|Reunions: Tips for Service Members Returning from Deployments, Mobilizations, or Other Separations
Source: Standard Installation Topic Exchange System (SITES) for LIFELines
- Plan on spending some time with the entire family doing family things, but be flexible if teens have some plans.
- Show interest and pleasure in how your family members have grown and mastered new skills in your absence and let them know you are proud of them. Comment on positive changes.
- Expect it will take a little time to become re-acquainted with your spouse. Be sure to tell them just how much you care about them.
- Resist the temptation to criticize. Remember that your spouse has been doing her or his best to run the household single-handedly and care for the children while you were gone.
- Take time to understand how your family may have changed during the separation. Go easy on child discipline - get to know what new rules your spouse may have set before you jump into enforcing the household rules.
- Don’t be surprised if some family members are a bit resentful of your deployment. Others often think of the deployment as more fun and exciting than staying at home - even if you know otherwise.
- Infants and small children may be shy or even fearful around you at first. Be patient and give them time to become reacquainted.
- Resist the temptation to go on a spending spree to celebrate your return. The extra money saved during deployment may be needed later for unexpected household expenses.
- Most importantly, make time to talk with your loved ones. Your spouse and each child need individual time and attention from you. Remember, focus on the positives and avoid criticism.
Communication will help to:
- Reestablish intimate and sexual relations
- Will help to bring you closer together
- Will help with accepting change
- Go slowly - don't try to make up for lost time
- Spend quality time with each family member
- Accept that your partner may be different
- Intimate relationships may be awkward at first
- Take time to get reacquainted
- Forget your fantasies
Helpful Web Sites:
DoD Deployment Connections Discusses every aspect of preparation for deployment and reunion for service and family members.
- Deployment Link Provides many links such as family team building and military readiness to help service members and their families deal with the stresses of deployment.
- Air Force Crossroads Family Readiness and Family Separation Numerous links for members and their families who are separated due to deployments, remote assignments, extended TDYs, natural disasters, and professional military education requirements.