Even though many military youth try to cover it up, not think about it and NEVER talk about it, most kids worry something will happen to their mom or dad while they're deployed. You can make yourself kind of crazy worrying about them. Sometimes you might even try to psych yourself out — like if I write them every day then they'll be safe or if I watch the news then nothing bad will happen. And sometimes all that worry goes straight to your stomach or head. Some kids have more stomach aches or headaches as their body reacts to all the worry and tension.
It's really hard to accept that you can't help them stay safe. We humans are funny that way — we always want to DO something. We hate to feel helpless, that something so important is out of our control. Face it — we're going to worry. So we have to figure out how we can worry in a healthy way without the worry taking over our life.
- Practice letting go of the things you can't change by focusing instead on the things that you CAN control — you can write a letter, you can help your sister with her homework, you can read a book.
- Remind yourself that your mom or dad is surrounded by buddies who "have their back."
- Find someone to talk to even if they haven't "been there" — someone whose feelings you don't have to worry about protecting and who doesn't say "it'll be alright." Talk to your friends, and ask them if they worry when their parent leaves and how they handle the worry.