The Distance Between Two Hearts: Veteran Parenting Training

By Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT

https://pixabay.com/en/love-family-heart-parent-826936/
Pixabay[Love by marcicism on June 26, 2015, cc0]
At the beginning of this year, we shared a blog about the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veteran Training Online Self-Help Portal. As we mentioned, in the past blog, this portal is accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere and showcases a variety of resources including apps, videos, and other tools through the use of different courses covering a range of topics. In this particular blog, we will turn our focus to the Veteran Parenting Course.

This course “provides parents with tools that strengthen parenting skills and helps them reconnect with their children”. There are 6 modules within the course that each includes an introduction, a summary, and topic-oriented sections with videos, interactive activities, and parenting tips. Below you will find the name of each of the modules along with words of wisdom shared at the beginning of each, a brief description of the topic, and the sections within the module.

  • Back into the Family
    “The biggest gap between you and your child may not be the physical distance. You can be right next to your child and still feel that you are a thousand miles away. It’s the distance between two hearts that counts”.
    This module focuses on the transition back to family life and includes Managing Your Expectations, Anticipating your Child’s Reactions, Reestablishing your Parental Role.
  • Promoting Positive Parent-Child Communication
    “Connecting with your child can be challenging regardless of how long you’ve been home. Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it”.
    This module highlights the importance of communication and includes Prepare for Positive Communication, Apply Communication Strategies, and Talk about Your Deployment and Military Service.
  • Helping Your Child with Difficult Emotions and Behaviors
    “Your child looks up to you. You are the North Star when they are lost. When they are in the dark, you are their light”.
    This module encourages parents to take “another point of view” by  looking at their child’s emotions and reactions through their child’s perspective rather than just their own.  It includes the Impact of Your Emotions, Manage your Own Emotions, Understand your Child’s Behavior, Help your Child Cope, and Getting Help.
  • Positive Approaches to Discipline
    “Discipline is a tool. Learn to use it effectively to help shape your child’s future”.
    This module emphasizes the importance of effective and appropriate discipline within the home. The module includes The Basis of Effective Discipline, What is a Positive Approach, and Effective Discipline Strategies.
  • Managing Stress and Emotions as a Parent 
    “Finding ways to navigate stormy parenting seas will help you and your family set the course for smooth sailing”.
    This module assists parents in managing their own feelings so that they are able to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their children. It includes  Managing your Emotions, Managing Parental Stress, Communicating your Feelings, and Dealing with Unhelpful Thoughts.
  • Parenting with Emotional and Physical Challenges
    “To the world you are one person, but to your child you are the world- no matter how you have changed.”
    This module provides a guide for parents who may be facing physical and/or emotional challenges that they see as barriers to their own parenting. It includes Before Getting Started, Patrick’s Story,  and Erin’s Story.

This course has been built to assist all parents in dealing with both everyday parenting challenges and those unique only to military families. Additionally, no registration is required and all participation is completely anonymous- no personal information is gathered.

For those participants who feel that they don’t have the time to complete all six modules or who feel that they need assistance in one area more than another, the modules are designed to where they can be accessed and utilized independently of one another. Check out this wonderful resource today!

This post was written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT, the Program Coordination for the MFLN Family Development Team. The MFLN Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development team on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.

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