The tears, the frown, the disappointment. you can only watch helplessly as your child says goodbye to the friends they have made.
Making friends with anyone is hard. Making friends as a military brat, well, it’s no surprise that it can be THAT much harder. I’ve noticed that military brats tend to make friends with other military brats. It seems as though everyone is “in on it”. You have a few years of good times, then it’s time to say goodbye and start over. However, It can still be sad every single time.
When your kid’s friends move away, you put on your best parenting face, and redirect your child’s attention to the people and activities that remain in his or her life and the things that brought him/her happiness.
“You guys will keep in touch,” you say with all of the empathy you can muster. You say that knowing that it may not be all true.
Months later, that friend that moved away hasn’t kept in contact, and the tears start again. Military kids are resilient, there’s no doubt about it. But even the toughest kid needs a way to manage difficult emotions that come with military life: the constant moving, mom or dad’s busy schedules, and of course, missing a friend whose family just PCS’d.
Here are some ways to help your kids when their friends PCS:
Emphasize that you will be there whenever your child needs you. Communication is key now more than ever. Pay even more attention to their behavior during this time. Watch for any signs that are distressing.
Kids are probably better at technology than most parents. Social media, texting, and video conferencing are great ways to keep in touch with old friends.
Don’t overload your child, but perhaps suggest new activities or clubs they can do or join. Make sure your child knows he or she is loved by the family members and friends around them. They need to know that even though their best friend is moving, they have a big support network of people who care about them.
A scrapbook or video from that friend would be a great memento. Something that only friends can share. With my friends, I came up with our own special hashtag for Instagram so we can better keep up on what’s going on in each other’s lives.
As long as your child has healthy coping skills, there’s nothing wrong with letting them be sad for a while. It will sting at first, but the pain will eventually go away. Your child and his or her friends will keep in touch, or naturally drift apart. Either way, they will learn to cope with loss while having your support, empathy, and guidance.
For more military life articles, visit Operation in Touch
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Unilever & Operation in Touch via MSB New Media. The opinions and text are all mine.