April is “Month of the Military Child” (MOMC) and this year’s theme is “Military Children and Youth: Standing Strong and Proud.” Also known as Military Child Awareness Month, MOMC is a holiday to commemorate the family of military members and veterans and their important impact and sacrifices. In addition, there is an emphasis on the experience of the dependent children of military members serving at home and overseas.
Celebrated since 1986, there have been an increasing number of awareness campaigns aimed at recognizing the needs of military children in all areas from coping with the deployment of parents to war zones to the education of military dependents at on-base Department of Defense Dependent School System (DoDDS) campuses around the globe.2
Today we will be discussing the importance of recognizing these children and their sacrifices, sharing personal stories by children of the military, learning ways to celebrate the holiday, and discussing what resources are available and where to find them.
Meet Jeremiah, a Proud Military Child
Howdy, y'all my name is Jeremiah. I'm a senior in high school in Hawaii where my family is currently stationed. My dad is currently still active but he is retiring this year. Woop Woop!
I was born in Germany and I’ve also lived in Washington, California, Vermont, and Texas. Texas was the longest place we lived and is where I consider home.What are some benefits to being a military child?
Being part of a military family has its benefits like being able to live in places most people can only dream about. I know you're probably thinking to yourself how awesome it would be to live in a place like Hawaii. Well, it's like a double-edged blade. Yes, you get to go see new places and live there but you also leave the life you got comfortable with.What are some misconceptions about being a military child?
What some people don't understand about being a military kid is that a lot of us have a hard time making and keeping friends, at least it is for me, but every family and person is different.What makes you proudest about being a military child?
I would not say I am proud to be a military child but I am honored to be part of a close group of people who share similar life experiences and the friendships I have made are for life. My best friends may be states apart but they are my boys for life.
Yes, military kids are among the most resilient people but it is by no means easy. Each time my family moves I have to adapt to where we moved which sucks especially in high school. It's not easy but you get used to it after a while because what other choice do you have? Fake it till you make it.What are your biggest challenges being a military child?
A challenge we face is when our parents get deployed because they leave you and as we get older we understand the real fear of them not coming home. My family has been lucky because my dad hasn’t deployed as much as some of my friend's parents but we all share similar fears and loneliness during our parent's absence.Would you like to join the military?
I am proud of my dad and others that have served but I personally wouldn't serve unless I absolutely needed to. Hopefully, it never comes to that. That is one of the reasons I look up to my dad. He is constantly working hard and seeing the sacrifices he has made to help my family and that inspires me to work harder as well.
Meet Maleah, Jeremiah’s Sister
My name is Maleah. I’m 13 years old and the proud daughter of parents who served in the United States Army. Although both my parents were in the military, my mom was out before I was born but my dad has been in the military my whole life.
I’ve lived in Washington state, Vermont, Texas, and Hawaii. I enjoy music and video games as well as sleep.What makes you proudest of being a military child?
To answer this question, I would have to say many things but I’ll only state a few. One of the many things happens to be moving. Yes, moving is hard even for me but in Hawaii I learned that some people haven’t moved at all. I’m proud I have the opportunity to move and meet new people, it helps me gain something I need to get better at, social skills.What are some challenges of being a military child?
People don’t really understand when you say it's hard to be a military child (Sometimes not all.) Such as deployments, I remember when I was younger, I would cry a lot whenever my dad was deployed. Another thing is moving, while I’m grateful for it sometimes it can be hard. I moved in May, and I made a good friend. I have trouble making friends even though I’ve been to so many places. Whenever you make a friend either you move or they do, or at least that’s how it’s been for me. Of course, it’s different for everybody.Do you think being a military child is hard? Why or why not?
Depends on the person. In my case it's yes and no. There are parts that are easy but of course parts that are challenging. It’s like living through my eyes. What I mean by that is in life there are always going to be the easy parts but it's never always fun unless there are some hard parts too, right?
If everything was always easy it would be boring. People don’t understand what it's like unless they experienced it, that’s what it is and always will be. My classmates don’t understand (only a few,). They say it’s easy and to just suck it up, but not all people are like that.
They’ve never been a military child, so I don’t blame them, in fact I never did it in middle school. So, to answer this question simply, yes it can be difficult being a military child. Not only am I dealing with everyday middle school and teen issues I also have the added challenges that come with being a part of a military family.How are your parents an inspiration to you?
They inspire me by so many things but if I said it all it would be a long list of pages. One being how hard they have worked and how hard they work now! They worked to the point where their body’s hurt, especially my dad. They went to wars, they’ve trained, they’ve done so much and I’m proud of them for it.
On top of that they still want to do more to help us! When I’m older I’ll get an amazing paying job so that I can pay them back for everything they’ve done for me and my siblings. They’ve taught me that no matter how hard things get to never give up. They’ve taught me lessons. I will never forget what they have done for me so I’ll do my best for them even though I may give them attitude I’ll always try my best.Would you like to join the military?
While it’s cool to serve the country and save people it's not my thing. It’s not that I don’t want to join or maybe a little bit but it's mostly because I’m afraid of what’ll happen if I do. I’m not the fighter type, I'm more of the “Stay out of the way” type.
I’m scared of getting hurt and hurting others. Most of the reasons people fight in wars is from either being told to or from just wanting to help serve. Another reason is I don’t want to destroy my body in the process of serving.
My dad goes to the doctor for different reasons. Mostly back problems for both of my parents. Most importantly, I would never want to leave my family like my parents have had to with the fear of never seeing them again. I would not want my own children to feel worried or scared because I might not come home.
So, in conclusion, do I like being a military child? If you don’t count the bad things, yeah pretty much. While you can’t just get rid of the bad you have to make room and adapt and grow with them kind of like siblings. You grow with them, you argue with them, you love them, you hate them. It is what it is. In the future, I’ll say how proud I was to be in a military family and won't ever forget the moments of being one.Military Child Support
To start your search for resources, first go through military institutions like the base Public Affairs office, Military Family Readiness Centers, Department of Defense Dependent School admin offices, and even on-base Child Development Centers. You can also visit Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Centers at military installations. Some common resources to children of the military are the following:7
- Military Kids Connect - Online community that provides access to age-appropriate resources to support military children ages 6-17 who are dealing with the unique psychological challenges of military life.
- Thrive online program for parents - Courses on positive parenting practices with tips for parent and child stress management and physical health promotion for children ages 0 to 18.
- Expanded hourly child care for military families - Through Military OneSource, military families can access a nationally recognized caregiver database to search for hourly, flexible, and on-demand child care.
- EFMP & Me - Available through Military OneSource, the EFMP & Me online tool provides 24/7 access to resources for families with special needs and the providers and leaders who support them.
Other resources include school liaisons, teen adventure Camps, Operation Purple® Camp, the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library, Youth employment and career preparation, and non-medical counseling, among others. If you have questions about where to find resources or information, start by researching government-affiliated agencies, especially those in the Department of Defense.
At our drug and alcohol treatment centers, we know the challenges and struggles of veterans, active-duty members, and their families in the Armed Forces. This is why Military & Veterans in Recovery (MVIR) was created. MVIR utilizes special treatment for clients to get help for their substance-abuse addictions and/or their mental health issues. We provide services such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), group therapy, and other premier treatment routes to fully recover from addiction and mental health issues. We also have services for their families and loved ones such as family counseling and support and family resource guides.
If you are a veteran or active duty military member suffering from addiction or mental health, or if you know someone who is, contact Banyan Treatment Center today at (888) 221-6830 or visit our Veterans in Recovery page to learn more about our services and nationwide facilities.
- Month of the Military Child | Resource Toolkit
- Military Benefits- Month of the Military Child 2022
- Military One Source- 2021 Month of the Military Child Toolkit
- AASA- Fact Sheet on the Military Child
- Dodea- Month of the Military Child: April | DoDEA
- Army MWR- Month of the Military Child (MOMC)
- MOMC Fact Sheet
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Depression in the Military