Without question, returning home from deployment is a happy time for all, but challenges are certain to arise too. Not only will you be reintegrating into family life after an uncertain time, but you’ll also be navigating complicated emotions.

Luckily, there are some things you can do to help smooth this transition. If you take the time to implement them, your family life should get back to normal after a deployment. Here we explain.

Accept Mixed Emotions

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Chances are, you and your spouse are both different people than when you left for deployment. Because of this, it is okay if excitement isn’t their only emotion when
you get home. It’s normal for them to feel worried or concerned about what life will be like now. They may even get frustrated if you don’t understand everything that is going on in their day to day lives.

Just as you prepared for all the different emotions when you left, know that this period requires just as much mindfulness. Especially when it comes to how your spouse is feeling. Before you leave from deployment, encourage your spouse with the knowledge that all of their complicated feelings are normal. That they are even to be expected. Communication will make things easier over time.

Have Realistic Expectations for After Deployment

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You and your spouse have been counting down to the days until you come home since the day you left. So it only makes sense that you envision a perfect coming home experience, but it doesn’t always happen that way. Instead, you may find yourself feeling jetlagged and still processing your combat experience, and you may even have to return back to work very soon afterward. Setting realistic expectations when it comes to these factors will make it easier to make plans during the reintegration process.

Be Tuned in for Signals of Stress

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Depending on the age of your child(ren), they may be old enough to understand what you were doing overseas and ask questions you may not want to answer. You may want to spare them some details, but with some children, this unknown may trigger stress. Additionally, it can be stressful for young children to have a parent come back into their daily life after being gone for so long, and they may not know how to react.
Because children show stress differently, keep an eye out for some uncharacteristic behavior such as misbehavior, nightmares, insomnia, or changes in their eating habits. If you notice something amiss, don’t hesitate to speak to your pediatrician about ways you can help and offer support.

Discuss the New Normal

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Remember, everyday life continues for your family while you are gone. Therefore, household routines may have changed. To ensure everyone is on the right schedule and can communicate properly, hold a family meeting to discuss these details. Make new schedules, rules, and guidelines as a family so everyone is on the same page. It never hurts to give your children a heads up this will happen, well before you come home from deployment.

Plan Reconnection Activities for After Deployment

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It is important to not just assume everything will go back to normal once you get home. You’ll need to catch up and reconnect with your spouse and child(ren), separately. You most likely will need to plan for an adjustment period in the first few weeks you are home. A good method for getting through this sometimes challenging time is to plan for some fun activities to do together. These special occasions are crucial for family bonding and reconnection. Get to know each your spouse again on date nights, just the two of you. (Watch Indivisible if you haven’t seen it yet). And don’t forget to plan some special family dates too! Whether you play mini golf or take a full-fledged vacation, you’ll be able to focus on strengthening your relationships.

It’s best to think of your return home from deployment as less of an event and more of a journey. With these tips, you will be able to smoothly and successfully transition your family life back to normal. For more helpful information on veteran’s services, visit Hill and Ponton Disability Lawyers.

Your extended families may want to know how they can help you in your military family journey. Here are some guidelines for them.

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Photo Credits: Juliane Liebermann, Taisiia Stupak, Picsea, Paul Weaver, Danielle Macinnes, and Leo Rivas.

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