In honor of Month Of The Military Child this April, a post by Wendy Bailey:
The social life of a military brat is a lot different than a traditional childhood. A military brat will usually move much more often than civilian families and may live on a military base. These factors can make childhood a little more challenging since it can be difficult to change schools and meet new friends. There are definitely some positive factors in being a military brat, however.
The social life of a military brat can provide expanded horizons that include being able to visit new countries and become immersed in the culture when the military members of the household are stationed overseas. Of course, not all military families live in an international location. Many families are also stationed within the United States, typically on one of the many military bases throughout the country.
Some military bases also have schools right on the base, while others send children to the schools surrounding the base. Children may not realize it, but spending their life surrounded by those in uniform impacts their life forever. Military brats have a unique bond and culture that provides them with a unique perspective on life, friends and career options.
Friends and Moving:
One aspect of the social life of a military brat that can be difficult is frequent moves that leave friends and family far behind. At times, they can experience feelings of anxiety and stress. It can be hard for kids to move often, but living on the base can provide kids with friends that have similar challenges and outlooks on life. Life changes for the military brat aren't always bad. In fact, the lifestyle can help children develop good coping skills and adapt to change more readily both now and in the future.
The social life of a military brat can also include participation in sports and other activities at school. Moving during the middle of the school year may affect team participation in schools where the space for the team members is limited, or if the child misses try-outs or other important dates. These challenges can also impact a child and how they experience their relationships with other kids off base.
The military base that a child calls home is an important influence in the social life of a military brat. There may be playgroups, events, and sports available for the kids living on the base. The families living on the base are typically a tight-knit community that look out for one another. This caring attitude is definitely one of the most positive aspects of living in a military community.
When considering the life of a military brat you also need to consider the child and his or her personality. Some children love the excitement and adventure of seeing new cultures and regions while others may not be so appreciative. Outgoing children may be able to make new friends easily, while shy kids may have a harder time. The active social life of any child will vary based on the child, and it is no different for those living a military lifestyle.
The social life of a military brat is different than those who are living a traditional lifestyle, but the military lifestyle has just as many rewards as challenges. Taking the time to understand your child can be vital to ensuring they have the adjustment skills needed to adapt to the military lifestyle.