In this three-part series, we will be taking a deeper look into the stressors of military life, how they
impact kids, and strategies to help children cope and heal. To read Part I, about deployments, click here.
To read part II, regarding frequent moves, click here.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Stress Health an initiative of the Center for Youth Wellness, to spread the message about the important issue of toxic stress in children. However, opinions expressed are my own.

Image provided by Stress Health

It’s no surprise that divorce rates are higher in the United States military than any other profession. This
lifestyle puts an insane amount of pressure, stress, and distance onto marriages – all of which can affect
home life. In a study of professions with the highest divorce rates, several military professions headed
the list.

An analysis of U.S. Census Data from the career website Zippia found that people in the military were
the most likely to get divorced, according to Marketwatch.com (Paul, 2018). In terms of the census
data, Marketwatch reported that military jobs occupied three of the top 10 spots in its divorce listing. In
addition, “across all fields, military workers of all ranks were most likely to be divorced by age 30, at a
rate of 15%.” Military.com shows how those numbers translate into everyday life: In the fiscal year
2017, 21,290 of 689,060 married troops divorced (Bushatz, 2018).

These rates are alarming are to read about and may warrant an article on preserving military marriages.
But if a divorce is already underway, what’s important is how to assist children (and yourself) as it plays
out.

Divorce can be traumatic for children. Depending on the age as well as other factors, it can also present
behavioral, developmental, and relationship challenges. Below are some ways that you can you’re your
children cope with divorce.

1. Avoid the blame game. Never bad-mouth the other parent in front of your children. This type of
behavior puts kids in a tough spot between two parents. Save adult conversations for your
therapist or your friends, but never vent to your children about their other parent.

2. Explain what the new normal will be when it comes to your family. Predictability and routine is
key for each stage of development in children. Take time to explain to them what your new
normal will be and what they can expect.

3. Reassure your child. Give your children reassurance that the divorce is not their fault.
Acknowledge their feelings and allow them time for processing. Comfort them if they express
fear, anger and grief. Let them know that your love for them has not changed and will not.
Below are a few more strategies to help children with their emotions.

4. Seek professional help for yourself and your children. Divorce is hard on everyone and can take
a toll on your emotions. Be sure to seek help if it all becomes too much to bear. You cannot be
there for your children if you are falling apart yourself. A few great resources for service members and families seeking counseling help are; Military One Source, and Cohen Veterans Network.

Below are a few more strategies to help children with their emotions.

For more tips to help military children cope with divorce, click here. If you would like more information on toxic stress and ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), visit Stress Health. As the website explains, you can help build resilience in your children by making sure they have good sleep, exercise, nutrition, and healthy relationships.

It is never too late to learn more about stress factors that can affect your child’s health in the long-term. Divorce is just one of many stress-inducing situations in military life, but with appropriate support, children will persevere.

© Strength 4 Spouses LLC, 2018.

References

Bushatz, A. (2018, March 21). Military.com. Troop Divorce Rate Unchanged; Marriage Rate
Continues Fall. Retrieved from
https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/03/21/troop-divorce-rate-unchanged-marriage-rate-continues-fall.html

Paul, Kari. (2018, February 25). MarketWatch.com. Americans in this Field Have the Highest Rate of
Divorce by Age 30. Retrieved from https://www.marketwatch.com/story/employees-in-this-field-have-the-highest-rate-of-divorce-2017-07-13 

Wendi Iacobello has been an Army wife for three years and part of military life for five years. She has spent the last nine years as an adult educator, has a Master of Arts in Educational Media, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. Her teaching career includes; Middle and High School Special Education, Correctional Education, and Community College Instruction in Early Childhood Education, Compensatory Ed, as well as Adult Basic Education. Currently, she is a blogger, freelance writer, instructional designer, and avid volunteer. In her free time, you can usually find her volunteering at USO’s story time, outdoors in the garden, running, cooking up a new recipe, or playing fetch with her adorable Beagle, Daizi. Wendi is extremely passionate about helping others find their inner strength by sharing her experiences, insight, resources, and inspirational stories on her blog Strength4Spouses.                                                                                                                              

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