Sergeant Major of the Army, Raymond F. Chandler III, and Jeanne Chandler

Guests: Sergeant Major of the Army, Raymond F. Chandler III, and Jeanne Chandler
Topics covered:

  • The Army’s Ready and Resilient Program
  • The Army’s commitment to military families
  • A candid, personal discussion of how the Chandlers struggled, coped with, and overcame the SMA’s PTSD, and the support and resources that are available to other families facing the same issues.

Additional important resources:

Armin Brott is the father of three, a former U.S. Marine, and an internationally recognized authority on fatherhood. He’s the author of eight bestselling books on fatherhood, including “The Military Father: A Hands-on Guide for Deployed Dads” and “The Expectant Father.” His radio show, “Positive Parenting,” has been heard on more than a dozen stations throughout the US for more than 15 years. “Positive Parenting for Military Families” has been on AFN for nearly two years.

Armin is dedicated to giving dads and moms tools, support, and strategies they can use to be the best possible parents.

He has worked with Marine and Navy SEAL families in various locations, and has spoken at numerous Congressional briefings and health conferences about deployment, reintegration, and many other issues facing military families.

When Mom and Dad are the Problem + Labeled Kids + Surviving Deployment

[amazon asin=1937134180&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest: 1: Vicki Hoefle, author of Duct Tape Parenting.
Topic: A less-is-more approach to raising respectful, responsible, resilient kids.
Issues: Why helicopter mothers and fathers are bad for kids; why it’s important for moms and dads to sit on their hands and stay on the sidelines so that children can step up, solve their own problems, and develop life-long confidence.

[amazon asin=030739543X&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 2: Barbara Probst, author of When the Labels Don’t Fit/
Topic: A new approach to raising a challenging child.
Issues: Discovering your child’s essential nature and temperament; respecting your child’s inner world; changing the way you think, talk, and respond; knowing when and how to help; taking care of yourself.

[amazon asin=0965748375&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 3: Karen Pavlicin, author of Life After Deployment.
Topic: How military families prepare for, cope with, and survive deployment.
Issues: Types of deployment; emotional and psychological stages of deployment; ways to keep in touch across time and distance; the effects of deployment on the soldier, spouse, and children; keeping reasonable expectations when coming home.

The heavy, heavy price paid by returning veterans: almost half make disability claims

“America’s newest veterans are filing for disability benefits at a historic rate, claiming to be the most medically and mentally troubled generation of former troops the nation has ever seen.

“A staggering 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries they say are service-related. That is more than double the estimate of 21 percent who filed such claims after the Gulf War in the early 1990s, top government officials told The Associated Press.”

This is an excerpt from an article by AP Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione. Read the rest of this important story here. 

April is the Month of the Military Child. Let’s do everything we can to support them.

1.8 million children have a parent in the military and most of those families have been through multiple deployhments. As a Marine Corps veteran, my heart goes out to every one of them. We’ve all heard a lot about PTSD, the increased divorce rates in military families, and the out-of-control suicide rate (more servicemembers committed suicide in 2011 than were killed in action). But very few of us know about the toll deployment takes on children.
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Sure you love your kids—but do they know that?

We all know how important it is to tell our kids we love them (or do we?). But how often do we actually show them? In a very cool study that was just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that the children of nurturing, caring parents have larger hippocampi (hippocampus is the singular, but we all have two—one on each side of the brain) than kids whose parents are less nurturing and caring.

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Giving Military Dads a Reason to Live

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband is deployed overseas right now and we just had our baby girl. He was home for the birth, but had to leave only 20 days after. He really doesn’t seem to take much interest in her. We talk over Skype all the time but he still keeps some emotional distance between him and our daughter. How can I let him know that he’s a father and help him actually feel like one?

A: First, my sincere thanks to you and your husband (and your daughter) for your service to our country. Thanks also for trying to help your husband—he’s lucky to have you in his corner. There has been a lot of talk lately about supporting our military families and I applaud the efforts of Michelle Obama and Jill Biden to bring those needs to light. But despite their good work, almost all of their efforts have been aimed at supporting the families back home (which is incredibly important).

Unfortunately, there are almost no resources that focus on the needs of the deployed servicemembers themselves. That’s precisely why I wrote my book, “The Military Father: A Hands-on Guide for Deployed Dads.” Military dads (and moms) need as much support as they can get to help them maintain strong relationships with their children and spouse. And don’t be fooled: This isn’t just a nice-to-have kind of thing. Research has shown that when servicemembers feel connected to and needed by their family, and feel like they know what’s happening at home and are an important part of it, some of the effects of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) can be reduced. On the flip side, feeling disconnected, unimportant, unneeded, unloved, or unappreciated aggravates PTSD and contributes directly to the increased rates of divorce and suicide in military families.

Sadly, the dynamic you so poignantly described is very common among young military dads. When you think about it, it makes pretty good sense. There are a number of things that could be going on. To start with, your husband may be feeling rather useless and he may be putting up all that emotional distance as a way of protecting himself. After all, he’s thousands of miles away while you’re there every day with the baby. In his mind he’ll never be able to catch up, and his daughter will never love him as much as she loves you. There’s also a good chance that your husband has heard stories from some of the other dads in his unit who’ve been through multiple deployments. They may have told him how incredibly painful it is to come home and have your baby or toddler cry or run away and hide instead of giving you a huge welcome-home-daddy hug.

He also may be trying to protect your daughter. If he’s concerned that he won’t be coming home (and it would be surprising if those thoughts didn’t cross his mind), he may have decided that there’s no sense in getting too attached to her—or for her to start getting too attached to him. An irrational—but completely understandable—line of thinking.

So what can you do? Remind him often of how important he is to you and your daughter, and how much you need him. Tell him that you show the baby his picture and talk about him every day. Send him pictures, handprints, and other reminders (don’t try to get the baby to say Hi to daddy on Skype. Babies are notorious for going on strike—and screaming or crying—when they’re supposed to be performing).