Note: for the purposes of this article, "parent" refers to the parent of a service member.
More than anything else, your service member needs to know that she has your unconditional love and support.
No matter how complex a relationship you have with your son or daughter, when your child deploys, all the things you thought were big problems can suddenly become very small.
Factors such as age or whether she has a family of her own may impact whether your service member reaches out to you immediately to talk about her expectations while she's away. If you can, let your service member know that you would like to spend time together before she deploys, but you also understand that she is very busy right now. If you have time available from the demands of your own life, ask her if she needs help with anything before she leaves. Otherwise, try to be as patient and flexible as possible with your service member at this particularly chaotic time. Just knowing she has your support will be a huge source of strength for her as she prepares for deployment.
"I try to read anything I can about where he is being deployed to, who has been there before, what kind of supplies he will need that aren't supplied by the Army, climate conditions, etc. I also try to find online retailers that send to APOs at the most reasonable cost." —Army parent
Relationships: Extended Family and Friends
Like the immediate family members, you are probably going to want to see your service member before he leaves. Depending on the demands on your service member's time, this may or may not be possible. If an in-person visit isn't feasible, let him know that you would like to be able to send letters while he's deployed and to see him when he returns home.
Don't be offended if your service member seems distracted or primarily focused on his immediate family. Find out if there is something you can do to help him prepare to leave or give him greater peace of mind when he's gone, such as checking in with a parent or spouse periodically.
This excerpt is provided courtesy of the acclaimed free digital resource "Everyone Serves". Download your free copy with additional media content today at everyoneservesbook.com.