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Soldiers and families can suffer negative effects from modern communication technologies
Date:3/18/2013

n end up dealing with both the strain of warfare and concerns about a distant child."

On the other hand, children with a deployed parent who talked about deployment with a brother or sister tended to exhibit positive outcomes, according to the study. Houston suggested this shows the importance of children experiencing parental deployment having an opportunity to connect with other children in the same situation. Houston suggested parents experiencing deployment may wish to identify opportunities for their children to connect with other young people whose parents serve in the military.

The problems with communications between soldiers and their families weren't limited to the time during deployment. Distinct challenges arose before, during and after deployment, according to the study. Upon returning home, soldier-parents faced difficulties in communicating their experiences from wartime with their families.

"Children can tell when a parent is troubled," said Houston. "For soldiers stressed by memories of war or readjustment to civilian life, it helps to talk to children about what is going on. Obviously you do not want to overwhelm children with information that is not age appropriate, but if a parent is having difficulties and no one is talking about it, then children may often feel that they are in some way to blame for the parent's situation or that the parent is angry with them."

Houston plans to use this research to develop communication best practices for military personnel and their families. Houston hopes such guidelines can help military families utilize modern communication technologies to help cope with deployment and the subsequent return to civilian life.


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Contact: Tim Wall
walltj@missouri.edu
573-882-3346
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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