There are challenges throughout a military deployment—from the call to duty through the heartwarming homecomings. But many people overlook one of the greatest challenges: adjusting to being a family together again after the homecoming. Karen Pavlicin, author of Surviving Deployment, suggests families realize:
Roles and people have changed
You’ll all be tired from added responsibilities at home, from the deployment, and from heightened emotions
Your parenting and decision-making relationship will be strained—children will test your limits<
You’ll need private time with your spouse to reestablish intimacy
It may take weeks to adjust
For those family with new babies or young children, Pavlicin reminds returning service members that infants and toddlers won’t recognize them and may even be afraid of them. Her advice:
Go slow. Talk softly and often so an infant gets used to your voice. To talk to toddlers, get down at their level.
Play. If you can get your child to laugh at you, you’ll make a friend sooner.
Stay nearby while your spouse feeds, dresses, or plays with the baby. The baby will get used to having you there and will eventually be comfortable with you.
Spend time with your spouse. Children of any age are more comfortable with a parent when they know their parents’ relationship is strong.