Military Families Can Find Help When Struggling With The Holidays


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Thanksgiving feast

Lela Schlangen, Co-Editor

Having a parent or family member in the military can displace you in a lot of ways. Moving around a lot, every 3-4 years, less or more, is really rough. You can lose friends, move away from family, and lose your community entirely. In one placement you could be near family, and in another, you could be across the country from them. Personally, I went from family reunions every few months to being extremely far away from family. Holiday seasons in the past have been difficult without a lot of family especially when I had just moved into a new area. Thanksgiving went from a happy time to a slightly painful reminder of how small our circle became.

After getting used to it, it turns into normal. We found friends and people to spend time with on the holidays. However, it can still be hard, especially in a season that’s all about spending time with friends and family. Additional support is definitely necessary, and there are resources that can provide it. Military OneSource provides a phone number (800-342-9647) where you can ask real veterans questions about how to deal with military life. The U.S. Dept. of Defense website ( also provides resources for military spouses, single service members, and parents. No matter how difficult it can get, you never have to go through it alone, even if it feels that way. 

Besides moving, some families have parents or spouses that are deployed. Deployment itself can be a scary and sad thing to begin with; combining it with the absence of a loved one can make it even harder. You can reach out to Military OneSource for support in this matter too. It depends on the parent and the family, but for some people it’s normal and for others it’s devastating. Especially for children, who Christmas is largely about. Having a parent who’s absent can cause many types of mental health problems from a young age, and it can be significantly exacerbated by the holiday season. 

Having a military parent/spouse is difficult despite the age or relation to the serving person. It can be really worrying, and frustrating. With the right materials, these feelings can be managed and coped with, but even then, are still hard. Try to be considerate of those who may be struggling this season, even if they don’t look like it.