PreDeployment: When & What To Tell – Tip #430
It is hard to know how soon and how much to tell your family and friends that someone they love and care about is going to be away for a long time, without a definite return date and to a place where they are going to be potentially in danger on a regular basis. There is no right or wrong answer but there are a few tips to breaking the news that you may find helpful.
Don’t be in a rush or distracted when you decide to tell others about the deployment
Be as positive as possible about the deployment before telling anyone else
Don’t share too much all at once. This will give them time to process the absence before thinking about all the other worries and concerns
Give the news during a period of time when you know you are going to be spending a lot of time together
If you have not been given a lot of time don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to give information as quickly as possible and as much as possible. Present the absence and answer their questions first
Have strategies for coping with the absence in place before talking about it (Mom is going away for the next 6 months for work but we are going to be able to write to her everyday or we are really going to miss her but one way we are going to be able to stay in touch is…)
Begin to talk about what your family member is going to miss (Christmas, birthdays, etc.) and how you going to celebrate these things in their absence
Answer questions honestly and calmly (they will know when you are lying and if you aren’t calm, they won’t be either)
Listen to what they are saying, repeat back to them what you think they are saying and then don’t offer a lot of solutions. Sometimes your family just wants to feel heard and they will often say more when you aren’t jumping to find solutions.
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Filed under: Lists, Military Family Support - Tips from the 101 Tips books, Teen Tips, Tips for Educators and Deployment Support Workers Tagged: | deployment, deployment support, families, life, military life, Pre-deployment