Service members and their families experience life much differently than their non-military counterparts. Family separation, frequent moves, and service-related physical and mental health challenges are just some of the factors that put children of military families at higher risk for exposure to domestic violence, substance abuse, bullying, and other circumstances that increase the risk for emotional and behavioral issues.
At Harmony Hills, we recognize the importance of providing essential care for military service members, both current and veterans, and their families. Many military family members exhibit a high resilience rate in adjusting to the demands of this lifestyle. However, many others struggle to cope with the effects of inter-partner violence, substance use disorders, PTSD, and more. Trauma treatment for military families is crucial for identifying and treating these effects. Reach out to Harmony Hills today at 855.494.0357 to learn how we can help your family heal.
The Importance of Trauma Treatment for Military Children
Trauma involves any event that threatens a person’s sense of security. What constitutes trauma and its impacts are highly individualized. Multiple people may share a common experience that can impact some immediately, have a delayed response for others, and not impact others at all. This phenomenon is part of what makes trauma so misunderstood. Individuals with a delayed or no response can find it hard to understand why others are impacted so significantly.
The varied impacts of trauma on military children and families contribute to the stigma of seeking treatment. Servicemen and women are trained to exhibit superior strength and resiliency, both physically and mentally. Therefore, acknowledging any mental health issues has historically been widely viewed as a sign of weakness. Thankfully, today we recognize the importance of mental health and are trying to eliminate the barriers to treatment.
Military children who experience trauma and do not receive treatment are at higher risk for:
- Poor academic performance
- Drug and alcohol use
- Criminal behavior and legal problems
- Self-harm or self-injurious behaviors
- Risk-taking behavior
- Bullying (both as perpetrator and victim)
- Suicidal ideation
Often, family members overlook these behaviors as typical teen angst or a temporary phase. However, untreated trauma will worsen over time and can have long-term impacts, and one family member’s trauma symptoms impact the entire family unit. Recognizing and addressing trauma is essential to a family’s overall well-being.
Understanding Trauma in Children of Military Families
Trauma can be defined as anything that happens to you over which you have no control and can impact anyone at any time. Most people understand that a specific big event, such as the death of a parent, can cause trauma. Fewer people know that a succession of smaller events can also cause trauma.
For example, if a parent occasionally yells at a child, they might be frightened but not traumatized, especially if they know why the parent yelled at them. However, if a child is constantly yelled at, no matter what they do, they can become traumatized.
Overall, children of military families experience more trauma than their non-military family peers. They also have many experiences unique to their circumstances that those outside the military may not understand. Examples of trauma in children of military families can include:
- Indirect exposure to the violence of war through its impacts on parents or other military families
- Persistent exposure to weapons or other war preparations
- Direct exposure to war when deployed to a warzone
- Exposure to the symptoms of an active duty or veteran parent’s PTSD
- Domestic violence
- Multiple moves
- Parental absence because of deployment
- Pressure to conform to the military lifestyle
- Combat-related injury or death of a parent
How children exhibit trauma symptoms depends on factors including the child’s personality, level of support, the extent of trauma, and age. Teenagers’ symptoms resemble adult symptoms more closely, while younger children often exhibit regressive behaviors.
Contact Harmony Hills for Trauma Treatment for Military Children
The importance of trauma treatment for military service members and their families cannot be understated. Harmony Hills is committed to providing the highest quality care for those in need. Contact us at 855.494.0357 to learn more about how we can help you and your family. You can also fill out our online form and let us get back to you.