Military students move frequently, always a ‘new normal’

Military Student
courtesy of Sam McCartney
MILITARY STUDENT SAM McCartney spends time with her dad after he returns home from deployment. McCartney and her dad reconnected at an age when having parents around is always important..

Believe or not, the student sitting in the next desk could have attended six different schools in their short life. 

We live in a military town and it is somewhat ‘normal’ for children and teens to come and go due to their enlisted parents’ job responsibilities, military deployments and the inevitable new assignment “papers” that send families to various stations around the world.

However, what may seem like constant upheaval to some, has taught children with military affiliations how to quickly adapt to a new lifestyle.

“Moving here [Virginia Beach] from San Diego, CA, was very sad at first because I had to leave all of my friends, but also exciting because I got to meet new people,” junior Jayden Ousley said.

Ousley is not the first or the last military child that will move here or to another station in their 18 or so years of schooling. In fact, it is not unusual for military families to settle in a different environment every two or three years because of a parents’ new ‘orders’.

Normality and consistency are unusual for many military children as some families only stay in one place for as little as six months. Along with constant movement, some students struggle with parental deployments, some lasting as long as a year.

Parents end up missing important events and special occasions, such as holidays and birthdays with family because of long deployments. A study conducted by Psychiatric Effects of Military Deployments on Children and Families,  shows that these long term deployments cause students, elementary to high school, to struggle emotionally when parents are absent for long periods of time.

“Having a military parent who is away a lot is hard for me,” freshman Sam McCartney said.”My dad was never around for my birthdays or dance competitions. We could always use streaming devices or record the events so my dad could watch, but it just wasn’t the same as him actually being there.”


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