Military Families Resource Center

Last updated March 2019


Military Family ImageGlobal conflict and unrest have led to the deployment of large numbers of military personnel (active duty, Reserves, National Guard). As a result of duty assignments, members of the military are often separated from their families for lengthy periods of time. A family that loses the active presence of a parent through separation faces significant challenges and stress.

During the parent's deployment, family members may feel isolated, unsupported and anxious. Some families must also deal with the trauma of having a parent seriously injured or killed. Families who have little or no contact with extended family and/or the military community may be especially vulnerable to stress.

Children who have one or both parents enlisted are perhaps most impacted by the reintegration of the mother, father or both into the family. The health and well-being of the parent or parents, and knowing how to handle reintegration in a healthy way, are crucial to the mental health of children and adolescents.

Choose a topic:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How should I talk to my children abut an upcoming deployment?
  2. What other steps can a family take to prepare for the deployment of a parent?
  3. What should the adult at home do about children's exposure to media reports when a parent is in a war zone?
  4. What are common reactions of children to a parent's deployment?
  5. What should a family do to prepare for reunion after a deployment?
  6. What are common needs and feelings of family members after a deployment?

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Facts for Families

AACAP's Facts for Families provide concise up-to-date information on issues that affect children, teenagers, and their families.

Military Family Image Children and Grief

News and Children

Sleep Problems

School Refusal

Military Families: Coming Home

Military Families

Stress Management and Teens

Terrorism and War: How to Talk to Children

Anxiety and Children

Depression in Children and Teens

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Clinical Resources

Information about Choices in Psychotherapy Treatment
Children in military families may need to meet with a qualified mental health professional. Mental health treatments for children come in the form of psychotherapy and medication treatment. Both are important elements of a comprehensive treatment plan. Your clinician can help you and your family make decisions about which treatments are appropriate for your child.

To learn more about the types of psychotherapy that are available to help children and adolescents with mental illness, click here.

Information about Choices in Medication
Parents who have a child or adolescent with mental health condition are often left facing difficult decisions regarding medication.

To learn more about how psychiatric medication is used to treat children and adolescents, click here.

To learn more about the types of psychiatric medication that are available to treat children and adolescents with mental health disorder, click here.

Practice Parameters

Considered resources for experts, mental health professional and physicians, AACAP's practice parameters were developed to guide clinical decision making. They show the best treatments and the range of treatment options available to families living with childhood and adolescent mental illness.

Historical Practice Parameters, authored by AACAP committees and individual AACAP experts, are more than 5 years old and have not yet been updated to ensure that they reflect current knowledge and practice. In accordance with national standards, these Parameters can no longer be assumed to be current.

Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Additional Resources

Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress

Effects on Military Children and At-Home Spouses

Sesame Workshop

Zero to Three

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Getting Help

Military Families Resource CenterGetting help is the most important thing that parents can do for children and adolescents with a mental health concern. It is important to find a comfortable match between your child, your family, and the mental health professional.

A child and adolescent psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders that affect children and adolescents. Child and adolescent psychiatrists have completed four years of medical school, and at least three years of residency training in medicine, neurology, or general psychiatry with adults, and two years of additional training in psychiatric work with children and adolescents.

Click here to find a child and adolescent psychiatrist in your area.

To learn about accessing child and adolescent psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, please read Where to Find Help for Your Child.

Often times, parents are unsure when to seek a referral to a child and adolescent psychiatrist. For more information on when to seek a referral, please click here.

Facts for Families

Coming Home: Adjustments for Military Families

Families in the Military

Talking to Children about Terrorism and War

Related Websites

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