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Minnesota National Guard
Workshops Help Soldiers Face a Hostile Force: Their Children

by Tom Henderson (Subscribe to Tom Henderson's posts)
May 3rd 2011 4:30PM

Soldiers returning home from war often face another hostile force their own children

Deployment can take a bitter toll on children, resulting in anger and resentment and reflecting in inappropriate and even destructive behavior

Researchers at the University of Minnesota want to make sure brave soldiers remain effective parents, so they're holding a series of workshops to help them identify and respond to specific problems being away from their children can cause

Minnesota Public Radio reports many of the soldiers are among the 2,400 men and women from the Minnesota Army National Guard scheduled to go to Kuwait next month

In the workshops, public radio reports, soldiers learn how their children might become angry and lash out at them and the world in general They practice techniques to deal with that anger rather than returning fire

The program, called ADAPT (After Deployment, Adaptive Parenting Tools), is based on another program called Oregon Parent Management Training

Lead researcher Abi Gewirtz tailored the program to military families

"It's a parenting intervention that has been shown to be very, very effective at supporting parenting in other contexts, so our test is to see whether it works at promoting children's resilience in this context," she tells Minnesota Public Radio

To tell if the program is effective, researchers will work with 400 military families with kids between the ages of 5 and 12 over the next four years Some of the families will learn the new parenting techniques, while the rest will just get resources normally offered to military parents

Researchers will track the families to see if the training is effective

Thad Shunkwiler, a 27-year-old National Guardsman, tells Minnesota Public Radio the classes have already proven helpful for him As a soldier, he is trained not to let emotions interfere with his actions under pressure

"All of your training in the military is to react -- react, react, react, react, react Not respond Not think about it It's to react," Shunkwiler tells public radio

So dealing the children's emotions is whole new battle, he adds

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http://www.parentdish.com/2011/05/03/soldiers-face-a-hostile-force-their-children/



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