Quick Hitter - Helping Kids Cope with Deployments

Media: Elizabeth Cabibi answers a tough question from an anonymous male military spouse on Helping Kids Cope with Deployments –

Quick Hitter - Helping Kids Cope with Deployments

image for Quick Hitter - Helping Kids Cope with Deployments

Image: – Elizabeth Cabibi answers a tough question from an anonymous male military spouse on Helping Kids Cope with Deployments – Macho Spouse


In this "Quick Hitter" video on Helping Kids Cope with Deployments, we have a tough question from an anonymous male military spouse that Elizabeth Cabibi, M.S.,LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) answers.

"What is the best thing to do for a child that won't calm down from missing the parent that is deployed? I tried cuddling him and just being there but didn't really seem to help."

Helping Kids Cope with Deployments
Elizabeth Cabibi, MSLMFT
Collaborative Family Counseling
Navy Spouse/Hawaii

From Elizabeth:

There are many things we can do to assist a child that is coping with the absence of a parent.

Hopefully, a ritual can be setup before the parent is deployed or has to be absent from the home for a long period of time, that helps the child feel safe and comfortable. For instance, a nightly ritual of the parent telling them a bedtime story. So, a video can be made of the parent telling them that story.

But often times, we don't have the luxury of having a length of time to develop these rituals. In that case, objects are very helpful. For instance, a teddy bear, a pillow with a picture of the parent on it or a blanket. These kids of things can be something that the child can hold on to when they're feeling upset about the parent being gone.

It is also important to validate that child's feelings and express your own feelings in those moments. "I understand that you're sad that mommy (or daddy) is not here. I'm sad and I miss them, too." Give them an opportunity to talk about it if they want to or just to express themselves. It's going to take time.


Question: "What can I do to calm my 2-year-old who is missing mom while she is deployed? I tried cuddling him ad just being there, but that didn't really help." - Anonymous

  • Establish a ritual - Please don't sacrifice and chickens or pigs. This is NOT religious in nature. Instead, read bedtime stories...or better yet, video your wife reading the bedtime story.
  • No video? No problem. Use an object of some sort, but not just any old object...a stuffed animal would be cool or pillow or a blanket...an object that has some sort of meaning for your child.
  • Validate your child's feelings while sharing your own feelings.
  • Be patient.


For more questions on this subject visit the Collaborative Family Counseling website. If you are in need of more in-depth marital/family counseling, contact Elizabeth Cabibi, MSLMFT at (808) 685-2425.

"Quick Hitters" are short, to the point, videos that address a singular topic and/or question.  Elizabeth Cabibi, owner of Collaborative Family Counseling, donates her time and knowledge through Skype and is available to all spouses via the same technology.

See also...

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Real Food for Real Men

Wings.jpgFellow male miltary spouse, Billy McFarland, started a new Facebook page about healthy eating and healthy living for men.  According to Billy, he started this while stuck at home during his wife's time in the field, deployments and training.  He plans to cover everything from what to eat and how to cook.


A note from Billy:

So why do I care? Many people close to me know that I have lost a lot of weight in the last 3 years. I have more energy than I did at 18 and more importantly, I can keep up with my kids. 

image for 30 Ways of Thanks Day #11

30 Ways of Thanks Day #11

30Still.jpgHow about an ice cold beer...or soda?  Buying a military family member a drink is another great way to show your support and gratitude!


November is Military Families Appreciation Month, and the 2014 Armed Forces Insurance Branch Spouses of the Year (Branch SOYs) want to help everyone, everywhere participate in thanking and honoring military families.

Americans love our military, but many people don't quite know how best to express their gratitude. As National Guard Spouse of the Year Dr. Ingrid Herrera-Yee notes, “saying "thanks" to our military families is something that many want to do, but are at a loss as to how to do it –or in the case of Guard and Reserve, how to find us!”

So the Branch SOYs created #30Ways of Thanks to help. Each day in November, the Branch SOYs will release a video with an action item that people around the country can participate in virtually or locally, individually or in groups. Participants can hash tag #30Ways so that their messages, photos, or videos are spread far and wide. Hash tags #GratefulNation and #MilFamsRock can also be added as a short-hand way to say “You are amazing, military families!” Best of all, the entire #30Ways video collection will be stored on the Branch SOYs' YouTube channel so that it can be repeated in Novembers to come, or whenever someone is looking for a way to say “thank you” to military families.



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