By: Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT
Extended and repeated separations from a primary caregiver in the context of danger, media and communication exposure, the impact of combat exposure on returning parent, possible parental mental health problems, physical injury or loss, frequent relocations. These are all challenges faced by military children and families, as discussed by Dr. Catherine Mogil during her 2017 webinar on resilience in military children.
It’s no secret that military children are at higher risk for experiencing traumatic events and stressful situations which may induce some pretty big feelings. It’s also no secret that even the most emotionally resilient adults have difficulties sometimes processing the big feelings. So, how do we help our military children when they are experiencing tough feelings? Chandra Ghosh Ippen and Erich Ippen, Jr. tackle the topic through their book Once I was Very Very Scared.
At the beginning of the book, a squirrel announces that he was once very scared. Soon after his announcement, several of his animal friends start to share that they were also scared. Each animal talks about what made them scared and then share the ways in which they react to being scared. After all of the animals share their stories, a porcupine comes along and encourages all of them to think of new things that they can do to help them when they are scared. Or mad, or sad.
This book assists both children and adults in understanding just how tough situations can impact children and ways to help them get through it!
This post was written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT, the Social Media and Programming Coordination Specialist for the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development concentration on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.