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Home National Guard Psychological Health Program

When A Son or Daughter Deploys

Parents can experience a wide range of emotions regarding their son or daughter’s service in the National Guard, from pride in their accomplishments to fear for their safety. It’s common to feel anxious, but supporting your son or daughter is the best way you can express your love and concern for their well-being. Below are some strategies to help you be the best parent you can be to your service member.

1. Be prepared

If your son or daughter is deploying, be sure to:

  • Attend Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Events and learn about local support resources
  • Get your son or daughter’s mailing address (be sure you have their unit name as well)
  • Know their Social Security number in case you need to find them in an emergency through the American Red Cross
  • Find out if they’ll have email access or phone access and whether you can expect to hear from them
  • Find out from your son or daughter’s base command what modes of communication the unit will maintain during the deployment (i.e., newsletters, support groups, phone trees, etc.)
  • If possible, ask them to describe their assignment so you can feel secure in the knowledge of what your son or daughter is experiencing
  • Get to know your state/territory Family Readiness Group

2. Stay in touch

Correspondence and other means of communication can help you as much as your son or daughter during their deployment.

Send letters and care packages including:*

  • Photographs
  • Mementos and/or crafts created by their children
  • Toiletries, snacks or other comforting items from home
  • Stories and anecdotes of special events and everyday activities
  • Protective packing material for fragile items

*For information on restricted items, check the restrictions list at the U.S. Postal Service.

  • Number your letters, as your son or daughter may receive them out of order due to their unit’s operational requirements
  • Leave time for care packages to arrive
  • Connect with your son or daughter through Facebook or Twitter
  • Send emails and find out in advance when you can expect to receive replies

3. Find Support

Military OneSource provides many ways to connect to support, including finding local support contacts through MilitaryINSTALLATIONS and sharing with other family members. Other ways to find support include:

  • Talking to your state/territory Director of Psychological Health
  • Connecting with other military families through your unit’s phone tree
  • Establishing a support group of your family members, friends and community members
  • Exploring your community’s National Guard support organizations

Join your service member’s family readiness group to stay connected to the unit and local resources.

4. Welcome your son or daughter home – gently

You’re allowed to be excited when your service member returns from deployment, but it’s important to give your son or daughter sufficient space to reintegrate into their civilian life. Welcome him or her home by:

  • Collaborating with your son or daughter’s spouse and children to prepare for their homecoming
  • Allowing them to set their own schedule
  • Being sensitive to their needs to talk or not talk about their deployment
  • Noticing if there are signs of mental or emotional distress
  • Being a good listener and responding to their need for support and encouragement