Is Anyone Out There? Support System Obstacles Faced by Single Parents in the Military

By: Jason M. Jowers, MS

young boy blowing bubbles
Pexels[Boy Blowing Bubbles by leeroy on April 28, 2015, CC0]
Family stress can be at an all-time high within military families during times of deployment. This is even more so true for single-parent military families. The REACH Center at the University of Minnesota conducts research that can help us to better identify and address key issues that impact military service members and their families. A research study they conducted in 2015 found that single parents in the military experienced higher stress levels during times of deployment, had lower levels of social support, and had a harder time reintegrating with their families and children post-deployment [1].

So what can single parents in the military do when they are called up for deployment? Who do they reach out to as caregivers for their children while they are gone? Military One Source has a quick read article on ways to plan and organize to prepare before, during, and after deployment [2]. These tips include: choosing caregivers, arranging finances, keeping routines, and talking to kids about the changes. Deployments are tough on single parent households but are doable with a plan and careful consideration.

For more info on both the emotional and financial toll that single parenting can have on military families, tune into to this archived webinar, “Separation & Single Parenting in the Military” from our Family Finances Series. This series was a collaboration between the MFLN Personal Finance team and MFLN Family Development and provides CEUs for financial professionals as well as social workers and therapists.

To hear personal experiences of single parents who are also active duty military personnel, take a listen to our Anchored podcast episode, “Double Duties: Exploring Single Parenthood in the Military.” CEUs are still available for those who are interested.

References

[1] Vaughn-Coaxum, R., Smith, B. N., Iverson, K. M., & Vogt, D. (2015). Family stressors and postdeployment mental health in single versus partnered parents deployed in support of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq Psychological Services, 12(3), 241-249. doi:10.1037/ser0000026 Retrieved from: https://reachfamilies.umn.edu/sites/default/files/rdoc/Vaughn-Coaxum_2015.pdf

Military OneSource (2018). Leaving Your Children with a Caregiver during Deployment. Retrieved from: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/military-life-cycle/deployment/during-deployment/leaving-your-children-with-a-caregiver-during-deployment

This post was written by members of the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Learn more about our team at https://militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org/family-development, and connect with us on Facebook, and on Twitter.  Subscribe to our Anchored. podcast series on iTunes and via our podcast page.

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