April 17, 2024

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Empowering Military Families: Enhancing Life Beyond Service

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Empowering Military Families
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Our nation owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to the members of the armed forces who risk their lives to protect our freedoms. But we also need to recognize that military service places strains not only on those who serve but also on their families. Spouses often endure years of separation from their loved ones and shoulder a disproportionate share of the responsibilities of home life and raising children. Children suffer from the loss of the presence of a parent in their lives.

As a society, we must do more to empower military families and help them successfully navigate life beyond active-duty service. Support programs tailored to their unique needs can help ease the burden of constant relocations, career changes, and separation from family members. Solutions centered on strengthening families, rather than viewing them merely as extensions of those who serve, are key.

Career Challenges for Military Spouses

One of the biggest challenges faced by military spouses is building a career. Frequent moves, often across state lines or even internationally, make it incredibly difficult to progress in a traditional career path. A recent survey showed that nearly 75% of military spouses felt that they needed more job training and career advice tailored to their transient lifestyle.

From continuing education credits not carrying over when moving between states to gaps on a resume from time spent supporting a spouse’s military career, military life poses steep obstacles to steady employment. Access to flexible remote work and career training opportunities that provide transferable skills can create viable solutions.

Initiatives like the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) that connect spouses to military-friendly employers are a step in the right direction. The experts over at ProTrain tell us that expanding avenues for military spouse career training through accredited online education programs, skills training programs, transitional assistance, and increased job portability would help to further empower military families financially in their life after the military.

Stability for Military Children

Parental deployment also inevitably takes an emotional toll on military children, often requiring them to frequently change schools, cope with a missing parent, and adjust to new communities and friend groups. Providing stability where possible, especially in their school life, can dramatically help military children thrive.

Many states have passed legislation to allow easier transfers of school credits and records for military children relocating within the U.S. Expanding support systems in local schools centered on helping students from military families adjust can promote a greater sense of community belonging and peer mentorship. Extracurricular programs exclusively for children of deployed service members can also nurture mental wellbeing and social connectedness.

Life After Service: Adjusting Together as a Family

Perhaps the most pivotal transition for military families comes when active-duty service ends and they must readjust to civilian life. The first year after military service presents unique emotional, financial, occupational and lifestyle changes. Helping families navigate this transition holistically, as a family unit, will enable long-term wellbeing.

Proactive financial counseling prior to separating from the service will help ensure families make plans for income stability by exploring tools like the GI Bill, VA Loans, or small business loans to launch a second career. Access to behavioral healthcare, relationship counseling or peer support groups can also ease common struggles faced by veterans reintegrating like PTSD, depression, anxiety, and marital difficulties.

Conclusion

Most importantly, encouraging open communication and realistic goal setting among family members around creating balance, discovering new purpose beyond the military, and exploring ways to translate exceptional service into civilian success will empower military families to thrive in the next chapter of life, together.

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