Dear Dr. Laura,
I listened to your caller who was struggling with her 13 year old son and their recent relocation to another state due to her husband's job in the military.
My husband is in the Navy and we are on a three year rotation, so every three years we pick up and move, so the caller's problem struck a chord with me.
I have four children and my oldest is eight. She has known nothing other than the military lifestyle since she was born. My husband and I, while both extremely proud of his service, have often questioned late at night when the kiddos are asleep, if we are completely ruining the kids for life by Daddy being a warrior. And we don't know, and we won't know for a long time. But because of these concerns we have had, we have both put a lot of effort into making sure our children have as secure lives as possible, and here are a few ways we do that.
1) I homeschool. A big reason I homeschool is because of the constant moving. With Mom always being teacher, there is consistency in what they learn, and who they learn it from. My kids know what to expect and look forward to the routine's we have made for them.
2) We turn any place we live into a "hands on" learning environment. We currently live in Japan and embrace many of the aspects of the culture we would not be able to while in the states. We cultivate a love for other ways of life while also cherishing our own background of the good ol' USA. What I have seen in my children while doing this is confidence in who they are, and the backbone to stand up for what they believe in while also respecting that others live differently than us. (My kids and I are still not used to the Japanese toilets!)
3) My husband and I are boyfriend and girlfriend. My husband is gone quite a bit, but even when Daddy is gone I talk nonstop to the kids about what an amazing man their Daddy is and how he still is the one for me. When he IS home, we flirt with each other and show our kids how secure our marriage is.
4) We make moving fun. We call it an adventure, not a burden. I put on my happy face, even when the movers break a beloved item, and we go hunting for new things. When we are looking for a new place to live, we include the kids in our decisions and make sure they know they are a part of this family and have a say too. This gives the kids control in a chaotic situation.
I do the best I can being married to a warrior. I won't say it isn't hard, I cry a lot well after the kids are asleep, but I also know what my husband is doing is right for his family and this country.
Thank you for always being my compass!