29 answers

Help with a Sad Child

I am an Army wife, and sometimes that means my husband doesn't get to come home for weeks at a time. I deal with it the best I can, but I'm not sure my little girl knows whats going on. She is a big time daddys girl, when he gets home, the only thing she wants to do is be around him. He has left before and she seemed fine, but he left again a few days ago for thirty days and she has been acting alot different, she seems alot fussier and it seems like she is looking for him throughout the house at night, if that makes sense, she just wanders around and then comes to me crying. I let her hear his voice over the phone last night, and when we hung up she started crying, eventually crying herself to sleep. I'm wondering if anyone has been through this and knows a good way to handle it, or to help her to accept that he is gone but will be coming back. He leaves in August for Iraq and maybe by then she can accept it, she is just so young its hard to make her understand. Any advice would be great!!!

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I am a former Navy wife. We had 2 children going into the Navy & 2 more when we got out. My husband served on submarines, so he would be gone 3 months, home 3 months, and so on.

One thing that helped a great deal with our children was to video tape Dad reading books to them. They would get the book out that he was reading & follow along with him. He also recorded his voice on cassette tape and we could play it in the car while driving. If you know he's going to be gone say 30 days, you could buy 3 small gifts 'from daddy' and have her open 1 every 10 days. She's not to know there are other gifts or she'll want them NOW, LOL.

Some of our friends husbands served on the Nimitz. They knew how many days their husbands would be gone so they'd cut paper chain links for X amount of days. They would either, link them all together & remove one each day OR add one to each day & when he got home this chain would be decoration for him homecoming. On a submarine we couldn't do that, their missions were secretive (silent service and all) so we opted to add a chain and hide the links. That way if anyone came over, they wouldn't know if he was coming home in X amount of links or what. Also we didn't tell the children exactly when daddy was coming home since loose lips delay ships. So when I would pull that LAST link, we'd have a mini-celebration for it. That silent service thing was serious too. If we talked openly about their return date & word got back to command, they changed the return date & we didn't get the new date!

Anyway, I digress. Little gifts, pictures of him, reading stories on tape/video, making a paper chain link all helped with us. Another thing, if she likes to color, he could sit & color 'with her' on video as well. Then have him leave the picture he colored & when "he's done" you give it to her!

Being together with other military children will help too and the Mom's groups are helpful for you as well.

Best of luck to you & thank you to you & your husband for making this sacrifice for us!

1 mom found this helpful

I grew up in the military, so I know this must be hard on you. The last time my father left for a tour my younger sister was 2 and I was 12. To help combat the daddy blues he made a lot of tapes of him talking, singing songs and reading stories-this was almost 20 years ago so maybe a dvd would work better now lol. We would listen to them every night and sometimes during the day if she just really missed my dad. I also love the idea of a daddy blanket that someone else mentioned, I think thats great!

Something my sister thought at 2, and I dont know if this really helped but I think for her it did, is that our dad was always on a plane. When he left it was on a plane, so whenever she would see a plane she would say "Daddy! Japan!". Maybe if you could try and show your daughter something tangible about where her dad is it could help. Maybe buy a globe and point it out to her?

Big hugs to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful

I have two brothers in the military that have both served in Iraq and both have young children. My one brother who has a daughter that was 5 when he went to Iraq, she is very much a daddy's girl too. They took a picture of my brother and ironed it onto white fabric. The took the cut out the picture of him and a piece of pink camo fabric for the back and made a pillow that my niece could take everywhere and hang onto when she went to sleep. It really helped her have her "daddy doll" with her whenever she wanted to feel closer to him. Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi H.! I know it breaks your heart to see your baby cry. I bet if you really think about, you know she cries for the both of you. My husband worked out of town a lot as well. We have 3 kids, and he had worked this way all of their lives. (He was injured in an accident 16 mths. ago, allowing him to be home for this time.) My husband will be returning to work fairly soon, and this time we have purchased a web-cam. I know this will help all of us. The biggest thing is that it's okay for her to cry. This is her natural emotions and she has to know that it's okay to let them out. Let her help you make different things for Daddy-cake, cookies, pictures. Another thing may be is to make a Daddy calender-take a picture of Daddy, laminate it and move it every day until Daddy comes home. Even little ones can understand this one. Reassure her that Daddy is away working for her & you and that's what Daddies do. That he is taking care of you and lots of others and that he has a very special job to do. Maybe you can make a little book about Daddy's job and read it every day. Pray about it, God will give you the right plan of action. Also, don't forget to let your man know how much you really love him, and appreciate him working so hard for you. He feels it all too, and doesn't want to be away. He's doing what he's gotta do, and knowing that you support him even though you may not like it that he's away, will help him be a better man, father, husband. Don't forget to keep those home fires burning! Be Blessed! :)

1 mom found this helpful

My husband is in the Marines and this is also our first child so I understand. He will be deploying again when he's a little over a year. I plan on getting a daddy doll for him. You take a picture and send it in with the doll and they send it back to you with his picture on it and she can carry it around everywhere. Another thing I plan on doing is going to Build-A-Bear and having my husband do a recording there. They put the recording in and everytime he squeezes it, he will hear daddy's voice. I know there are some programs for when the guys are deployed that will record your husband reading a bedtime story and then you girls could watch that every night before she goes to sleep. One of my gf's also put a picture of her daughter's dad right above her crib and every night they told daddy night night. Also, keep pictures of him up in the house and let her see him whenever she wants. Even though my son is only 9 mo, he definitely knows when my husband is gone. He looks for him too and when he comes home, he doesn't let him out of his sight. When my husband went to move the car, our son ran after him yelling DaDa! One thing that I think helps him is keeping the phone on speaker when dad calls and I show him videos and pictures of him on the computer a lot. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Of everything I did (overscheduling the kids to keep them busy, getting a webcam so they could talk to their dad in person) what helped my kids overcome their dad's last 15 month deployment was to make a "daddy blanket". I took pictures of each child with their dad and incorporated them into a 4x4 quilt. It gave my daughter who was 6 at the time of the deployment something to hold onto...as if daddy was giving her a hug. She used to carry that thing everywhere and still sleeps with it every night. She was still sad at times, and would start to cry for no reason except that she missed her dad.
If you check with your FRG, they may know a local quilt guild that will make those.

1 mom found this helpful

Dearest H.
My Heart goes out to all three of you and Ill be saying a prayer of Protection for your Hubby.
I am a Canadian and used to live close to an Air farce base most of my life .
I know that you dont relize this but even at your daughters young age every time your hubby goes out that door for yet another training trip . He Leaves her feeling reject and abondond.
And it sounds like she is picking up the changes in your spirit as well as his about his eventual Destination.
H. just dont close down any part of your heart to her. The only thing thats really gonna stop those tears or the tears of maney homes ripped apart bye that war is your hubbies safe resturn.
But for now when my daughters are feeling down a bubble bath works or making them feel loved acepted wanted and jusat plan pritty.
We as adults dont mean to do this but when there is uncertainty about our Futures wich there is because your sweety is headed into the thick of the battel we have a tendancy to shut down a part of our hearts or a part of our selves just to servive what may be comming and I think you and hubby may be both doing that
I know she is your Princess just continue to let her be that in your heart and take care of you and take time out for the same things like bubble bath
if you can lay your hands on a bible get it read and pray Psalm 91 over Hubby
It was King Davids prayer of protection and Maybve evcen read it to your daughter.
Please Keep me Posted on the two of you threw here Ok
Im Praying for you and the peace that Passes all understanding for you both

I know what you are going through. My husband left in November and our oldest(3 years old) can't understand why he's gone and when he will be back. I always let him talk to him when he calls, I have pictures of them in his room at his eye level and he has a large calendar that he marks off days until his daddy comes home. We also have a video of my husband reading stories to our sons. We also drive by the long term parking lot to look at my husbands vehicles, which my son loves to see. He actually asks to see them when we are out. I guess seeing his cars makes him believe that his daddy will be home soon and he said that he can't wait to ride with his daddy when he comes home. We also talk about what kind of weather it will be when daddy comes home(the temp and what kind of clothes we will be wearing), and talk about what we will be doing when daddy gets back(trips,activities, etc.) These things seem to help my son, but he still is a little sad at times. I know he really misses him, but I try to keep him busy with friends also. I wish you all the best and I know you will find what works best for your daughter. Take care.

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