school in the afternoon which he loves. so the difference in our 2 children is huge. i hope everything goes ok for u, just keep photos and things that daddy goes goin. my friends say i dont no how u do it, all i say is u have to u cant give up when u love someone so much. take care.xx

Jennifer - posted on 11/10/2008

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Hi Jessica... Deployments are hard on you and the kids. Here is some ways I helped my kids through my husbands deployment. When he calls make sure your son gets to hear his voice.. ( my 18 months thought every phone call was daddy) Pictures always help. My oldest was 6 months when he deployed for the first and she was 2 1/2 for this one and my youngest was 6 month also when he deployed this time. They like seeing pictures of daddy and daddy with them. My oldest liked putting packages together for him also. If you live on or around base... I know our base had a wonderful play group with other kids in the same boat. For him walking all over you, sit down with him and your husband and explane the issue with daddy deployment,,, I know it sound a little to old for your child but they do understand some thing and it will help him adjust better when it does happen. Another thing is tough love. He needs to know that you are the boss. It is very hard. But Youll get thru it. I was scared to death with both deployments.

Elizabeth - posted on 11/10/2008

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My hubby is leaving this weekend for Afghanistan. We have a 3 month old daughter so the reality of her forgetting him is very real to me. I have found the cutest idea though. http://www.hugahero.com/index.php It is our first deployment and I am worried about a lot too .

Amanda - posted on 11/04/2008

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Videos are a great idea!! I did that with my little girl the first time her daddy left and she was always so excited to see daddy on tv!!! =)

As for your son hitting, my daughter tried that when she was about 22 mo old. When she hit me I just calmly took hold of her hand and smacked her very firmly three times. I proceeded to tell her that hitting is very mean and she was not allowed to EVER do that to mommy again, She understood that if she hit mommy then mommy would smack her hand....she has never tried to hit mommy again! Make sure you get his attention when you smack him, it won;t work if you "tap" his hand. Don't worry he will get over it!! He will still love you =) Remember you are the boss! Tell him you love him but he has to respect and be nice to mommy!! If you let him run over you, he will do it to everyone else too!

Kim - posted on 11/03/2008

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I agree with what the rest of the moms here are saying. I've been through several deployments at several ages with my daughter. The one thing that I have to add that my husband stopped being the boundary parent with our daughter. Instead of his stepping up, he stepped behind me and supported me. He would tell our daughter, "Listen to your mom." or "What did mom say?" This clearly set the boundaries that I was in charge and he wasn't. It was a big change for her, but it helped transition her during the deployment as well. Now, it's a phase that we go through. When he comes home, it's the same way for two weeks then we slowly start the transition into sharing the boundaries and discipline responsibility. Our daughter, who was a hitter and fighter for many years before and during deployments (until a great therapist gave us this trick) has now at age 14 said it helped her understand that mom was going to be here and mom was also a safe person. She had always referred to dad as the safe, dependable one because he made those boundaries for her.

Gwen - posted on 11/03/2008

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I wish I had more advice on how to get your two year old to not run all over you. It is hard at that age. However, my husband has been in the Navy for 19 years and we have faced many deployments. Some of the things I did with our boys (who are now 13 and 17), to help them cope with daddy being gone is (and they were little when daddy was gone): We made paper chains and they got to take one link off each night before bed, or first thing in the morning (some people have done that with candy or some other small trinket, where there is one for each day he is gone, you allow your son to have a piece of candy and say it is a gift from daddy), we also made recordings of the boys to send to daddy and had my husband record himself reading books to our boys so they could hear his voice each night. I also showed them pictures of daddy each day (the only trouble is my then 18 mth old thought daddy WAS the picture). They will acclumate very quickly when daddy gets home. Also, remind your son that daddy is at work helping to keep the country safe from bad guys.

I hope some of these suggestions work. Try to be as involved with other spouses (in a healthy way) as possible. It is not an easy task by any means. You will go through many different emotions and each one is equally important (is is similar to the grief process). Take some time for yourself, if possible. I know it is hard when you have no family and a little guy. Hang in there. You are certainly in our prayers.

Alicia - posted on 11/03/2008

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I do not think it will be as bad as you think. I had the same problem with my daughter, excapt that she was 5 when my husband left for deployment. The first few weeks were rough, but I just set the limits, and I stuck to them. My daughter had a hard time adjusting to "mommy being in charge", but once my daughter realized that I was in charge, and I was not going to let her push my buttons then the rest of the deployment was a breeze. The biggest issue we had during the whole deployment was when my husband returned. My son then 2 was standoffish twaords my husband, and my husband tried to go back to the way things were before deployment. We had a huge adjustment, because my husband had to learn to adjust to the way that I was doing things. If they after the class on after the deployment that helps him adjust back into family life you guys should take it. I know that for us it was a big help.



As far as your son forgetting your husband, I would have your son and husband take some pictures together, and put once of the pictures in this room. Also Hallmark has a stuffed bear you can get that will hold a picutre in it. I put a picture of my husband in it, and my husband explained to my son that when he missed daddy that he could tal to the bear, and give the bear hugs. This really helped. The bear even had a place at the dinner table so daddy could eat with us. ANother thing that you might try is have your husband read stories on tape, on make up some little messages, like tucking in your son for bed, and telling him that he loves him etc. keeps these tapes on hand, and lplay them for your son, so daddy it taking part in your son's daily routine. I wish you guys the best of luck!!!



I have been an Air Foce spouse for 10 yrs, and if I haven't expreniced I am sure I know someone who has. Just don't stree over this deployment, I promise it will get better.

Heather - posted on 11/02/2008

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This is the second deployment we are dealing with. My husband was deployed for almost 2 years. Jenna was too young when Donnie left to remember that part, but when he came home she was two. Both of my step-daughters rememberd him and there was no uncomfortable times. They were just happy to be able to hug daddy instead of just seeing him on the computer and talking on the phone.

Heather - posted on 11/02/2008

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We are dealing with a deployment also. My step-daughters mother is deployed and I have started a few things with her to help. We are doing a photo album for her mother to keep her up to date. I am sending the album with a few pages in it and then we will mail her a new page every other week or so. Also there is a program that your husband can get on his computer called skype. It is just like our house phone only on the computer. It even has a voicemail so even if he is on mission your son can here his voice. Web cams help alot also!! The other thing that I would suggest is to film your husband reading a book or giving your son a special message for bed time. This may also help with him not listening, if you have your husband leave a message about being the man of the house and helping his mommy until Daddy gets home. There are also dolls you can get with your husbands picture on it and a voice box to record him. Also puting a photo on the back of the seat infront of you sons seat so he can see daddy every day. Let me know if you need anymore ideas!!

Christy - posted on 11/01/2008

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I'm in the midst of our 5th deployment right now, we're 5 months down and 10 to go. You will get through this for multiple reasons, one being you simply have to. You're a Mom and an a military wife there's no other options.



As far as your son not listening to you, how does your husband support YOU as a mother? Does he tell your son to listen to you, does he back you up when you discipline your son? If not, he needs to, parents must stand together, because if your husband does not support you in front of your son, he thinks he doesn't have to listen.



I would highly recommend a couple books, "Bringing Up Boys" by Dr. James Dobson, "Dare to Discipline" again my Dobson, and "Boundaries with Kids" by Dr. Hendry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. These will help you get idea's on what you are and are not doing and new idea's of what to try with your son.



As far as the deployment goes, have your husband make a video of him talking to your son, reading books, (singing if he's talented there), etc. Have pictures of just the two of them around and down where he can pick them up and carry them if he wants, let him pick a special shirt of Daddy's to snuggle with at night that smell like Daddy (maybe spray his cologne on it if he wears that regularly). Have him actively help you write letters to Dad, encourage him to draw Daddy pictures. Encourage your husband to write your son letters, cards, postcards, sending care packages from you two as well as your husband sending things home to you two. As a family go to Build a Bear (if there's one near you) and have your husband put his voice in the stuffed animal with a special message and make one for your husband with your son putting a special message in his.



Be prepared for possible temper tantrums, crying, shutting down and not talking or possibly the exact opposite. Don't hide your own tears. I think this is one of the worst things us Mom's/wives do...is try to put up a strong facade to our children. Should be be sobbing in front of them daily, absolutely not...but let them see some tears come down your cheeks from time to time, to reassure them that you too miss Daddy and are sad that he's gone. After those tears though, find a way to make happy memories too.



Go on special trips to places, don't be afraid to travel during the deployment. Take him to the zoo, indoor water park, just go to a hotel over night for fun, order room service play in the hotel pool and have fun with him! Have a weekly movie night, where you watch movies and camp out in the living room (both of you). Have professional photographs taken of you and your little boy to send to Daddy. Make video's to send to downrange.



Deployments are NOT easy, but they're doable and you'll get through it and find that you're stronger than you thought.



Don't forget to seek out help from friends, your church family, family (if near by), and the various opportunities that your post offers.

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make sure you get a webcam so they can see eachother and talk to each other. There's also a Seseame Street deployment video that helps kids understand.

As for you (i have a friend with a 3 year old in the same boat), i'd say start laying down the law. You're the boss. Do what you need to do! It's going to be hard at first. I'm sure you don't want him to run you over for the entire deployement. If you need to discipline more than do it if that what it means to do it.

Jennifer - posted on 10/31/2008

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You get through it because we all do. Our son was two when my husband deployed and it pretty much sucked for the entire time. BUT, I made it my job to make sure that we got through it intact. We got the Sesame Street video that another poster referenced and I think it helped (my son refused to watch it for a while) and I bought some kids books through amazon that talk about Daddy being gone- "Daddy you're my Hero" is one of them. The absolute number one key thing for me was to stick to the same routine. We got up at the same time, left the house at the same time, I picked him up from daycare at the same time, and stuck to bedtime like it was the 11th commandment. It I think it helped both of us to have a regular routine. We were able to have video conferencing so on Sundays my husband would video call us. The hitting thing is a developmental thing- they are mad and they don't yet have to words to say that they're mad. We had some regression with potty training toward the end of the deployment which I have to say, I did not handle as well as I could have. (Mommy guilt!) I also did the hugging routine when he would hit or act out because 90% of the time he was also tired and/or hungry. I would sit on the floor and have him face me and I put my arms around his arms so he couldn't hit anymore and I'd rock and soothe him until he calmed down. Usually it didn't take more than five minutes. My theory was that he needed to know that it was OK for him to be mad but it was not ok to hurt people. For your husband- we sent packages every single week. It was part of the weekly schedule- I tried to include 'art' that our son did in daycare, one time we sent one of his beanie babies. We sent 'treats', greeting cards, etc. I also email a LOT of pictures, so when my husband was able to get online, he'd have the newest pictures. Good luck. You're not alone, just know that

Elizabeth - posted on 10/31/2008

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Make sure that you have pictures of Daddy that your son can have - it's really important to have that around - talk a little about daddy every day while looking at the picture.

Have your husband talk to your son before he leaves. Have him tell him that he has to go fight the bad guys, and that it's his job to be mommie's little soldier while he's gone - help around the house and be a good boy. Have him tell him that he's going to be gone for awhile but that he will be coming home.

To help your son understand the time - make a link of paper chains, one link for every day that he is gone and tell him that every day he wakes up, you take off a chain, and it's one chain closer to when daddy will come home. This will give him a visual - when the chain is really big its a long time, as it shrinks it's a smaller amount of time.

Lastly, don't let your fear show!! Toddlers are really sensitive to emotions, just like babies, so you have to be very strong around them. Be consistent, be firm, and don't be afraid to ask your friends and family for help! Get your son involved in a playground, if he's not already, and talk to him every day about what daddy is doing and where he is.

The more invovled and informed your son feels, the more secure he will be.

I wish you the best!

Rachel - posted on 10/31/2008

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And as far as the hitting thing goes, it's a toddler thing. They all go through it. It is the only way they think they can respond when they are upset. What worked for my 2 year old when he went through it was I would just hold him. Set him on my lap, tell him no we don't hit, and gently restrain him. He would scream and yell and get even more mad because he couldn't move(timeouts didn't work he wouldn't sit still) and eventually he got over it. It did take quite a long time and explaining that if he is upset that he had to use his words and not hit or throw things. I don't know if girls are that way but with two boys, I have been down the hitting/kicking/throwing/biting stage. It will get better. Just make sure you are consistent with your punishment for it. It doesn't have to be restraining, it could be something as simple as making them sit on their bed (that worked for my oldest). Removing them from the situation and after they calm down explaining that the way they are dealing with things aren't going to make it better helps, them and you.

Rachel - posted on 10/31/2008

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I hear that. My husband and my youngest were very close. He would never listen to me and when Chris left for deployment it did get worse, for a while. Just keep in mind that it is just as hard on them as you if not a little worse. They don't understand why they are gone and they take it out on you a lot of the time. Then towards the end of the enlistment, both of my kids actually started having respect for me and listening well (it took forever mind you) because I was forced to be both rolls at the same time. When he came home there was definatly a period of adjustment and my sons both were detached from their dad for a few months. Even still they usually come to me instead of him. It did get better though. Now they spend all of their time together. Just prepare for it and have them prepare for it. If you go to Family Services, they have different books (coloring books and activity books) for the kids to do while their parent is gone. Everyday we would do some more of the activities that went into (in kid terms) why their daddy or mommy has to be gone. It did help. Staying busy also helped. Everyone told me the time would fly by. Personally I thought the first month and the last month seemed to drag on forever. As far as your son forgetting your husband, not going to happen. He will probably be mad at him for a while but he will get back into it. It just takes time. Just be patient.

Kristine - posted on 10/30/2008

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Hey, my husband deploys in December also, for the 3rd time. Our son will be 2 in March, so for the first 8 months of his life it was just us (last deployment). Our son forgets his dad after a month of BNCOC, then FTXs, NTC, and then deployments. Every time they start bonding his dad leaves. I handle it but he doesn't understand. So I understand how you feel. I swear I can't get either of them to listen to me, but I try to just stay on him, he hits me too, my son. Throws things. I asked his doctor and she told me just tell him no, I guess she's never been put in that place because NO doesn't work. I guess I really don't have much for advice but I'm going thru the same thing.

Vanassa - posted on 10/30/2008

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http://archive.sesameworkshop.org/tlc/
Well we have dealt with this similar issue, the above link helps young kids try to understand about deployments. Also maybe your husband could make a video for your son , so when he misses him he can watch it. Maybe even a couple of videos. Also build a bear workshop they can go build a bear together. Better yet your husband can give your son a special shirt that your husband likes and your son can use it as a pillow case, blanket. I hope this helps. We will pray for you and your husband, we know how hard this can be. Hope this helps.

Sarah - posted on 10/30/2008

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Hi, Jessica. My husband has been in the USAF for almost 7 years and we have 2 kids, so I know exactly what you're going through. When he went to Afghanistan in May 05, our little girl was only 8 months old. Before he left, we made a video of him reading her a bedtime story. Every night, we watched the video and talked about "Daddy". She was 17 months when he came home and she knew exactly who he was. Now she's 4 and he is her hero. When he leaves, she tells people her daddy works for America and he has to leave sometimes to keep us safe. The discipline part, I don't really know what to say except I had to learn to be more assertive with mine. As a military wife, sometimes you have to play both roles. You have to earn his respect now before he's bigger than you :) ~Sarah

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