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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#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.

#MilitaryFamilyFriday: Acing the Military PFT

Throughout your military tenure—starting possibly even before you get to boot camp–you’ll be required to pass the standard PFT (physical fitness test) and meet basic weight standards. Here’s everything you need to know to totally crush the PFT. Read the rest of this article 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.

Playmobil and the U.S. Coast Guard

playmobil rescue boatCity Action Rescue Boat
The Coast Guard has a bit of an identity crisis. It started off as part of the Department of Treasury, then got transferred over to the Department of Transportation, and is now under the Department of Homeland Security. They’re also considered a branch of the military. But whoever they are, they do a great job of protecting our coasts and waterways. With the City Action Rescue Boat, your child can give the Coast Guard the respect they deserve, honoring them as they rescue drowning swimmers, battle pirates, and take on other rescue operations. They can even put out fires (or squirt the cat) with the included plunger. The set includes the boat itself, three figures, first aid kit, hoses, rescue ring, and more. $52.95. Ages 4-10.

playmobil coast guard stationCity Action Coast Guard Station with Lighthouse
Those Coast Guard heroes need to go somewhere at the end of a long, danger-filled day, right? And nothing could be better than their own station, complete with a functioning lighthouse and an observation room where the duty officers can keep a close eye on the coast and dispatch rescue crews as needed. The set comes with everything you and the kids need to create amazing adventures together: a boat, five Playmobil figures (who love to wait in line for the Ferris wheel on their day off), rescue rings, a full set of scuba gear, loads of medical and safety equipment, a cable winch to haul boats out of the water, and more. $79.95. Ages 4-10. http://www.playmobil.us/

#MilitaryFamilyFriday: Parenting a Child with an Emotional Disorder

Between the frequent PCS moves, the potential for lengthy deployment, the difficulty maintaining long-term friendships, and other issues, military children are more likely than civilian children to develop mental health conditions, including emotional disorders. In this article, we take a look at what emotional disorders, how to recognize them, and how to get help. Read the rest of this article 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.

Something You Probably Didn’t Know About Sexual Assault in the Military

Source: DoD News, U.S. Department of Defense. Photo by Glenn Fawcett (Released)

Source: DoD News, U.S. Department of Defense. Photo by Glenn Fawcett (Released)

Source: DoD News, U.S. Department of Defense. Photo by Glenn Fawcett (Released)

When people talk about sexual assault, the assumption is that the victims are all women and the perpetrators are all men. But in a speech on April 22, 2015 that didn’t get nearly enough coverage, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter demonstrated the dangers of assumptons (which, as one of my Marine Corps drill instructors was fond of saying, “make an ASS out of U and ME).

Speaking to ROTC cadets and midshipmen from a number of colleges and universities, Carter pointed out that “last year, we estimated that at least 18,900 service members — 10,400 men and 8,500 women — experienced unwanted sexual contact. And too few of them — particularly men — report these incidents as assaults.

Wait, what? Men can be victimes of sexual assault? Sad but true. Even sadder, most male victims are too embarrassed to report it.

The Secretary added that’s 18,900 too many, and that “no man or woman who serves in the U.S. military” should ever be sexually assaulted.” He then went on to say something that every one of us needs to hear.

“When victims are most vulnerable, their leadership and their fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines need to stand by them in solidarity, not turn their back or turn away. We need those assaulted to have people they can count on. It may not be easy, but I need you to be one of them — in person and online…. That’s why I need you to be leaders,” Carter said, “not just in the line of duty, but online also. I trust most of you would intervene if you saw someone being bullied around campus. But too many people let that stuff slide online — we know that — and sometimes offline too… We can’t allow those who do the right thing — either in reporting an assault or standing up to stop one,” he continued, “to be belittled on Facebook, ignored at [the] chow hall, passed over at promotion time, or mocked in the officers club. That’s counter to the ethos you signed up for, and it’s just plain wrong.”

Amen, Mr. Secretary. Amen.