Military families and children represent a heterogeneous population and live in geographically diverse settings: on military installations, in civilian urban and suburban communities, and in rural areas across the country. While military families are generally robust and resilient, the stress of war (combat deployments, combat injury, illness or death) challenges the healthiest of families, be they active duty, National Guard or reserve.
Combat injury is a life-changing event that impacts the service member, his or her children, as well as other family members and loved ones. Parental injury disrupts a family’s routines, cohesion and sense of safety. Existing patterns of parenting undergo change as both injured and uninjured parent cope with complex emotions and the complicated reality of medical treatment and rehabilitation. Children are particularly vulnerable and often adults do not know how to speak to them about the injury, or how much and what kind of information to share.