Is there any good way to tell your child that their step-dad is on a delpoyment? How do you tell him when he will be home? How do you Moms handle your husband leaving on deployment? I know this is a loaded question, but, just need some ideas!! Thansk!!

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Rachel - posted on 03/27/2009

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I myself am also a Soldier....Army Reserves(10 yrs on the 23rd of March), I went on a 10 month stint to Iraq in 2005.  James was only 1 year, 1 month, and 10 days old when I said good bye to him.  My job was driving truck, so, I was constantly busy(drove all over!!  8,000+ miles), my parents didn't have the internet for the simple fact they live in the middle of no where!  So, I rarely got to see James, but, I took many pictures, and was given tons of pictures!!  I was a single parent at that time....James was way too little to even notice Mommy was gone!  He stayed w/ my parents and I am not sure how they handled me being gone, but, I believe I come from a strong family....Chris' family is all in Indiana as well, which is great to have everyone no more than a few hours away.  Chris' family has already been through this whole thing 2 times before, so, having a close relationship to them has been a tremendous help!  Plus, his father & brother are both Reverends....So, I know God is definately watching over Chris, our families....It is just hard to think/imagine that he will be gone for a while....I am handeling it pretty good right now...Doing things to keep James & I busy, well, a 5 yr old always keeps you on your toes anyway!  I have handled a few things all on my own....some stuff with help...but, in all, I think I am doing good with keeping the house up and running....My emotions are in tact & I am always happy to talk to him via cell phone, text message, FB, yahoo messenger, we both have web cams...thinking of getting a wireless camera set in the living room & Aydin(his ETA is May 11th)'s Room....I tell Chris how proud I am of him, how honored I am to be his wife and that I am proud to be his wife....He is an amazing man!  He IS a great father to my son, and will be amazing when he gets to meet Aydin for the 1st time....those will be some tears of joy!!  I know that no child under the age of like 9 really understands time frames....So, I just tell James his Chris will be home when the Army tells him he can come home and that he is working on helping the sick kids/people, and making them better.  Chris is a Medic....



Thank you to everyone for posting your feedback....tons of great ideas and I am putting those to work(I need to do this stuff this week when James is @ his biological father's house).....GOD BLESS!  Thanks for your support and thoughts!  I greatly appreciate them!  I know Chris does too...even though he doesn't read this, I know he appreciates it!!

Jacqueline - posted on 03/25/2009

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It's never easy, and each deployment gets harder on everyone. I'm glad you got a lot of feed back on this one, because it's different for each parent/child relationship. One thing is to make sure that your child doesn't think his step-dad is in danger. I suggest tellhin him that his new dad is going away for his job and it's very important! He'll be gone for quite a while, but he'll call and write letters to us to let you know that he's safe and how much he loves us all! It may sound corny, but I always try to look to the positive sides of things. I had three older daughters who my current husband has adopted and we have one biological child. Their ages range from 2 - 15! My husband and I had been living together for 2 months when he was deployed for the first time, and he was surprised that the girls cried when he left. We were all sad, but when he came home, we had a big party and decorated the entire house with red, white and blue...even put a yellow ribbon 'round the tree out front!!! We also sent lots of drawings and home made cards too!

Leia - posted on 03/24/2009

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my husband is about to leave for afghanistan and we have a 4 year old daughter, we told our daughter the truth that daddy was going to get the bad guys and that he is a hero....she thought that was cool. i dont think she understands the length of time he will be gone though!!! I guess as parents we just need to tell them the truth!

Katie - posted on 03/24/2009

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My husband is in Iraq right now and we have two children.  My son is 5 and my daughter is 1 1/2.  We knew for a year before he left that he was going.  But we did not tell me son untill a month before. We did that because there was no need to add anxiety and worries to a 5 year old.   And we didn't push it on him.  We were completly honest in answeing any questions he had.  Of course we answered them on a 5 yr old level.  He asks all the time when his daddy is coming home and I tell him that it wont be for a long time.  In our case it is at the end of the year.  So we gave him a major holiday to associate it with.  My husband is coming home on a 2 week leave during the summer and my son knows.  So I told him that dad will be home when it is hot out and the pool is open.  And we live in New England so we have had some "warm" days and Jr asks if dad will be home today.  I reassure him that dad will be home but when the pool is open and the pool isn't opened yet.  So for a 5 yo this is what he understands. 



Also my son received a book called A Paper Hug.  It has an activity for him to do to send dad a "Paper Hug".  You can find it at www.apaperhug.com  Definitly worth getting.  I showed it at our Family Readiness Group and every mom wanted a copy!  We are fortunate too where we get to talk to my husband on the web cam.  Worth the investment if you don't already have one.  My daughter knows who she is talking to when she sees him and gets very excited.  There are also books called We Serve Too and I believe that is the website name.  Very helpful books to read at night for bedtime.  And Seasame Street is putting on a special program for deployed families on April 1st on your local PBS channel. 



This is very difficult to go through and you have to keep a positive outlook.  Not only for yourself but for your children too.  Always keep optimism in the air.  That's what I do and everyone is constantly asking why I don't mope around or cry that he isn't here.  I do have my days but in my own way and not infront of my kids.  I have an awesome support system too.  And I take full advantage of it when I need too.  You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.  I hope you find the answers yo are looking for.  And maybe some in my resopnse.  Either way I will keep you in my thoughts and Prayers and hope for a speedy return of you hubby!

Rachel - posted on 03/24/2009

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WOW!  What a great response!!  I was given some other ideas, as far as putting a link together, taking a link off for everyday that Chris is gone.  Also, James has been very interested in typing on the computer, I was going to open up a Microsoft Document and have James push all of the buttons & type below, what he wanted to say to Chris(Which, by the way, Chris is my son's step-father, but, more of a father than James' dad will ever be--We are expecting in May as well!!  Aydin will be here in 6 wks & 5 days...)....I have tons of family support and friend support, so that is great!!  Thanks for the advice, and if you have anymore, please keep it coming!!  I will use all that I can!! 

Amy - posted on 03/24/2009

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Be honest but about where he's going.  Use the ombudsman's office as a resource too - that's why they are there!

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I have been through this more times than I care to remember. We did count down calendars--and have them make a nightly ritual of putting a sticker over each day before they go to bed.



You can also do a countdown jar--give him one quarter each night to put into a piggy bank. Have him make a wish or a good thought on each coin he puts into the bank. Make sure that he knows that he can use the saved money when Dad gets home--as he see's it grow, his anticipation and excitement will also grow not only for dads return but because he has a stash of money that sort of distracts them a little.
For each of the six months, have him mark on day each month when you and him can have a special date night--go to a paint you pottery place, a picnic--doesn't have to cost a fortune just special one on one time.
Also have him keep a journal--so what if he can't write, have him draw pictures, cut pictures out of magazines and have him keep track of things he has done and accomplished while Dad has been gone. Riding a bike without training wheels, helping plant a garden, getting all A's---the smallest details count.



Always let him email dad. Give him his own email addy that Dad can write to him, you canh even write to him. Maybe even a Webkinz that your son can tend to and make him feel in charge.
Use other military familys and support groups! They are your life line!



Hope this helps.

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Heather hit that on the nose. My son watched the military one elmo video when his papaw was sent off to help him understand. Its a great video and they will send you on for free.

Heather - posted on 03/24/2009

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Hello....military one souce has a video to explain deployments and help them better understand it...I will find the name and send it to you. As for deployments go...if he is gone for a length of time, I get hugs and kisses to put into a jar...One for everyday he is gone and a couple just in case the date gets pushed back. Then before bed he gets a hug and a kiss from dad! It also worked for my husband. They all enjoyed being able to count the days and get a little treat to boot! I really hope this helps but military one source is a wonderful website full of information. God Bless your family during this time...deployments are never easy esp on kids...

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