Being an All-Pro Parent while deployed

  • Published
  • By 48th Fighter Wing
  • Chapel Staff
This month is the time of year we celebrate the "military child." Our children endure a lot because of our choice in careers. They move frequently and deal with Mom or Dad being away from home, up to a year sometimes. However, through it all, our children continue to love us and stand by our sides. It is for this reason we honor and recognize them during the month of April. 

This is important since some of us will be leaving for deployments in the near future. It is especially important for parents to stay engaged with their children while deployed. Your chaplains recognize the high tempo during deployments, so we developed 10 steps to being an "All-Pro Parent" while deployed. The 10 major steps are taken from All-Pro Dads, an organization that encourages dads to stay involved in their children's lives. We developed the sub-points to help all of our military families. It is our hope you apply these steps while deployed so that your families will remain strong. 

Love your spouse
· Formulate one reason you love your spouse for each day you are separated. Send the reasons daily by email, if possible.
· Make as many regular encouraging phone calls as allowed.
· Send flowers--just because.
· Send gifts or cards on any holiday or special event while separated.
· Send your spouse poems or e-cards for encouragement and to let them know they are missed. You can search online for various e-card carriers.
· Send videos via email if the communication squadron has the capability.

Spend time with your children
· Have web cam meetings with your children, if it's possible.
· Send video tapes and emails to your children.
· Read a book with your child on the phone or via web cam.
· Talk with your children on the phone whenever you call home.
· Spend time with them before and after your deployment.
· Talk about homework on the phone or via web cam.
· Send daily emails of love.

Be a role model
· Talk with your children about opportunities you have had to help other people in your location. Send pictures of these events if you can.
· Talk about worship services, books you are reading and things you are doing to improve yourself.
· Always speak words of encouragement to your children while separated.
· Be faithful to God, your spouse and your family while deployed.

Understand your children
· Understand mood swings your children may have due to separation.
· Be encouraging when you speak to them.
· Compliment your children on their special talents and gifts.
· Praise them when they've done something special.

Show affection
· Send daily e-mails with reasons you love each child.
· Send gifts to your children during holidays, special occasions and "just because".
· Give children a jar of chocolate kisses and hugs. Invite them to grab a "hug" or "kiss" when they're missing you and visualize receiving a real one.
· Have a friend take your children to a favorite event.
· Always say "I love you" in phone conversations, emails and video clips.

Enjoy your children
· Request videos and photos of special family events. The next time you talk to them, tell your children how much you enjoyed seeing them do certain activities.
· Be joyful whenever you have the opportunity to speak with your child.

Eat together as a family
· Try to call at dinner time.
· Talk about favorite meals. Make plans for future meals together.
· Use a web cam during meals.

Discipline with a gentle spirit
· Support the other parent or guardian's discipline when you talk with your children.
· Always conclude with words of encouragement.

Pray and worship together
· Pray together on the phone or by web cam.
· Pick books of the Bible to read, then email questions and discus key points.
· Find websites with devotions. Cut and paste them in an email and send them to your children inviting their input.

Realize you're a parent forever
· Even on deployments, stay in touch with your children. This includes your adult children.
· Be involved in as much of your children's lives as possible.