Helping Daughter Cope with Her Uncle Going into the Military

Updated on May 01, 2008
T.S. asks from Holland Patent, NY
8 answers

I have 2 daughter's from a pervious marriage and my oldest just turned 10. She is my "drama queen" ( ha ha) I just ( actually the WHOLE family) just found out that her uncle, her father's youngest brother, just enlisted into the military. He did this on his own and told everyone about his descision AFTER he was sworn in and getting ready to be shipped out. I am not close to that side of the family anymore since our divorce, EXCEPT for him. I still look at him and see this "little kid" who will always be 13 in my eye's. After I had my oldest he watched her for me all the time, and she became very close to him. We have gone through the stage of "ignoring" her when he was going through his "girlfriend" stage, and I handled that one fairly well I think, but this is all new to me. She understands what is going on over sea's, and although that is not an issue yet, I'm afraid that her mind is going to start thinking that it is. He just enlisted so he still has to go through basic, but when he graduates from there, there is still that possibility of going over sea's. Like I said I am not close to that side of the family but to me it's still my little brother and my daughter's uncle, so any advice would be appreciated. Thank you and keep our soldier's and their families in your prayers!!!!!!

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So What Happened?

I started to receive advice from all of my "sister's" here on MammaSource. I want to say thank you for ALL of the great advice. I will be getting 2 maps ( one for each of my daughter's) to put in their rooms ( not only will be help them cope with the traveling he will be doing, but it is also a GREAT educational tool). This has just started so I really don't have an update yet, but I will tell you all how it goes. Again thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!!!!!!!

More Answers



answers from New York on

My baby brother just did the same thing. After graduating from college, he enlisted in the Marines so he could fly jets. I've found with my 7 year old son that it's best to keep him a certain extent. My brother writes, calls and visits regularly as possible while he's in training and we do ordinary stuff going to the Mets baseball game. My husband and I also sit down with my son and watch the military channel together. Most of the shows are educational and show the actual training my brother is going through. The shows we watch are about life in the military (endurance training, weapons, sleeping quarters, etc...nothing too violent). We're also going to Washington DC for my brother's graduation. He's still a huge part of my family, even though he's miles away...and this has helped my son a great deal.



answers from New York on

My cousin is in the military and when he was sent to Iraq my oldest was very concerned. We told her to pray about it and let God watch over him. You should be careful of the news you watch and what is said in front of her as much as possible. Kids will worry but you said it right when you said PRAY!!! He will be in our prayers!!! A.



answers from New York on

This is one of those things that your gonna have to deal with as it comes,

I suggest you get a map and show her where he will be living,
and put it on the wall and mark each place with a pin.

get his email address, and his postal address,

and program a EMAIL REMINDER to remind you to ask her to write a letter to him each month.

she can take pictures of herself, send him stuff like cookies, and flowers

set a budget of say 20 per month for her to spend on him in some nice way.

it will help her to have a idea of where he is,
sending gifts will make her feel better because she will feel like she is contributing to his care. and safety

and the constant regular communication will make her feel secure that he is OK. aswell as maintain their friendship.

And last its great for the uncle.

Hope this helps




answers from Binghamton on

I think Mary K.'s response hit the nail on the head. Everything I would have suggested.

If you are involved in a church, maybe you could have her add a prayer request for him so that during services he is prayed for by the whole church.

Good Luck! Hope things go well.



answers from Rochester on

I am not sure if there is any advice I can give you for this. My brother is in the military and had done three tours in Iraq. Even though he was in the army before my kids were born, it was still hard seeing him go- My kids do know their uncle, and they are all over him when he is home. My kids are young, so they don't know what really goes on over seas, but they do know that we need to pray a lot for uncle. We have 100% support here, with flags, and stickers for the house and cars... Our pediatrition told us before that with kids, you need to tell them the bsics, but don't offer any information to them that they don't ask about. Your family can write him all the time. The kids can make anything to send to him- even if he doesn't go overseas. We need to teach our kids how to support the troops. You're just going to have to let your daughter know that she can still keep in contact with him. While we are in the states and our troops are over seas, we really don't know everything that goes on over there. And for the better, it should stay that way for concerning families at home. My brother lost touch with a lot of his buddies from home because they never kept contact with him. So the only thing I can suggest from this babbling is to just keep as much contact with your daughter and her uncle as often as possible.



answers from New York on

Though your daughter is a little old for this, Sesame Street puts out a video about Elmo's dad being deployed. It shows him going and it shows him coming back, and things he did while he waited. I loved it, so your daughter may, too. It is free and can probably be found through Military One Source or through the family support person on base. Some military families fill a candy jar and the child eats one a day while the service member is gone. It is also fairly easy to keep in touch by video camera, etc. Good luck.



answers from Albany on

My husband was in Iraq in 2003-2004 and my brother-in-law just got back last month from a year in Afghanistan, so we have been through deployments in this family. Although our children are very young, I am sure that some of the same things apply. I know that there are many different videos and books out there to help understand a deployment and they may help your daughter feel more at ease with her uncle leaving. I am also sure that there are support systems in place at her school for children going with separations of every kind and I would make sure she has someone there to talk to who knows about her uncle's deployment in case she has some anxiety about it during a school day. Good luck and our prayers are always with the troops...we will add your brother-in-law to the list that we regularly pray for!!



answers from New York on

I understand how you feel....but if you are going to help your child cope with this, you yourself need to be strong as your children will pick up on your concerns, worryies and stress.

A family member going away for long periods of time is felt as a loss....having one going off to war is a horror....Life is full of hard adjustments.

Don't ignore it...

Try to bring comfort to your children. Listen to their feelings and share lots of hugs..

You might want to get a map to show them where he will be going. Answer their questions the best way you can.

Know if he signed up on his own it's something he really wanted to do...therefore, nothing for it but to be supportive of him now.

If he hasn't left yet, you might want to invite him over before he both you and the children a chance to say good bye to him....maybe the children can give him a little going away gift....draw him pictures or anything they can have some fun putting together for him.

Can you get an address so you and the children can write to him? Maybe he'll take the time to answer these letters...

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