- •Communication and quality time facilitate coping in military children
- •Behavioral and emotional problems are common in children during parental deployment
- •Maintaining family routines is helpful for children during deployment
- •Military parents and spouses need self-care during deployment and reintegration
- •Military families are resilient by strategizing plans and setting goals
The purpose of this study was to identify ways parents comfort their children to help them cope and adapt to the stresses of the deployment of a mother or father in military service, as well as the reintegration process of the parent returning home.
Design and methods
This qualitative study used a hermeneutic phenomenological approach to better understand the lived experiences of these families and strategies used to combat stressors of deployment and post-deployment. Using purposive and snowball sampling for recruitment, participants completed an online anonymous survey that consisted of demographic and open-ended questions. A study sample of 15 participants (n = 15) was selected based on inclusion and exclusion criteria. Using an interpretive framework for data analysis, six themes emerged from the survey.
Six themes emerged from the data including the value of family communication, the importance of maintaining a routine, the occurrence of behavioral issues and emotional distress in children, the use of creative coping strategies, the need for parental self-care, and the resilience of the military families.
There are unique challenges for military families during and after deployment that can be mitigated with identified strategies.
Implications for practice
Incorporation of the study's findings into nursing practice will enhance patient education and anticipatory guidance for military families with children experiencing or planning for a parental deployment.
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Published online: June 08, 2020
Accepted: May 26, 2020
Received in revised form: May 26, 2020
Received: April 29, 2020
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