A 501 (c) 3 foundation formed to support the families of our military.
Mission Statement: Through the modem of aerospace education we open the doors of opportunity. Teens-In-Flight provides flight training and aviation maintenance scholarships to those teens who have lost a parent in the Global War on Terrorism or, is the teen of a parent who was wounded in action and is disabled. Another phase of our program also focuses on selected teens that are considered "at risk" within our community by providing a positive aviation intervention experience.
WE DO WHAT WE DO
children face more emotional challenges as parental deployments grow longer,
Published: Monday, December 7, 2009 - 01:50 in Psychology & Sociology
military families may suffer from more emotional and behavioral difficulties
when compared to other American youths, with older children and girls struggling
the most when a parent is deployed overseas, according to a new RAND Corporation
study. Researchers found that having a parent deployed for a longer period of
time and having a non-deployed parent who has struggled with emotional problems
were important factors associated with whether military children would struggle
themselves, according to the study published online by the journal Pediatrics.
findings are from a RAND survey that examined the wartime well-being of 1,500
children from military families from across the nation, surveying both the
children and a non-deployed parent or other caregiver.
study suggests that children of deployed service members face emotional and
behavioral challenges," said Anita Chandra, the study's lead author and a
behavioral scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "While
this finding may seem intuitive, our study begins to shed more light on the
nature of the problem. Much more work is needed to better understand these
challenges and to improve ways to support children throughout the deployment
RAND study is the largest to date that explores how the children of military
members are faring academically, socially and emotionally during an extended
period of wartime. The project was commissioned by the National Military Family
Association, an independent nonprofit group that provides support and services
to military families.
nation did not anticipate such protracted conflicts. We owe it to military
families to better understand and address the challenges they are facing today,
and may face tomorrow," said Mary Scott, chairman of the board of governors
of the National Military Family Association. "By commissioning this
research, we are taking the first steps to do just that."
researchers say the study was intended to provide a broad snapshot of the
challenges facing military children and their families, particularly during
deployment. In 2009, about 2 million U.S. children had a parent in either the
active or reserve component of the military.
found that across all age groups, children from military families reported
significantly higher levels of emotional difficulties than children in the
general population. In addition, about one-third of the military children
surveyed reported symptoms of anxiety, somewhat higher than the percentage
reported in other studies of children.
types of problems that children reported varied by age and gender. Older youths
had more difficulties with school and more problem behaviors such as fighting,
while younger children reported more symptoms of anxiety, according to the
study. Girls had fewer problems in school and with friends, but reported more
anxiety than boys.
longer the period of time a parent had been deployed over the previous three
years, the greater the chance that a child reported difficulties related to
deployment such as taking on more responsibilities at home.
findings suggest that the more time parents are away, the more likely it is that
children will experience problems" said Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo, a study
co-author and RAND researcher.
impact of more cumulative months of deployment was more pronounced among girls,
particularly during the reintegration period once a parent returns home.
Researchers say this may be linked to girls taking on additional household
duties when a parent is deployed and issues related to connecting emotionally
with an absent parent, who is usually a father.
said researchers also were somewhat surprised to find that older children
reported so many problems related to a parental deployment. Most earlier studies
that examined military children focused on the problems experienced by younger
study's findings that the emotional health of a non-deployed parent is closely
linked with the emotional well-being of their children suggests that more
services may be needed for the spouses of those who are deployed, Chandra said.
researchers surveyed families that applied in 2008 for the National Military
Family Association's "Operation Purple" camp, a free program for
military children held at 63 sites across the nation. The mission of the
Operation Purple program is to help children cope with the stresses of war. More
than 12,000 children applied for the camps. More than 4,000 families were
invited to participate in the RAND study.
findings published by Pediatrics represent the first results from an
ongoing project that is following military children for 12 months, surveying
children and their families on three occasions to chart behavior and emotional
issues over time. Results from the follow-up surveys will be reported in
those surveyed, about 57 percent of the children studied had a parent in the
Army, 20 percent in the Air Force and 17 percent in the Navy. The remainder had
parents in the Marines or Coast Guard. About 63 percent of the parents were in
the active component, with the rest in the National Guard or Reserve. The study
found no significant differences among children based on what service a parent
served in or whether they were a part of the active or reserve component of the
95 percent of the children surveyed had experienced at least one parental
deployment over the three years before the start of the study and nearly 40
percent had a parent deployed at the time of the interview. Ages of the children
ranged from 11 to 17 and 47 percent were girls.
Stress of war takes
mental toll on military kids
Children of deployed service members at risk of
Stress, strain on military families
p.m. PT, Thurs.,
Aug 13, 2009
years-long U.S. commitment in Iraq and Afghanistan is taking a significant toll
on the children of service members, who are 2½ times more likely to develop
psychological problems than American children in general, new research
study, published this week in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral
Pediatrics, found that deployment of a parent was correlated to high stress
levels in the parent who remains at home, which it said was linked to greater
psychological impact on children.
findings open a new window on the collateral damage wartime deployment can exact
back at home.
deployment puts kids at high risk for problems
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A third of military children surveyed who
have a parent deployed in a war zone are at "high risk" for
psychological problems, according to a new study by military doctors and
The study, published in the Journal of Developmental and
Behavioral Pediatrics, surveyed military spouses of deployed Army soldiers
with school-age children, aged 5 to 12. The questionnaire appraised the
strain on the family of dealing with a parent deployed to the war zone.
Results found that stress levels were high for children and
spouses of deployed troops but also that support networks from military to
religious helped mitigate the problems.
The number of children found to be high-risk is more than 2½
times the national level and higher than historical military samples.
The authors surveyed 101 families in what they said was the first
such evaluation since September 11, 2001, and the start of the Afghanistan
and Iraq wars. Overall, there are more than 2 million U.S. military
children, many of whom have parents who have deployed multiple times --
deployments that, for the first time since the Vietnam War, can occur as
little as 12 months after returning from a previous deployment.
The study focused on families of active-duty soldiers living on
base at Fort Lewis, Washington, and is just a "small snapshot,"
said one of the authors, Col. Beth Ellen Davis. She is the chief of
Developmental Services at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma,
Davis said that more studies would have to be done to understand
the impact on military children in other circumstances, like those with
parents in other services, living off-base or in the National Guard, but
that the results point to a problem nobody could deny.
"Children struggle when their parents deploy. I don't think
anyone will struggle with that," Davis said.
The survey quantified what Davis had seen anecdotally in her work
at the hospital.
"My perception in the school-age range and pre-school-age
range was that how the at-home parent is doing is most predictive of how
the child is coping," Davis said.
Almost half of the spouses surveyed were found to have a high
level of stress, which the authors say has a significant impact on their
child's ability to cope.
Parents surveyed said their children experienced a number of
symptoms including "internalizing symptoms" like anxiety,
frequent crying and worrying.
Interestingly, it is the return from deployment that is most
stressful, according to three-quarters of those surveyed.
"On reunification, there is excitement, anticipation and
relief, occasionally followed by emotional conflict as the service member
reintegrates back into the family," wrote the surveyors.
Effects of deployment on families can be seen beyond the Fort
At Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Gia Ellis'
husband is deployed to Afghanistan
for the second time. The mother of two said the return home is as
stressful as the deployment itself.
"Trying to relinquish some of the responsibilities that
we've had to take on and give it back to them," Ellis said last
month. She was not a participant in the stress survey. "Letting go is
very difficult. Very difficult to share the responsibility with your
spouse and, 'Oh, yeah, you're in this family? I forgot.' "
Ellis said that this deployment has been easier on her in part
because she is living on the base and has access to a support network of
wives and staff.
The strain on families during the reintegration has parallels to
families with spouses who travel a lot for business, said Frederic Medway,
distinguished professor emeritus of psychology at the University of South
Medway, who has studied the effects of family integration in
military and non-military families, agreed with the new study's conclusion
that there is a greater chance of family problems when the spouse comes
"That is when the husband and wife actually fight and talk
about stuff," Medway said. "The service member comes back and
doesn't feel a part of it and returns with his own baggage."
Much work still needs to be done to assess how these
psychological effects play out over time, Medway said. His studies on
families of the first Gulf War found that reintegration problems played
out in a period lasting around six months to year.
Medway said that it is hard to compare studies from different
wars but that duration does point to a key problem in the current
conflicts, since many troops are redeploying after a year, meaning the
family never really gets a chance to settle back down.
One surprising result of the new study was what factors were
predictors of high-risk impact. Parents with a college education were less
likely to have children at risk, and younger parents fared worse. Those
with college education who were also employed had significantly less
stress, which the study authors suggested could be a result of having
access to additional support networks, adult interactions and income to
Length of deployment, military rank and children's age did not
have an impact.
Medway said that one reason for the effect of education could be
that those in lower social classes tend to deal with more mental health
and marital issues in general.
"How far is the rubber band going to stretch?" Medway
asked. Pre-existing problems are compounded by deployment.
Davis, co-author of the Fort Lewis-based survey, said that what
the study revealed was that those feeling the brunt of the stress were
younger families, which are the bulk of enlisted soldiers.
"What comes with enlistment is usually junior-ranking
high-school graduates getting by enough to support a family but often
times not (to) support child care outside the home," Davis explained.
That demographic has higher stress because they lack support networks.
Davis said the study highlights the need to understand the impact
of deployment on these at risk groups and make sure they have the support
they need and "not assuming that everyone has the same needs."
She noted that there are resources for families and that more
effort is being made to reach out to those who most need help
"whether they ask for it or not."
children face more emotional challenges as parental deployments grow longer,
Published: Monday, December 7, 2009 - 01:50 in Psychology & Science