International military service affects both the soldiers and their family. Increased worrying and the absence of one parent can turn familiar roles and behaviours upside-down. It is therefore important to support the entire family.
A systematic review looking at the consequences of deployment for the soldier, the partner at home and the children reported the following challenges as most frequent:
For the deployed:
- Before deployment: Concern about their own and the family’s safety
- During deployment: Missing and worrying about the family
- After returning home: Relationships problems, break-ups and adjustment problems
For the partner at home:
- Before deployment: Worries and a sense of unpredictability
- During deployment: Emotional challenges, desire for information and contact with the deployed. Challenges related to children’s reactions, everyday life and participation in the work force
For the children:
- Before deployment: Emotional reactions, need for predictability
- During deployment: Parents report various degrees of negative emotional reaction, but this is an area with large variations: An international literature review did not find any differences in problems between children of deployed parents compared to children of non-deployed parents.