Between Afghanistan and Iraq to say nothing of other military missions worldwide, many service men and women face deployment, often for longer tours of duty. These deployments are especially hard on children as they struggle to understand why their parent went away and left them. As a social worker counseling military families, Andrews recognized the need for a guide designed to help parents and children cope with the emotional strain of deployment. Beginning with a short segment aimed toward assisting the child’s caregiver, the format changes to a kid-friendly coloring book that introduces the concept of deployment in age appropriate terms. Through different question lists and empty frames that invite the child to express themselves, kids can explore their feelings while learning that it’s ok to be afraid or angry. More importantly, some child level coping tools are provided that should prove helpful during this stressful time in their young lives.
A valuable resource, parents about to deploy should consider taking time to go through this little guidebook with their children before leaving for duty. Picking out and coloring a page with each child would create a lovely memory while assuring the youngster would keep the guide close at hand to help them through those lonely times while their loved one is away.