TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Youngest military kids said to feel strain

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Washington Post
Monday, July 22, 2013, 6:03 p.m.
 

WASHINGTON — At a time when the military has the highest number of parents among its active-duty service members and is engaged in the longest sustained military conflict in history, in Iraq and Afghanistan, research is showing that the strain on military families is being felt acutely by its youngest members, children younger than 6.

Little ones can exhibit the same anxiety, depression, stress and aggression that some older children and adults experience after living with multiple deployments, long separations and often tense and awkward reunions with parents returning from war, particularly when the parent has been physically or mentally traumatized.

A report released on Monday by Child Trends, a nonprofit research center, found that while children are resilient, war can take a steep and potentially long-lasting toll during a child's critical early years, when the brain is growing rapidly and children are developing a sense of trust in the world.

“We're concerned that children exposed to stressful events, particularly traumatic stressful events, will have difficulty learning to cope with emotions, to do well socially and academically, and even have problems with their physical health,” said David Murphey, Child Trends researcher and report author. “As these younger children grow up, we can expect there will be at least a subset of them that will face very substantial problems.”

Because little research attention has been given to young children, Murphey said, many parents don't understand why their children act out and often respond with anger, which serves to ratchet up family stress levels.

The report recommends educating parents and caregivers to better manage child behavior, providing greater mental health support for families and ensuring high-quality child care for military children.

Unlike during the Vietnam War, when only 15 percent of active-duty military were parents and most of them were men, today, almost half of all active-duty service members have children, and 14 percent of those are single parents.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. U.S., Cuba patching torn relations with historic accord
  2. Fracking essentially banned in N.Y.
  3. Study: At least 786 child abuse victims died despite being on protective services’ radar
  4. $1.5B more a year — from fees tacked onto phone bills — earmarked for faster Internet
  5. Lifting limits on Cuba a boon for U.S.
  6. Castle doctrine doesn’t hold up in Montana murder case
  7. Republican lawmakers vow to block confirmation of any potential ambassador to Cuba
  8. IRS freezes hiring, stops overtime pay, warns it won’t answer half of its calls amid 3% funding cut
  9. Use of U.S. steel to fix Alaska terminal causes rift with Canada
  10. Detectives crack LA art heist; 9 paintings recovered
  11. Conn. dentist’s license suspended over death
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.