How military deployment, missing parents affect families

Father and daughter
Brianna Hudson, 5, cries as she hugs her father Sergeant Amos Hudson, a member of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, after he returned from a year-long deployment in Afghanistan, at Pope Air Force base March 16, 2010 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Logan Mock-Bunting/Getty Images

Thousands of Minnesota's military families know what it's like: birthdays missed, family trips delayed and childhoods changed because dad or mom is deployed overseas.

Journalist Stephen Rodrick grew up like that. His father was a Navy pilot who was gone a lot. And when he was home, he was still consumed with his work.

"It would have seemed weirder if he was actually home," Rodrick wrote for Slate. "There might be five kids to one dad at father-son campouts, but that was just the way it went."

But of course, as Stephen writes, there's much more to it than that. Psychologists have new research that reveals the emotional toll that parental deployments take on kids. And the military spouses at home often report additional stress in managing the family alone. A survey by Blue Star families found that 88 percent of military families think the general public doesn't understand the impacts of military service on a family unit.

But it isn't military families alone who have to deal with this. We'll also discuss what it's like to have a parent missing.


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A Parent's Military Deployments Take a Major Toll on Children's Mental Health, Study Finds

"The study of more than 300,000 children, conducted by researchers at the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Honolulu, found that 16.7 percent of children with deployed parents had a mental health diagnosis -- most often anxiety, behavioral problems, depression, sleep disorders, and stress disorders -- during the study years, 2003 to 2006." (National Journal)

Military family and wellness

"The more you understand and feel a part of your Servicemember's mission, the easier it will be to adapt to the separations, deployments, and relocations." (Beyond the Yellow Ribbon)

MyMilitaryLife app

"MyMilitaryLife is a new app created by the National Military Family Association to help military spouses navigate the many adventures of military life." (National Military Family Association)