Military children experience immense amounts of stress in their early life. However, stress is not always a bad thing. Despite perceptions that all stress is negative, stress is also what encourages growth, when it is viewed from a positive perspective. Though it is true that military children go through trials that some civilian counterparts don't have to encounter, these experiences give military children an increased resilience that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
The most significant challenge that military children face is a sense of instability that accompanies frequent moves and deploying parents. This instability, especially that of a parent deployed to a war zone, is similar to the psychological effects that children with a deceased parent experience and actually can create a drive for success, according to New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle.
Military children also tend to have strong skills regarding self-regulation, academic performance and emotional wellbeing. They are also less likely to engage in risky behavior and more open to differences in other people.
Academics from Princeton University and the Brookings Institute have speculated that these advantages come from the closeness associated with military communities. Growing up as a military brat gives children an important and meaningful identity that is associated with the military values of strength and sacrifice. This sense of belonging to something bigger than oneself is important when developing an identity and purpose, even to little children.
The resilience of military children is something overlooked, but the challenges that military children face today can make them even stronger in the future.
Editor’s Note: “Intern Insights” is a column focused on topics related to military children. Harding is a Lejeune High School student. Facts not attributed are the opinions of the writer.