Author Topic: Leaving Children For Training, Etc. -Merged  (Read 40604 times)

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Offline REJ

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Leaving Children For Training, Etc. -Merged
« on: July 01, 2005, 11:46:37 »
I am near the end of the application process. I have a thirteen month old boy that I will have to leave behind (with husband and extended family) for Basic Training and, later, all the rest of my training. I am quite sure that this is the best thing for my family over-all but the next two year period will be a rough one. I am unsure if it will just be difficult for me and my son will be fine, or if there will be some life-long repercussions because of my absence. I have all kinds of worries and hoped that there might be someone here who has experiences and/or advice to share.


Offline Robert S

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Re: Repercussions of Mom leaving one year old for all training
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2005, 11:52:08 »
Well a child needs its parents.. both parents. Do they have some sort of Military Housing that you could all live in? I mean when the kid was older I think it would be fine, but at his infancy it might not be so good. Sorry this is the best link I could find http://www.naturalchild.com/jan_hunt/separation.html
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Offline Gunner

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Re: Repercussions of Mom leaving one year old for all training
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2005, 12:07:50 »
REJ,

You have determined that joining the military is the best thing for your family.  Any time away from your family will be difficult on you, your husband, your child, but it is part of life in the military.  You are very lucky to have an understanding spouse and extended family that will assist while you are away.  Don't get too wrapped up in the "child needs its parents" mentaility spoken by Warvstar, your child needs a stable family environment which is being provided.  Before you sign the dotted line, make sure you are comfortable with your decision, know that your husband and family are behind you, and then go kick some *** in the military.
Had a wonderful ~26 years in the military and still miss it.

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Re: Repercussions of Mom leaving one year old for all training
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2005, 12:29:12 »
You're not going through anything that thousands of others haven't experienced, male AND female.  Soldiers have been leaving families behind for training, and much worse, for centuries.  This is part of what makes army brats an unusually independent bunch of people down the road, they learn about adversity at an early age...Just my $.02, as usual

Kat
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Offline REJ

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Re: Repercussions of Mom leaving one year old for all training
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2005, 18:41:35 »
Thank you for your replies. I really appreciate the input. Thanks most especially to Gunner who said what I needed to hear. Despite me wanting to always be with my son, circumstances are such that I cannot. He will continue to have a wonderful family environment with me gone for periods of time. I hope that he will still feel close to me and loved, as well as grow up to be an independent and well-adjusted adult. My husband and I had already decided about this career; I guess I just needed assurances from people "in the know" that things would be fine. So, now to move forward and kick some butt!

Thanks again.

Offline Gunner

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Re: Repercussions of Mom leaving one year old for all training
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2005, 19:06:33 »
Quote
Thanks most especially to Gunner who said what I needed to hear.
   :-[
Had a wonderful ~26 years in the military and still miss it.

Offline Robert S

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Re: Repercussions of Mom leaving one year old for all training
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2005, 22:23:41 »
Im just saying wait a untill the kid is a little older read the facts, Kids needs there moms more than any other person for the first 1 1/2 years after that then you should join. our even better ask a doctor or a phyiciatrist. All you will probrally get here is oppinions, just because one is more to your liking does not mean it is the right choice. Im not saying dont do it, although it kinda sounds like that.. but rather read up on it and ask a doctor or phyiciatrist. Im only 19 but from what I have read kids really need there mom even more than there dad for the first year and a half.
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: Repercussions of Mom leaving one year old for all training
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2005, 22:37:16 »
Are you a parent?  A Doctor?  A Psychologist?
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Offline Robert S

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Re: Repercussions of Mom leaving one year old for all training
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2005, 23:03:09 »
Are you a parent?  A Doctor?  A Psychologist?
Exactly, what he said. You need to talk to them. Unless someone here has experiance in any of those fields?
Im pretty sure you were asking me if I was one of those professions but Iam not. Hence my last post.
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Offline beach_bum

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Re: Repercussions of Mom leaving one year old for all training
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2005, 02:00:39 »
Hmmm.  Well, I'm not a Doctor, but I am a parent and a single parent at that.  The first time I had to leave my child was to go on a course when she was 9 months old.  It was tough, no doubt about that, but we both survived.  You are very lucky to have a wonderful support system in place.  I can't tell you what to do, and neither can anyone else here.  That is something you will need to decide on your own.  Only you and your family can make the right choice, however, there are many mothers (and fathers) who have gone on course, tours and tasks...and the kids (with a good support system) seem to make it through just fine.  Good luck.  :)
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Offline x-grunt

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Re: Repercussions of Mom leaving one year old for all training
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2005, 02:18:33 »
Unless someone here has experiance in any of those fields?

I do. Both personal and professional.
REJ, as others have stated your child will survive your absences but of course there are concerns, and I'm delighted to see you taking some time to investigate the possible consequences.
My unsolicited .02 is if you have the choice, it's best to wait until the little'un is about 2+ The CF will still be here in a few months!

Every situation is different, so if you want to hash this out with a pro - always a good idea - a really good resource is the nation-wide Parent Helpline at 1-888-603-9100. It's 24/7, and you can discuss your concerns confidentially over the phone. Good resource for all of us raising kids.

Offline Kirsten Luomala

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Re: Repercussions of Mom leaving one year old for all training
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2005, 10:11:47 »
Well I'm a Mom and in the military.  All 3 of my girls were born after I joined. Yes maybe the professional will say that its more important to be around when you child are still young but there is something to be said about the strength they gather for themselves when you have to be away.  My oldest is now 7 and she has always had one of her parents apart in her first 4 years.  When my second was 18 months old I was sent to afghanistan for 6 months with no HLTA(Leave to come home).  Yes it was hard on her and I to reconnect but now the middle child is 5 and the oldest is 7 and we are extremly close.  Some of the worst parents are the ones who are always home (not all but some) and some are the ones who go away.  It boils down to the quality of time you do spend with them.  When we are home we don't go to parties or the mess unless its a function we have to attend(these don't happen to often).  We have a routine eg. Friday nights its a family supper at a restaurant, Satuarday a family movie at home.  We always eat meals at home together and we never go to bed angry.  2 years ago we were being transfered when my middle daughter fell and had a massive brain injury, my oldest now was dealing with alot of uncertainity with the move, her sisters medical condition and with starting school.  She handle it wonderfully.  Stress doesn't seem to affect her to much.  I think its because our lives are always changing with the nature of our jobs so when her life really changed she was and is still amazing.  Reallize that its about you and your relationship with you child and family.  If you teach them well and love them lots.  And always ensure the time you spend together is really quality then it will be okay.  As a mother and a soldier if you have good family support (sounds like you do) the you can have it all.  The men always have just keep it in the back of your mind quality not quantiy counts. (sorry for spelling errors but spell check wasn't working)
Kirsten

Offline x-grunt

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Re: Repercussions of Mom leaving one year old for all training
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2005, 15:25:17 »
Quote
It boils down to the quality of time you do spend with them.

Bingo. You nailed it right there.  Kirsten, sounds like you have done a stellar job.

Nonetheless, if the option is there, it's always better to have two parents. It is never more desireable to have one parent absent, unless that parent is a negative influence when they are home (i.e. alcoholic, anger issues, abusive, neglectful etc.)

But the reality is military families have to seperate, and it is certainly workable, esp if you put the kids needs first and your partner is 100% onboard and capable. I stand by my previous post that if it's possible, having mommy around until 2+ is best.

REJ: Here are some military parent/child resource links about seperation and deployment that you may find useful:
http://www.wood.army.mil/mwr/deploymenthndbook.htm
http://www.zerotothree.org/military/

Offline REJ

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Re: Repercussions of Mom leaving one year old for all training
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2005, 19:53:31 »
Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful ---and thought provoking--- responses.

REJ

Offline airmich

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Are you a sea-going Mom?
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2005, 00:02:45 »
Was having a discussion with some other mom's, both military and non, recently and it made me curious about others out there.  (Please read sea-going as also flying, TD'd, in the field etc).

How old is your child(ren) and how are you coping with time away from home? 

I began my current contract when my son was 4.  He is now 7.  Although it is difficult being away for extended periods of time, I find he is at a good age for this.  Don't get me wrong, no age is the best for being away, but his current age works well, as he can talk on the phone to me (he's even learning the morale phone with the delays!), can send emails and mail, and understands dates of events when looking on the calendar.  He isn't changing daily like an infant, and he isn't going to run off or get into bad crowds (yet).  That being said, he is still moody, but his teachers and sitters work well with him.  My husband is also Navy, but so far he has managed to keep shore billets which allow him to be home, except for the occasional duty or short coursing.  Needless to say, it does make for some trying times when I get home and hubby is at the door waiting to run away for a break LOL.  But we are both happy in our jobs and it helps too that I want to stay at sea and not work at a desk, whereas he prefers the desk over the ship.

All that being said, how are others doing?  And what helps you reintegrate when you get back home? 

Tks :)
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Offline Junior17

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Children and the CF
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2007, 13:47:00 »
Hi ... I did find a topic on this from about 3 yrs ago but it was short lived and went into a new direction very quickly ...

I just recently joined the CF and leave for Gagetown May 7th ... but ...

Here's the thing ... I have a 2 yr old daughter and my wife seems to be concerned about how to explain to her why daddy is gone and where I am and when I'm coming home.    She's also concerned about the length of time I'll be away.  She's still too young to understand what we're telling her but I know that when she gets older she will hopefully understand.

If there is anyone out there who would like to share any stories or advice I'd very much appreciate it ... as I have walked away from Army.ca with plenty of both since I've joined.

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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Children and the CF
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2007, 13:52:53 »
I would suggest reading some of the topics in this forum on "Deployments".  There are a lot of good suggestions for what a Spouse and Children can do during periods of separation.
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Offline Booked_Spice

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Re: Children and the CF
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2007, 14:07:20 »
Hello Junior,

I know many people may disagree with me but the Truth is probably the best way. I know that when Hubby left for the Ghan last year, we didn't know how to tell our 3 yr old daughter. We simply told her the truth in a way that she would understand. It was very effective and today she still talks about her daddy when he went to "Afghanistan to save the kids from the monsters". Children are more adaptable then most people give them credit for. They also understand more then one could imagine. Your family will realize it is hard at first but it becomes a part of life. In our case it is " Daddy went to the field" She always tells me, Don't worry mom, he will be back soon.!

Just make sure that you explain it to her in a way that she understands.

Take care and Good luck
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Offline CdnArtyWife

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Re: Children and the CF
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2007, 14:21:38 »
It is my experience that a two year old will barely notice your absence. Not that you won't be missed, you will...but two year olds have no real sense of time.

My children are still young (5 and 4) and it is only recently that my kids have started to notice when Daddy is away. It actually took 6 weeks from my hubby's departure for a tour in A-stan before my 4 year old realized Daddy was missed. We always explained the iminent absence to the kids before my husbands departures (for course, exercise, tasking or deployment), but I noticed that the children really only reacted to MY emotions and feelings. So as long as I "held it together" while they were awake...all was well.

Children, while young, are very resilient. If your kids grow up knowing that Mommy or Daddy have to go away for work they will treat it as fact of life. As long as both parents are fully present with the children when they are home, I don't think the kids will resent anything. At least I hope not.

Cheers,

CAW
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Offline retiredgrunt45

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Re: Children and the CF
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2007, 14:59:38 »
Children are tougher than what we give them credit. Its the adults who fall apart and when that happens, everything goes into the toilet.

 My daughters now grown were always asking were I was going when I was deployed with the UN or just and exercise. The truth is always the best, but in terms what a 4-5 year old can understand. Believe me it gets harder as they get older. The glue that holds the family together is your spouse, in my case my wife, she was a rock. She had grown up an army brat, so new all to well what to expect.
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Offline RN PRN

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Re: Children and the CF
« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2007, 18:53:38 »
A modified truth is the best way IMHO.

When I went to the Ghan last year I explained to my 3 and 4 year old that Daddy was going to work in a "Special Hospital" because there were some bad people who wanted to hurt people and daddy's friends were going to stop them.

At those ages there is no concept of time. They live in the present, if you are gone for a while, you are gone.

GF
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Offline IN HOC SIGNO

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Re: Children and the CF
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2007, 20:51:45 »
Several here including CdnArty wife have it right. Your spouse's reaction is the key. If she is distraught, weeping always talking about how hard it is to cope without you then the 2 year old will mimic her feelings and actions. They have no concept of time but in order for her to remember you and keep you in her thoughts send her letters and talk to her on the phone.
When I went to Cyprus in 93 I set up a map on the wall in the kitchen at their height (they were 3 and 6) and my wife and they would locate where daddy was or where he talked about in letters (no email then) by putting pins on the map. As someone else mentioned we told them it was just like going to the field.

Kids need routine and disrupting that routine can upset them a lot. My wife did not come to the bus to see me off with the kids or meet me when I came home. I went to work as normal in the morning and kissed them all goodbye. We didn't have prolonged tears or sappy goodbyes and we didn't do that when I got home either. I came home and kissed them all hello and I fit back into their routine and didn't impose myself into what had worked very well while I was away. My three year old stuck pretty close to me for the first few days when I got home but he adjusted well after a while.

When I sailed on the ships we did the same thing and it all worked very well. They were teens by then and were very helpful with Mom when I was away and accepted it as our family lifestyle.


Offline riggermade

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Re: Children and the CF
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2007, 21:27:56 »
Here is my take for what it is worth....tell them that Daddy is away and show them their picture daily so they remember what they look like

I was a miitary brat and my father was away for 12 of my first 13 birthdays and I always knew that he would come home

When I went to Bosnia in '01 I had a 5 year old and a 1 year old....my wife always had a pic that the kids said goodnight to and when I came home on my HLTA my daughter knew who I was and it wasn't a big deal...a little harder on my son who was 5 as I took him everywhere with me but he adapted as kids do

Get on with it and keep a daily routine and they will adapt..
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Offline imahikergirl

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Re: Children and the CF
« Reply #23 on: April 09, 2007, 00:11:09 »
Wow this is taking me back a few years.  When my daughter was little she would colour daddy a picture and we would walk to the mailbox and mail it or find funny miss you cards and she would colour in those.  It became a daily ritual every time he went away.  I just made sure to print address labels and by lots of stamps.  That way he would get lots of mail and she would still feel that connection.  Good luck!

Offline RN PRN

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Re: Children and the CF
« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2007, 11:29:06 »
One night time rutine that we stuck to when I was away was, each night my kids would blow a kiss to the moon before they went to bed. I explained that where ever I was, I was looking up at the same moon and that moon would bounce the kiss back to me.

It helped them keep a connection.

As for the pics, in this world of Email, it is too easy to send updated pictures home. My oldest had one beside her bed and the younger moved her picture depending on how pissed off she was with my absence.
It started on her bedroom door, moved to the foot of her bed facing away from her, then under her bed, and finaly on the wall beside her head.

It took a crow bar to get her off my lap on my return.
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