There's plenty more where they came from.
Conservatives preach that we need to do everything possible to care for the all of God's little children, from eradicating divorce to demanding that all parents are married to ensuring that parents will always be encouraged to pull themselves and their children up by their own bootstraps. Strangely, they do not mention one group of Americans whose children suffer as much, if not more, than all those ungodly liberals who don't care how their policies affect The Children. From The National Center For Children In Poverty at Columbia University:
The war bloggers have all moved on to better, if not bigger, battles, such as the War on Women and the War on the Poor. They have carefully mended their reputations with belated horror or shrugged off the past or moved on to the next war. Authoritarian leaders and followers love war because it gives them power. They will not give up that chance to grab more power without a fight.
More than two million American children have had a parent deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan.14
- At least 19,000 children have had a parent wounded in action.15
- Over 2,200 children have lost a parent in Iraq or Afghanistan.16
Impact of Deployments on Children’s Mental Health
Children in military families experience high rates of mental health, trauma and related problems.
Military life can be a source of psychological stress for children. Multiple deployments, frequent moves and having a parent injured or die is a reality for many children in military families.
Wartime parental deployments can be one of the most stressful events of a child’s life.17
- Changes reported included changes in school performance, lashing out in anger, worrying, hiding emotions, disrespecting parents and authority figures, feeling a sense of loss, and symptoms consistent with depression.18
- High levels of sadness were seen in children in all age groups.19
- Depression was seen in about one in four children.20
- Academic problems occurred in one in five children.21
- Thirty-seven percent of children with a deployed parent reported that they seriously worry about what could happen to their deployed caretaker.22
- Parents reported that one in five children coped poorly or very poorly to deployment separation.23
- Media coverage of the war posed a significant source of stress for children and makes it much more difficult for children to cope with a parent’s deployment.24
Length of deployment was associated with mental health problems including depression, acting out, and externalizing behaviors.25
What Service Use Data Show
Service use data also indicate high need for mental health services and supports among the offspring of military personnel.
- Outpatient mental health visits provided to children of active duty parents doubled from one million to two million between 2003 and 2008.26
- Total days of inpatient psychiatric care for children of active duty personnel 14 and under increased from 35,000 in 2003 to 55,000 in 2008.27
- One-third of children with a deployed parent were at “high-risk” for psychosocial issues.28
Factors associated with the negative impact of deployment on children and youth include age, the mental health of the remaining parent, re-integration, and employment status.
Age as a Risk Factor
Current research shows that a child’s response to a parent’s deployment varies by age, phase of deployment, gender, as well as other family factors. The research is mixed: but the stress of war affects children even prior to their birth.
- Wives of deployed personnel experience more stress, a factor known to increase risk for medical complications of pregnancy.29
- Children ages 3 to 5 with a deployed parent exhibited greater behavioral symptoms than did peers without a deployed parent.30
- Children of military families ages 11 to 17 were found to have a higher prevalence of emotional and behavioral difficulties than children in the general population.31
- Parental deployment places school-age children and adolescents at higher risk for a range of adverse mood and behavioral changes: anger, apathy, anxiety, depression, withdrawal, decline in school performance, loss of interest in normal activities, and social isolation.32
But a war orphan never forgets, and some never forgive. And it's not a good idea to fight someone with a soldier's blood in their veins.