Putting the Structure Into Place To Help Military Kids Thrive

By | September 24, 2022

[September 24, 2022]  The life of military kids can be an exciting and varied one, but it also has the potential to be unhappy. According to public media advocates The American Homefront Project, research has shown that the frequent moves that military teens are subjected to can develop isolation and harm their mental health. It’s a fairly common tale; a new home every few months or years creates difficulties in creating long-term friends, which encourages military kids to become introverted and rely on themselves. While this is perhaps a necessary factor in raising a military family, these factors can, in fact, be a positive, and can be turned into a strength rather than a source of low self confidence.

Embracing the introvert

Earlier in 2022, the US Army produced a profile on one former military kid in honor of National Military Brats Day. An interesting thing was highlighted – that many military kids have a much broader world view than others, with a depth of culture and life experience above that of their peers. Conversely, the constant moves can create a sense of self-reliance that leads many to become introverts. This, too, is not necessarily a bad thing. Introverts may not have the social outlook and confidence of others, but they can flourish in their own company; introverts are set up to excel in higher education settings, for example, according to research. Accordingly, the life of a military kid isn’t intrinsically bad – but developing structure can help to ensure each move is a happy one.

Putting in structure

The internet has provided a fantastic structure to help preserve and promote connections that kids have made in previous postings. As the Military One Source website highlights, services like Military Kids Connect can help to maintain contact in a way like never before. Whereas you’d need to settle down and start ringing and sending letters, Military Kids Connect creates a non-stop source of connection between kids and their friends on previous bases. Just ensure that this is well moderated; as with all walks of life, the internet can be a risky place for kids.

Providing an outlet

Changing base can mean a huge change in scenery, food, and even recreational activity. This can be damaging to kids who have developed hobbies and talents, and started to make that part of their personality. In April, the Associated Press highlighted a fantastic art show, hosted by Jill Biden, in which art from military kids was showcased to the world. This nods to another important bit of continuity you can offer military kids. Provide continued support for their hobbies, offer them a real outlet and your full support, and they’ll have another piece of solidity to use as a foundation to flourish.

It’s not possible to give physical and geographical stability to military kids – but you can provide stability in every other area of their life. This is invaluable for their mental and physical health, and something every good military parent will model.


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Author: Karoline Gore

Karoline spent 10 years working in social care before taking time out to start a family. She has since rediscovered her teenage love of writing and enjoys contributing to a range of online and print publications.

12 thoughts on “Putting the Structure Into Place To Help Military Kids Thrive

  1. Rev. Michael Cain

    Military installations have a lot more for kids to do than in the past. Today, there are many resources that are kid-friendly.

    1. Tracey Brockman

      True enough but kids need to be told and shown what these are. Pools, gaming areas, movies, etc. Take them there and show them what they can do and find more friends. Also, the military offers programs outside the military base that families can take advantage of. MWR facilities, for example, have grown in popularity.

  2. Audrey

    Be strong, be resilient, be the person in the room who can be depended upon. That is what military children are like because they have had to endure more adversity than their peers.

  3. Pumpkin Spice

    Karoline, thank you for your article on military kids. Goes to show us that we need to not assume the “kids” will all okay with a move about the country or world. Pay attention to them and provide them with any help available. As they age, they will get better at it. I know, I was an army brat (but that’s not what we were called … ha ha ha).

  4. Darryl Satterly

    Moving about the country when I as a child made me mad but also made me strong and resilient to change. That’s what my mom and dad made clear to me and that I had an advantage over the other kids. Today I’m a lawyer and I travel anywhere to help clients. And, I take my family with me on the trip. Everyone is better for it.

    1. Dead Pool Guy

      Good point and the one Karoline is making. Some kids, I think, need just a little help and that is something not to overlook.

      1. Eye Cat

        In the past, it was the family and surrounding families that provided what was needed. The US military decided now to step in and help. I’m not so sure this is a good thing or not. It is, IMHO, important that families be pushed to help because that, in itself, builds more camaraderie among families and children. Just a little thinking on my part.

      2. Lynn Pitts

        Most don’t need psychological help, but just a gentle reminder that no one is leaving them behind. They are part of a stronger family group and many out there will come to their aide if they are in need.


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