Teachers Learn How To Help Kids From Military Families

Saying goodbye is never easy on a military family. There is the anxiety military couples feel when a loved one is faced with an assignment to the battlefield. In thousands of cases, kids are caught up too.

Often, teachers are faced with children acting out their feelings of separation.

Each deployment to Iraq brings new threats to every soldier. Each assignment offers different risks in a foreign land.

On top of that, there is concern for loved ones back home.

"There's about 4,600 kids at Ft. Carson right now that have a deployed parent," said Social Worker and Therapist Doug Lehman at a presentation at Colorado Springs School Tuesday afternoon.

Lehman's job at Fort Carson is to help children of servicemen and women cope with the strain of their parent’s departure. To teachers, he revealed the impact the repeated deployments have on so many kids and teens of parents in uniform.

There are feelings of fear, sadness and depression.

"As he presented information about adolescents, it just became overwhelming to think how many people are affected,” said Pre-Kindergarten teacher Karen Lawson.

Lawson has in her class a four-year-old with a father overseas, and after Tuesday’s presentation a new understanding about how kids show they're hurting.

"In the pre-kindergarten classroom we might see the sadness or the quietness of those students."

"They may say they're doing alright, but inside they may have those feelings that they're afraid and unsure of the future and that's good to be aware of," said teacher Lee Hesselberg.

Hesselberg’s lesson plans will include some in-class tips Lehmen suggested to increase feelings of repetition and normalcy, such as hands on activities and plenty time outside.

At the end of the day, these teachers know better that some little troopers feel the strain of battle.

"We need to not only think about kids in our classroom, but all through our school and give them as many positive strokes as we can," Hesselberg said.

The feelings Lehman said some of these kids might feel are normal. If parents or teachers are noticing some of these responses lasting longer than a month Lehman encourages parents to seek outside help for their children.

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  • by Kisha Location: Fort Carson on Sep 24, 2008 at 12:32 PM
    Doug Lehman knows what he is talking about. As a spouse with a deployed soldier all four of our children handle it in different ways. It is hard for us as adults but imagine being little and trying to cope. Hopefully teachers will try to be understanding to what the child is going through and do what they can to help.
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