Robyn Mincher, DCoE Strategic Communications on July 29, 2011
(From left) Military kids Jared, Sean and Kyle Hesketh pose with their dad, Air Force Capt. William Hesketh, on the day he leaves for deployment. (Courtesy photo)
Military children face unique challenges: the absence of a deployed parent, multiple moves to new cities and schools, and concerns about a parent’s safety—just to name a few.
We asked seven military children how they coped with these transitions and emotions.
Meet Sean Thornton, 13, whose guardian grandfather, retired Marine Staff Sgt. Hector Medina (previously featured in the DCoE newsletter), deployed to Iraq twice. Kyle Hesketh, 16, and his younger brothers, twins Jared and Sean, 11, have lived in two countries and four cities. Their father, Air Force Capt. William Hesketh, is stationed at Lajes Field, Azores (Portugal). Siblings William Whitaker, 21; Marinda Hicks, 13; and Andrew Hicks, Jr., 9, have grown up in a military lifestyle with their mother, Navy Lt. Teresa Mae Hicks. The family has experienced multiple deployments, and Lt. Hicks is currently stationed at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
Tips to Cope with Deployment:
“I would email him and he’d call every week from overseas. My grandma and I would send him stuff like magazines and his favorite candy or DVDs.”
– Sean Thornton
“Keep busy and Skype whenever you can—it’s good seeing my dad on the computer. I talk to my family, friends and teachers when he’s away. I like to play sports and tell my dad all about my games.” – Jared Hesketh
“When my mom went out on deployment, I was young but I do remember missing her and always tried to keep in touch. Skype was a big thing and seeing her on the computer made it feel like she never left.”
– Andrew Hicks, Jr.
On Moving to a New City:
“Basketball was one way I made friends, and it’s my mom’s favorite sport. It felt great to play on a team and make her proud. I’d say do things that would make your parents proud.” – William Whitaker
“When you move to a new place and want friends, just be yourself and join things you are interested in. Get to know the teachers and let them know if you were taught differently at your previous school so you can stay on track with your school work.” – Kyle Hesketh
“I am somewhat reserved; so making new friends isn’t the easiest thing for me to do. [But] I love the travel aspect of it all; I love adventure and new things.” – Marinda Hicks
“I like that we get to go to different places and sometimes it’s tough because we have to move away from our friends and family. This year, I’m starting a new middle school. I like to talk, so I make friends easily.”
– Sean Hesketh
On Sharing Your Feelings:
“I come from a military family, so it’s easy when you have cousins who can relate and talk to you about the emotions that come with someone going on deployment.” – Marinda Hicks
“I try not to worry too much. My grandma says he’ll be fine with his Marine buddies, and they will come back home soon once the work is done. I don't talk that much about it, but my friends know and they understand.” – Sean Thornton
Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) supports resources that help military children through these potential challenges. Download the Children of Military Service Members Resource Guide, and visit Sesame Workshop’s “Talk, Listen, Connect” site for information and resources the entire family can use. Check out our April newsletter which focuses on military children, specifically this article about resources for children coping with transitions.