Military Resource Center
Wars have brought unprecedented challenges to military families all over the world. Nearly 800,000 service members and their 2 million children have experienced the psychological drain of multiple, prolonged deployments.
In collaboration with the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation, Inc., TLC is working to improve the quality of life for military children and families.
Here we have collected practical, relevant resources at no cost to parents and caregivers, as well as for the professionals who work with them. These free online resources include:
- Information on typical grief and trauma reactions, and the difference between the two.
- Ways parents can help their child deal with specific concerns, such as deployment, grief, relocation, homecoming, family, etc.
- Activities to engage children, adolescents and adults.
- Downloadable PDF worksheets and activities.
- Helpful links to other websites and resources.
- A list of available specialists across the country.
When You Need More Than Resources
While this is primarily a web-based service, military families may also contact TLC's clinical consulting staff for support and guidance.
TLC staff members are available to:
- Help parents evaluate where a child stands on the continuum of grief and trauma.
- Offer parents support and guidance; provide information for additional resources.
- Refer parents to a TLC Certified Trauma and Loss Clinical Specialist in their area.
We've also compiled a list of military trauma specialists who can help you.
Articles and Research
Here we have compiled several of our articles and research to help you and your family deal with a parent’s deployment, relocation, homecoming and more.
Here we have activities for you to do at home with your child in order to help them understand and move through their worry, grief, fear and anger.
Links to other activities
- Resources for Adults from Military Families Near and Far
- Self Expression Activities from Military Families Near and Far
- Printable Activities from Military Families Near and Far
- Military Kid Award
- Free Downloadable Activities for Adults from militaryfamily.com
- Free Downloadable Activities for Children from military family.com
- Useful Resources for Teens and Youth from Armed Forces Crossroads: Supporting the Military Community
- Activities from PBS Kids: Helping Miltary Families Cope with Change
- Fun Crafts for Kids During Deployment
- Activities, Programs and Resources for Military Children
- Getting Your Veteran Back on Track article
We recommend a number of books designed to help you and your family work through their feelings related to having a family member in the military.
- "Brave Bart: A Story for Grieving and Traumatized Children"
By Caroline H. Sheppard (1998)
This beautifully illustrated children's storybook about Brave Bart, a kitty who had something bad, sad and scary happen to him. Helping Hannah helps Brave Bart overcome his fears and become a survivor.
- "Shadow Moves: A Story for Families and Children Experiencing a Difficult Move"
By Caroline H. Sheppard (2003)
Be a “witness” to learn what moving is like for a child. Helps to work through fears and worries about moving.
- "I Miss You! A Military Kids Book About Deployment"
By Beth Andrews (2007)
Children’s book about deployment. Designed to help children but also their parents during deployment, also helpful in helping children express and cope with feelings.
- "Military Life: Stories and Poems for Children"
By Peggie Brott, Alison Buckholtz, Judy Hissong, Amy Houts, Jennifer Jesseph, Charlene Kochensparger, Julie LaBelle, Christy Lyon, Karen Paylicin, Donna Portelli, Cindy Shaw, Michelle Tonsmeire (2010)
Collection of stories and poems regarding aspects of military life from a child’s point of view.
- "Off to War: Voices of Soldiers’ Children"
By Deborah Ellis (2008)
Using interviews, children discuss how the experience of having a parent fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan has shaped their lives.
- "My Dad’s a Hero"
By Rebecca Christiansen, Jewel Armstrong & Jen Robertson (2007)
Children’s book which addresses any child whose father is serving in the military away from home.
- "Deployment: Strategies for Working with Kids in Military Families"
By Karen Petty, PhD (2009)
Book for adults and military personnel who work with or care for children who experience separation through deployment, death, or divorce.
- "Military Kids Speak: Celebrating the Way You Think About Being a Military Kid"
By Julie Rahm (2011)
Book outlining what it takes to be a military kid, what it means to be a part of a military family, the difficulties of deployment, and what the kids of American servicemen and women have to say.
- "My Hero: Military Kids Write About Their Moms and Dads"
By Allen Appel, Mike Rothiller (2008)
Collection of essays from children whose parents are serving or have served in the military.
- "Night Catch"
By Brenda Ehrmantraut (2005)
A children’s book that connects families while they are apart. When a soldier is away he uses the North Star for a nightly game of catch with his son.
- "Confessions of a Military Wife"
By Mollie Gross (2009) Book for adults taking a look at the life of the new generation military wife.
- "Kids Coping with War: How Young People React to Military Conflict"
By Michael S. Prokop
- "My Mommy Wears Combat Boots"
By Sharon McBride (2008)
Children’s book from mothers in uniform that are looking for a way to explain to their children the emotions that go a long with deployment and a way to positively cope with those emotions
- "A Cup of Comfort for Military Families: Stories that Celebrate Heroism on the Home Front"
By Colleen Sell (2008)
Book for adults that celebrates heroism, read about the pride that is felt when a loved one chooses to put their needs aside for the benefit of the country.
- "Operation Military Family: How Military Couples are Fighting to Preserve Their Marriages"
By Michael J.R. Schindler, Shannon Evans (2011)
Book for adults following several families through the challenges they faced during deployment and homecoming. Also provides resources, relationship skill building and how other couples strengthened their marriages
- "The Invisible String"
By Patricia Karst (2000)
- "The Kissing Hand"
by Audrey Penn
Book for children ages 3 and up to address separation
Children’s book for ages 3 and up written to address children’s fear of being apart from the ones they love.
- "The Treasure of Staying Connected for Military Couples"
By Janel Lange (2004)
This short book gives tips for strengthening relationships and success stories of couples who have weathered the storm of military separation.
- "When Duty Calls: A Handbook for Families Facing Military Separation"
By Carol Vandesteeg (2005)
This book helps families learn what to expect as they prepare for deployment, how to communicate while separated, keeping the live alive between spouses, helping children through the separation and reuniting at the end of the tour of duty
- "What on Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies?"
By Trevor Romain
Book and DVD for ages 5 and up. Offers comfort and reassurance that children need during these difficult times.
- "When Someone Very Special Dies"
By Marge Heegaard
Book written for children ages 9 and up, helps children to understand the concept of death and develop coping skills
- "What to Do When You’re Scared and Worried"
By James Crist
Book for an adult to use with children about worries and fears
- "A Kiss Goodbye"
By Audrey Penn
Book for children ages 3 and up to address a family move
- "Why Would Someone Want to Die?" by Rebecca C. Schmidt
We have also compiled a list of other sites, articles and more that provides beneficial information about having a parent or family member in the armed forces.
- Military Family
Support and guidance to active-duty and retired military members and to military familes
- Military Families Near and Far
Free resources and tools for military families
- Military Resources for All Service Members
Information and resources for military service members and families.
- PTSD & Secondary Wounding
Information on healing, PTSD and secondary wounding
- Military Kids Speak
Resources for military kids including information on book series that will help encourage, inspire and let military kids know that they are not alone
- Operation Home Front
Programs, assistance, services and resources for military families.
- One Tough Job
Online resource for parents
- Resources for Military Children
Resources for military children affected by deployment
- Military One Source
Free service provided by the Department of Defense to active duty, guard and reserve service members and their families. Provides information on deployment, reunion, relationships, grief, spouse employment, education, parenting, child care and more.
- Deployment for Kids
Resources and activities for kids affected by deployment
- Surviving Deployment
Resource for adults regarding deployment
- Military Child Education Coalition
Information on educational opportunities for all military children affected by mobility, family separation and transition
- Dads at a Distance
Website designed to help fathers who are away from their children continue to strengthen their relationships with their children
- Married to the Army
Information and resources for Army families
- Armed Services YMCA
Specialized programs and support services to military service members and their families. Military nonprofit organization designed to make military life easier
- National Military Family Association
Nonprofit organization focusing on issues important to military families: education, reconnecting, deployment and more
- Until Everyone Comes Home/ Sesame Street Experience
Information on The Sesame Street/USO Experience for military families, free traveling tour based on Sesame Street’s military family initiative
- Joining Forces
Resource to help servicemen and women, veterans and military spouses find jobs at home
- PTSD Telehealth Counseling
- Information on active-duty personnel and veterans being able to get mental health care wherever they are
- National Alliance for Grieving Children
More information on Grief support for children
- The Military Family Research Institute
The Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University provides information and tools for researchers, clinicians, professionals and those desiring to help military families
Wellness resources for military community
- National Center for PTSD
Center for research and education on the prevention, understanding and treatment of PTSD
- When a Parent Goes to War
Article on when parents go to war
- Coping with Fear
Helping your child cope with fears when a parent goes to war
Article on Army Suicides
- SAMHSA and Military Families
SAMHSA supporting military service men and women. Designed to help military families and veterans deal with behavioral health issues
- Zero to Three: Military Family Projects
Information for military parents and information for those working with young military children from Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network
National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Includes the Military Fmaily Resource Area and Knowledge Bank, an online data base of resources that provide access to information for military family members, mental health and medical providers, educators and on the stressors facing military families and children.
- Warrior Voices
Article on veterans using writing to heal when suffering from PTSD. Veterans learn to write the words they could not speak. Article from New York Times 2/1/13
- American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
The Marriage and Family Therapy Counseling Directory
- Air Force Crossroads
Website gives information and support to service members and their families. Includes parenting tips, support networks for parents, activities and more.
- Military Family Projects
- Sesame Street Grief Toolkit
- Relationships and Reconnecting
More information on reconnecting between deployment and reunion
- Information for Families on How to Communicate about War Injuries
- Relocation Resources
- Resources to Assist with Military Housing and Relocation