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The Reality Of Belonging To A Military Family


Families can take any of several types of structures including extended, single parent, same sex and nuclear. Some families may even appear to straddle more than one category. Despite not dealing with the quantity or gender of the members of the household, the category of ‘military family’ deserves to be considered on its own for the implications it presents. These can be discussed in terms of the risk of death to the serving parent, the frequent need for relocation and the benefits provided by the government.

The risk of death to a parent who serves in the military is not always as high as one might assume. Not every soldier or sailor is involved in active duty. Some never face live combat at all and may be stationed far away from any danger levels that exceed that of a civilian. On the other hand, some service men and women are away from their families for months at a time while in combat. This can result in death or both physical and mental injury. Many members of the military return home with post traumatic stress disorder.

Many children of military parents or ‘army brats’ as they are sometimes known, find themselves living in several different countries before they reach adulthood. This can be an exciting experience at first because it means learning new languages and becoming familiar with new cultures but it can also pose a strain. It is very difficult to form lasting friendships when you are being put into a new school every two years or so. This can cause the child to become more adaptable but it can also lead to a sense of insecurity because nothing ever seems to stay the same.

One of the major drawing points for entering the military aside from a sense of patriotism is the access that it gives to certain benefits. Being in the military is a job and a stable one at that which can pay for your education and health-care as well as that of your family. Military families can also access other scholarship opportunities not directly from their employers. There have been cases where veteran’s benefits were received late however so this should also be considered.

The decision to join the military is a personal one but also one that should be discussed carefully with all family members because of the way it can impact every one of them.