Jun 12, 2012
Telling your four year old child that daddy is going to war
Every child will react differently to the news that his father is going to war, and while he does not really understand what war and deployment means except for scraps of conversations he has overheard, he will be fearful and his immediate concern will be what will happen to him.
Children react differently to change. Some take to it easily and there is hardly any change in his life, and others will react with apprehension and fear. His father might get hurt. His mother might also go away. His days and nights will have him fretting until his father comes back. He will also conjure up all kinds of fearful situations of his father at war.
As a mother your first concern should be the welfare of the child, and to have no big changes in his life. Kids love routine. They like the fact that there is stability in the home and that things happen as usual. He must still go to school and have his playtime with his friends. The more routine the home front, the better for kids.
One of the things you can do is to support him in his activities. If he is an achiever at school, encourage him in what he wants to do. Don’t cancel his soccer practice or baseball tournaments. Your husband will be away for some months and what you do and teach him will serve you if he has a sibling, younger than him who will also learn some things about his father’s work.
Keep in touch with your son through email and bond with him via Skype. The world is a small place today; you can communicate with anyone anywhere – except that his father might not always be where he is supposed to be at any given time as a result of the secrecy of his work. You can also let him create a scrapbook with photographs and little notes. If your husband can call once a week it would also help in that it assures your son that his father will soon be home. Find creative ways to stay connected. When his father returns let the occasion be as normal as possible as he slowly digests that his father’s work is in the military.