Let's face it, divorce or long separations can be challenging at best. No one ever wants to feel removed from those they care about, but in reality, things like divorce and long separations happen. This can cause some mixed emotions and feelings when it occurs. You may find yourself happy one day... sad the next... angry another day, or you may feel numb at times. There are no rules to how you experience emotions when something like this happens. As a result, you may find yourself feeling confused about everything happening around you.
If you find yourself in this place, don't be afraid to ask for help and seek out someone you know and trust. You might also check out some of these resources, as they give you some great tips and information to help you positively cope with things happening in your life.
University of Missouri Extension:
Military deployments and prolonged separations have become a way of life for many Army National Guard Families. Whether the Service Member is away from home for one month or one year, his/her absence can have a profound impact on a child's social, emotional and physical health.
The following resources, available through Army National Guard Child and Youth Services, are designed specifically to provide parents/guardians with valuable information to help support your youth the next time his/her loved one is away from home.
Our Military Kids: This organization provides grants to youth so they can participate in extra-curricular activities, which might not otherwise be possible due to financial constraints within the family.
Sesame Street for Military Families: "Talk, Listen, Connect" videos are available in the Explore by Topic section of the Sesame Street for Military Families website. These videos and related resources, including extensive tips for parents, downloadable child activities, and links to outside websites, are free to all site visitors.
Deployment Guides and Resources: This website provide valuable information for military families, regardless of military branch affiliation. Families are able to access information on the deployment cycle, resources available and other relevant military community topics.
Operation: We Are Here: This website contains lists of books for youth which focus on various aspects of the deployment cycle and military life. Many of the books listed come with brief overviews, as well as links to available retailers.
Flat Daddies and Mommies: This is a great activity where the family prints a life-sized picture cutout of the deployed Service Member. The flat daddy/mommy can then be taken with the family on special trips or even included in pictures. You can connect with the Flat Daddies initiative via their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/flatdaddies/
I'm Already Home: Elaine Dumler has dedicated her life to gathering fun projects and activities for military families to do while their loved one is away from home. These ideas have been gathered from military family members and those within the military community, both nationally and world-wide. Visit Elaine's website to learn more about some of the great ideas for helping military families remain connected while the Service Member is deployed or away.
Sometimes when the stressors of life become too great, we may find ourselves trying to find 'outs' as a way of coping with everything. For many youth, this may include spending time with friends or doing physical exercise; however, some youth may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way of dealing with everything. In 2014, an estimated 1.3 million youth between the ages of 12-17 had some sort of substance use disorder according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). While turning to drugs or alcohol may seem like a great idea at the time, that decision can have long-term negative impacts on your life, your health and your relationships.
If you are feeling lost or overwhelmed by things, talk to someone you know and trust or engage in a positive activity you enjoy. Turning to drugs and alcohol may seem like an easy 'fix' but it is not a healthy decision and may only provide a short break from everything. In additional to talking and doing positive activities you enjoy, take a look at the following resources, as they provide more great tips for successfully coping with life and avoiding the temptation to turn to drugs or alcohol.
Promises Treatment Centers:
National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens:
The Cool Spot: https://www.thecoolspot.gov/
Coping with the loss of someone or something you hold dear can be challenging; it's never easy to let go and keep moving forward. All of us experience different emotions following a loss, whether it be the death of a loved one or a pet, or it be the result of moving and saying 'goodbye' to your friends. Whatever the situation, what each person experiences is unique to them... there are no 'right' or 'wrong' emotions when someone or something is lost. It is important to remember, however, that people around you care and love you - they are there to help you get through what you may be struggling with, but you have to reach out.
If you, or someone you know, may be struggling with grief and loss, there are people and resources available to you. Talking with someone you know and trust can be the first step towards positively managing your thoughts, feelings and emotions. You might also check out the following resources:
Children and Youth Grief Network:
The Dougy Center:
In the wake of school shootings and violence, helping youth make sense of everything can be difficult. Movements like the March for Our Lives rally, and other youth and adult-lead initiatives, have started paving the way to enact possible change regarding gun control and efforts to ensure the safety of youth at school.
The following links provide information for helping youth make sense of the world around them...
Youth.gov: For those schools that have experienced violence, this website provides information and links to available resources and supports available through Government agencies and partner organizations. https://youth.gov/feature-article/federal-resources-helping-youth-cope-after-school-shooting
American School Counselor Association (ASCA): This website provides links to information and resources for supporting the emotional health of youth struggling with the recent rise in school violence. ASCA provides downloadable resources as well as online trainings adults can complete to better understand their role in helping youth. https://www.schoolcounselor.org/school-counselors/professional-development/learn-more/shooting-resources
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): This link takes you to an article with helpful strategies for supporting youth struggling with fears about school violence. https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/migrated/pmb/hr/upload/Coping-After-a-School-Shooting.pdf
HealthySafeChildren.org: A website with information and links to available mental health resources for those helping support youth struggling with recent school shootings. https://healthysafechildren.org/trauma-violence-and-school-shooting
Suicide Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an estimated 44,193 Americans die by suicide each year. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death (overall) in the United States. in 2014, 1,668 youth aged 13-18 committed suicide. Research has found that the rate of suicide among youth increases as they grow older. Depression, substance abuse, bullying, sexual orientation or sexual identity and dramatic changes in their personal life can all be factors impacting rates of suicide among youth.
If you, or someone you know, may be contemplating suicide, please seek help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Reach out to someone you know and trust. Please do not stay silent, as people care and are available to help.
You might also look at the following resources for additional information:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/