New Civilization News: War Hurts Families    
 War Hurts Families9 comments
picture8 Nov 2008 @ 15:46, by Gerald Vest

While working with our Wounded Warriors in our Ft. Bliss Restoration & Resilience Center, we notice how families suffer as well. Seems that when soldiers go off to war and their families are left to fend for themselves, often while their partners are deployed for several tours, it often takes months and even years to get to know one another. The families do have many Support Services on post, but when 20% or more of the force are wounded physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, there are just not enough resources to respond quickly to the challenges of TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), PTSD and the numerous physical and mental injuries that require a broad spectrum of specialists.

This research identifies the tours of duty for the marines who average just over 3 months in this report, while the US Army units are much longer. We have one infantry soldier who left home at 18 and returned home when he was 23. Can you imagine what happens physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to a young soldier when we send teenagers to war and return them when they are young adults? Another soldier that I worked with has been married and deployed with 3 children and he has been with his family for only 7 of the 15 years of marriage. Is it any wonder that the divorce rate is so high in the military?

Do pass this message on to others so that we can advocate for developing and advancing more health and family resources and to also encourage our government to examine the serious affects and consequences of long tours on couples and families. Obvious to me is that when the troop morale goes down, our forces will not be able to protect and secure our Nation as we would expect. May God Bless all of our Warriors and their Families.

Expressive Art Picture - "Wounded Warrior" by SFC Scott Milligan
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Science News

More than 2 million U.S. children have had parents deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan during the wars there, according to background information in the article. About 40 percent of these children are younger than 5. "Recent policy statements from the American Psychological Association and the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health have called for research on the effect of wartime deployments on children in military families," the authors write.

Molinda M. Chartrand, M.D., of the Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, and colleagues studied 169 families with children age 1½ to 5 who were enrolled in military childcare centers at a large Marine base in 2007. Parents and childcare providers each completed a behavior problem assessment that analyzed both internalizing (such as anxiousness, depression and withdrawal) and externalizing (such as attention problems and aggression) behaviors in the children. Parents also completed a questionnaire to measure their own level of depression. Caregivers provided information about the rank and deployment status of the parent in the service, as well as family composition and both parents' age, education and ethnicity.

Of the 169 families, 55 (33 percent) had a deployed parent, with an average deployment length of 3.9 months. Children age 3 and older who had a deployed parent had significantly higher scores on measures of externalizing and overall behavior problems than children of the same age without a deployed parent. "Such reported differences might be dismissed as distorted perceptions of the child by the distressed non-deployed parent; however, the association remained after controlling for parental stress and depressive symptoms," the authors write. In addition, childcare providers reported similarly elevated scores.

"Larger, longitudinal studies are needed to ascertain whether there are changes in children's behavior from the time before parental deployment, during parental deployment and at the time of reunification," the authors write. "This information is necessary to provide clinicians serving military families with evidence-based anticipatory guidance and clinical interventions. Finally, the needs of the children of deployed parents in the National Guard and Reserves also warrant urgent further elucidation."

This study was supported by the Joel and Barbara Alpert Foundation and the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Support in the form of books was provided by Reach Out and Read.


This article describes how children and family services are needed to address these issues as well.

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Editorial: Changes in Policy and Services Needed

"The decision to send troops into war is never taken lightly, and the sacrifices experienced by the soldiers, their families and their country are heavy burdens that may be considered intrinsic to war itself," write David J. Schonfeld, M.D., and Robin Gurwitch, Ph.D., of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, in an accompanying editorial. "However, our country's policies must be based on efforts to take all reasonable steps to minimize known negative effects; thus, these research results, which are unlikely to be surprising to pediatricians and other child health care providers, are nonetheless timely and important."

"Findings from this study highlight the need for increased attention to the mental health concerns of young children of deployed soldiers as well as the mental health concerns of the soldiers and non-deployed spouses," they continue. "They raise questions of how to best determine deployment length and what preventive measures can be taken to reduce stress and distress to the non-deployed spouses and children left behind."


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9 comments

8 Nov 2008 @ 16:28 by vaxen : Nice...
to see you back, jerry.

"Obvious to me is that when the troop morale goes down, our forces will not be able to protect and secure our Nation as we would like."

That's the whole point Jerry san. Welcome to the NAU.

Meat is meat. What doesn't rot you keep and eat. The rest? You throw away.  



8 Nov 2008 @ 16:45 by jerryvest : Thanks Vax...it is so true
that many of our warriors do feel like "throw aways." During my first 3 months while serving as a clinical social worker in our Center, every day, following my experience with listening and empowering our soldiers, I went home and cried like a baby. Now, almost 9 months later I have learned about maintaining a daily health routine, getting a weekly massage, etc., and knowing how to protect myself from "Compassion Fatigue." Even being here in a "safe" environment while listening to the horrendous acts of violence, we will never fully know how courageous and devastating it is to be a young soldier sent to a foreign place to fight a war that makes no sense to many of them and to us.

I really don't know how to fully describe my feelings about the acts of war. All I know is that we should not send our youth to war without knowing how war also affects our children, youth and families. And, we had better be prepared to take care of these warriors and their families when they return from combat, and, for many, we must plan to support them for a life time. Tuesday, is Veteran's day so do meditate, talk with others and help find some solutions to serving long tours of duty and seeking support for our brave men, women, children and families in the military and for those retired, neglected and wounded Warriors.  



9 Nov 2008 @ 23:02 by a-d : EVERY single person
on the Planet is hurt by ANY War!... be it in "my own Backyard" or thousands of miles from it! How people can think it to be any other way is beyond me! And,... then -of course-- there is the Question WHO indeed is DOING the War; those who go out risking their life & limb (in the actual daily battles) --or those, who coerse these people to go out there? You ask me and my answer would be an unequivocal: the ones who coerse others!

yes, yes, I know this "New Age" Sh---: Everybody-is-responsible-for- their-own-actions" . Are they? Really. Are they?... If that really would be the case, carved in stone, with no nyanses at all, there would be NO feeling of violation EVER, anywhere!
These Soldiers did get violated to believe in something they would NOT have believed, had it not been for the violation on their Soul/Mind!!! NO CHILD is born to kill/with desire to kill UNTIL TAUGHT /forced by circumstances S/he did not create alone!!!

This is not a thing these poor Soldiers should have to deal with alone once back from the Frontlines. The Community/Country, who sent them out, should be there and ALL should be working on the Healing together and then; send no more Members out there to destroy Life. What we to others, we do to God --and to ourselves as well!  



10 Nov 2008 @ 01:56 by jerryvest : I don't think our society has caught up
or are aware of the pain, suffering and injuries that our soldiers and their families experience every day. I fully agree with you a-d. "All should be working on the Healing together...." Many of our soldiers do feel abandoned by our government and those who we consider the leadership and by God as well.

Thanks for contributing to this discussion. I appreciate your concern and caring.

Jerry  



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