Having a son or daughter in the military can bring about a host of emotions, from pride in their service to concern for their safety. It’s natural to want to connect with other parents like you. But with less than half of one percent of Americans in the armed forces, you may have difficulty finding them if you don’t know where to look.
For many, the answer is to join a support group for parents of service members. These groups, whether in-person or online, can provide the comfort and comradery of being with others who share your experiences.
How military parent support groups can help
The desire to be there for your child never seems to go away – even when your child is an adult who serves in the military. But parents need to pay attention to their own well-being, too. In fact, acknowledging and caring for your own emotional needs will make you a stronger support for your service member.
Having other military parents to turn to can be comforting and encouraging. A support group for military parents can:
- Ease feelings of loneliness or isolation.
- Provide an outlet for discussing your feelings.
- Reduce stress or anxiety by being around others who share your experiences and feelings.
- Be a source of information, resources, encouragement and guidance.
- Provide the satisfaction of allowing you to support fellow parents.
How to find a support group
Reach out to your installation Military and Family Support Center for help finding support groups specific to your child’s service branch as well as groups for parents of military members in general.
You can also look for support groups for military parents by:
- Searching online and through social media
- Asking around in your own community
- Talking with others at your house of worship
- Inquiring at local veterans organizations
If you’re unable to find a support group, consider starting one of your own. Spread the word through social media and through community and veterans organizations. Even though they’re a small fraction of the U.S. population, those parents of service members still amount to millions of people. And chances are, you’ll find others who are eager to connect.