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Parenting Tip of the Week - Reconnecting with Teenagers after Deployment

Source: Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP) Weekly eNewsletter

Approximately two million military children have experienced a parental deployment since 2001.  As deployments come to an end, service members are often excited about coming home and seeing their families. But after the initial celebrations pass, readjusting to family life and reconnecting with teenagers can be challenging. Although deployments can be difficult on teenagers – who are already undergoing many changes – you can make your homecoming easier by following a few simple guidelines:

Show your teenager that you care:

  • Acknowledge you were gone. Let your teenager know that you were sad to miss important events in his or her life. Look through pictures to share memories that happened while you were deployed.
  • Ask about their life. Ask questions about the events you missed – including school, sports, prom, and extracurricular activities – so you can catch up on the important events that happened while you were gone.

Spend quality time together:

  • Schedule family time. Set aside time each day to spend one-on-one with your teenager, even if it's only to quickly discuss his or her day.
  • Plan a family vacation. Whether it's a week at the beach or an overnight camping trip, a vacation can allow your family to reconnect in a relaxed setting.

Talk with your teenager about your deployment:

  • Initiate the conversation. Be proactive and start the conversation with your teenager. He or she probably has a number of questions and may be unsure how to ask them.
  • Emphasize the positive. Share positive stories with your teenager including examples of rebuilding a community, working with children, or keeping people safe.



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