I get a lot of questions about relationships and having a family while serving in the military or in Special Operations. It IS possible to maintain a healthy relationship with you children while you are serving in the military. BUT it is going to take A LOT of work. Here are a few tips for parenting while in Special Operations:
When you are gone to schools, work-ups, or deployed, it is going to require EFFORT to stay connected. Now, more than ever we have connection at our fingertips. Send a birthday gift in advance, WATCH them open it! Facetime, Skype, Call, Check-in. Leave notes and letters. You are going to have A LOT of other things on your mind, but so do they. Keep the communication going.
When you leave, your partner will likely take over the roll of discipling your children. When you are back, you need to participate in that endeavor. Discipling your children may be the LAST thing you feel like doing when you come home from a 9 month deployment, but it is imperative. Boundaries make children feel safe and protected. If you want to maintain a healthy happy connection with them, they need to know you love them, and that means discipline.
3. MAKE IT COUNT
Quality time is not as hard as you think. I am constantly reminding myself, "PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE, PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT THEY ARE SAYING." You are NOT going to get a chance to go back and make-up for what you missed out on. BUT when you are home, invest in activities with your children. When you are feeling worn-out, stressed out and ready to put your feet up. DON'T. The last bit of your time before you fall asleep belongs to your children. You want a relationship with them? You are going to have to work at it.
Your children might not understand the sacrifices you are making. But someday, they might. And I want you to know that I see your sacrifice and I am eternally grateful. Thank you for your service.