My husband is returning from active duty. What kinds of
transition challenges should I expect?
Though some returning servicemen and -women can slip easily back
into the rhythm of home life, most families do find that there is a
period of adjustment. And that's understandable. Things changed
while your spouse was away: the kids got older, you may be more
self-reliant, and your family probably had to adopt some new
routines to lessen the burden of your spouse's absence.
It's no wonder that many returning parents often have a hard
time figuring out their place in this new order.
Returning spouses also might need time to process any
challenging or overwhelming experiences they had while serving. It
might be hard to talk about these with family members - even when
they know you care and want to understand. Some may seek extra
support from a professional as they work through experiences and
readjust to life at home. You may need to remind your spouse that
reaching out in this way is an act of strength and courage - not a
sign of weakness.
But just because you have a transition to work through
doesn't mean you can't get back to where you were before,
or someplace even better. Be patient as you get to know each other
again and give the whole family plenty of low-stress opportunities
to ease back into things. As always, good communication is key to
finding a new sense of balance.
For more information, check out these articles:
When a Parent Goes to War
For Teens: When Loved Ones Go to War
For Kids: Worrying About War
W. Douglas Tynan, PhD, and D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: April 2008
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