Military Family Friday: Positive Relationships with Kids + Reserves is More Than One Weekend Per Month

Photo credit: Catherine Lechner/Getty Images

Photo credit: Catherine Lechner/Getty Images

Taking the time and effort to prepare yourself and your children for the upcoming separation will be a challenge; there’s no question that we’re talking about one of the most stressful times of your lives. But as hard as it is, it can help you grow as a family.
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Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Reserves and the National Guard are a great way for those who would like to serve in the military, but aren’t ready for full time enlistment. Some of your Reserve training will transfer directly to your civilian career and will make you a more valuable employee. The education benefits, which may include partial reimbursement for tuition and fees, can help you advance in your civilian career. And, of course, the extra pay helps with the household budget. Everything seems to make perfect sense. But, is there a catch?
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Water Safety:

water safety

water safetyDear Mr. Dad: My 4-year old twins are crazy about swimming or floating or doing pretty much anything in and around water. On one hand, I’m thrilled. I swam in high-school and college and I’m looking forward to having them follow in my footsteps. On the other, I’m scared. I’m a stay-at-home mom and there is no way I can keep an eye on them every second. How do we make our house water safe?

A: You’re absolutely right to be scared. Keeping an eye on one child is hard enough. The fact that they outnumber you and can head off in different directions makes your situation especially challenging.

Being in the water, whether we’re swimming, wading, or just splashing around can be wonderful fun, especially for little kids. But those same activities—and anything else you could possibly do around water—can be extremely dangerous. Every year, about 375 children under 15 drown each year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). About 280 are under five, and 95 percent of those deaths happen in swimming pools. Another 4,100 children under five end up in hospital emergency rooms every year after what the CPSC euphemistically calls “non-fatal submersion incidents.”  Sometimes the result is permanent brain damage.

The only way to keep children from drowing or being injured around water is to keep them far, far away from it. But that’s just not practical. Nevertheless, there are a few things you can do to reduce the risks. Here are some general guidelines. We’ll get to specific pool-related steps after that.

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Military Family Friday: Audie Murphy on PTSD + College Savings Strategy

Medal of Honor and flag

Medal of Honor and flag

Photo credit: Stock Trek Images/Getty Images

Audie Murphy: Leading the Battle for PTSD Awareness
Audie Murphy, one of the most decorated soldiers of World War II, also experienced symptom of PTSD and was very open in talking about it. It’s been around for centuries, but under different names: During the Civil War, it was called “soldier’s heart.” During World War I, it was called “shell shock,” and in WWII, it was “combat fatigue” or the “thousand-yard stare.” But whatever it’s called, the most common symptoms of PTSD include mood disorders and frequent, dramatic—and sometimes debilitating—flashbacks. And it is by no means a sign of weakness.
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Photo credit: JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Photo credit: JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Whether you’re saving up for your children or your spouse, it’s imperative for military families to strategically plan their education funding, and to be knowledgeable about the resources that are available.
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Military Family Monday: Married to a Reservist + Basic Pay Is Just the Beginning

Photo credit: Daniel Bendjy/Getty Images
Photo credit: Dream Pictures/Getty Images

Photo credit: Dream Pictures/Getty Images

Being married to someone serving in National Guard or military Reserve makes you a soldier too, serving right along with your soldier, Marine, sailor, or airman, helping on base, keeping up friendships and households and managing the civilian side of their lives. In most cases, it works for everyone involved. But it’s not easy.

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box of cash

Photo credit: John Boyes/Getty Images

When it comes to what you can eern in the military, Your monthly basic pay is just the tip of the money iceberg. Not satisfied with what you’re making now? There are a lot of ways to increase your bottom line. There are pays that you earn, pays you deserve, pays you may never heard of, and pay you get while deployed or TDY (temporary duty assignment).

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Biting and Hitting the Hand that Feeds

biting teeth
biting teeth

Photo credit: gigabiting.com

Dear Mr. Dad: Our son just turned one and, almost like flipping a switch, he went from the sweetest, happiest little guy to smacking and biting. It’s bad enough when it happens at home, but my husband and I are beyond embarrassed when he attacks friends or strangers. Is it normal for babies to turn mean like this? Normal or not, how can we get it to stop?

A: No one knows exactly why, but right around their first birthday, most babies go through a stage that involves hitting and/or biting everything and everyone in sight. So, yes, biting and hitting are normal, and it’s unlikely that he’s “turning mean.” However, as you said, whether it’s normal or not, this behavior needs to stop. Before you can do anything about the behavior, though, you need to figure out what’s behind it.

According to child development experts, there are lots of possible explanations. Your baby may be hitting or biting because: [Read more…]

#MilitaryFamilyFriday: Saving Money + Being an Absentee Landlord

At one time or another, most of us run into some tight financial times. Being on a military salary—which, as we all know, isn’t the greatest in the world—doesn’t help. But, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be able to save money, whether you’re trying to build your retirement fund or just socking away a few extra bucks for a rainy day. Here are nine tips that will help you save money, even on a military salary. Read the rest of this article on my about.com minisite.

If you’ve been living off base in a property you own, it also means that you have to figure out what to do with your current home. The most obvious choice is to simply sell the house. But what if the housing market is down or you’re underwater? Should you keep the house and become an absentee landlord? Read the rest of this artilce on my about.com minisite.

I’m always looking for great organizations, programs, and other resources to help the men and women who serve our country. If you’ve got a suggestion or referral, please drop an email to armin [at] mrdad [dot] com.