by Jenny Rea, Ph.D.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th, fear has grown among many families in the uncertainty of a wider war between the U.S. and Russia. Could this possibly be the start of a third world war? Some individuals have openly wondered, “will American troops be deployed to help defend Ukraine and its people? ” President Biden has put this question to rest, indicating the U.S. has “no intention of fighting Russia .”
However, since the invasion began, roughly 14,000 U.S. troops have been deployed to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) ally countries, including Germany, Poland and Romania. President Biden has warned that the U.S. will “get involved ” if Mr. Putin makes any moves into these NATO countries.
The war between Russia and Ukraine has heightened the constant state of readiness for U.S. military families. Therefore, as service providers, it is important that we help military families by taking action now to help those who have already sent their Service member off on deployment, and assist those who face the possibility of deployment in the near future.
Below are a few suggestions and resources for helping military families prepare for deployment:
- As families prepare for deployment, it is important that they prioritize building and maintaining healthy relationships. Families can do this by engaging in quality communication – even during deployment.
- Even the thought of a potential deployment can bring about a lot of stress and uncertainty because it is a large life change.
- Using children’s literature to support successful transitions is one way to help military children prepare for and navigate through change.
- Providing support to children can also be as simple as talking to them (of course at a level that is age-appropriate) and offering comfort and reassurance.
- Prepare military families for deployment ahead of time by having readily available resources and a plan for the unexpected.
If the Service member is already deployed, intentionally listen to the needs of families that are on the Homefront. Mental Health America, a non-profit organization focused on mental health, offers tips for dealing with the stress related to having a loved one deployed.
- Individual or family counseling is another option for those who need additional support in the challenges of deployment.
- Military Kids Connect has a lot of great resources to help military kids during the deployment process, including videos of real military kids sharing their experiences with having a parent deploy.
- Military OneSource provides an extensive list of “deployment resources for families”, including a tool called “Plan my Deployment.” This how-to guide helps Service members and their families prepare for each phase of the deployment cycle.
And… Related Content
- Cooper, H. (2022, February 24). The Pentagon orders another 7,000 American troops to Europe.
- Deliso, M. (2022, February 24). Why Americans should care about the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
- Ellyatt, H. (2022, February 24). Russian forces invade Ukraine.
- Huddleston Jr, T. (2022, March 10). Will the Russia-Ukraine war lead to World War III? And 2 other big questions, explained.
- Packman, J., Paone, T., LeBeauf, I., Smaby, M. H., & Lepkowski, W. J. (Retrieved on 2022, March 14). When a parent gets deployed: Helping military families deal with stress.
- White House.Gov (2022, February 24). Remarks by President Biden on Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine.
- Wright, R. (2022, March 10). The growing fear of a wider war between Russia and the west.
This post was written by Jenny Rea, Ph.D., military spouse, and mom of four kiddos under five years. Jenny consults with OneOp’s Family Transitions team to provide free and open-access multidisciplinary professional development resources for providers serving military families. You may find more blogs, podcasts, and webinars from Family Transitions. We invite you to engage with Family Transitions on Twitter @OneOpFT and with OneOp on Facebook.