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How do I get back into parenting after returning from the service?

Your feelings about parenting and your approach to it may be affected by your time away in the military. Veterans often notice changes in their children’s behavior and attitudes when they return, and may be surprised or upset by the changes. It’s not unusual for children to act out a little with a parent from whom they’ve been separated. They may be angry about the separation and blaming you for it. It will take time to re-establish the trust and authority you had before.

Children have a tendency to test boundaries whenever there is a change in the family dynamic. In response, you may find yourself being overprotective of your children, or overly concerned about imposing discipline and rules. While you were in the military, strict discipline was necessary, and it may still be ingrained in you in your civilian life. However, it is not as appropriate for family life.

Pay attention to how your spouse is handling discipline and rules with the children, and work together to present a united front. Resume your parental role one day at a time. Do not rush the relationship-building with too many treats and don’t try to impose it by insisting on obedience. Notice the positive ways in which your children have grown and changed, and be sure to acknowledge and praise them.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.