The Life of a Single Parent in the Military

Just as with civilians who are single parents, you will find that military single parents are also presented with the same stressors and hardships. Many people think that just because the parent is in the military, the military will take care of them and their families, however it should be remembered that these soldiers chose this career with the purpose of serving their country, not with the attitude that the military will take care of them. They must function as any other single parent family, which is a difficult task indeed!

Also, the military single parent has to meet a great many expectations. One of the greatest expectations they face is that they must at all times conduct themselves in a manner befitting a United States soldier; duty, courage, and honor is their motto and must be maintained at all times.

One Person, Many Roles

Military ParentsMany couples meet while they are enlisted and at some point decide on marriage. Unfortunately, there are also many times that couples and marriages fall apart. This leaves one parent with the responsibility of raising their child or children. Whether it be the father or the mother, this is a daunting task. The one parent must take on many roles, such as being both father and mother, housekeeper, cook, and the most difficult of all which is being the sole financial provider. Another role that single military parents must take on (the same as civilian parents) is that of the disciplinarian. Except for the military parent, their children’s behavior must represent the basic core of decorum as is expected of all military personnel.

Family Care Plans

Active duty service members must make sure that they have an effective, well thought out family care plan. This involves having educational plans for your children, and preplanning where they would live and who would have custody if you were deployed. This could involve giving custody of their children to someone else. Having an effective and workable care plan makes all the difference, and offers a sense of security for family members while the service member is on deployment. Also, by having a family care plan in place, the soldier does not feel as stressed out even if they are not deployed. If the child or children are old enough to discuss the family care plan, it also gives them a sense of security in knowing where they would go and what events would fall into place. This is vitally important to children!

The policies regarding single parenthood in the military varies from service to service. There are often situations where service members on long-term active duty can have their children with them, and either base housing or military supplied off-base housing. This would be ideal of course, but not necessarily a sure thing. Another plus for single parent’s service members is that there may be some form of a support group available where they are stationed.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Teresa Agostino

Originally from Canada, Terri moved to the US at 16 and joined the Army Reserves at 17. She went active Army in 1991, and spent almost 2 years in Iraq as a program analyst for the Army Corps of Engineers. She currently works for the VA as an Accounts Management Supervisor. Terri has her MBA in HR management.
Teresa Agostino

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2 thoughts on “The Life of a Single Parent in the Military

  1. Hello,
    I came across your website while searching online about what the military has to offer for a single parent. My sister has two young kids, one with special needs. She has a good job lives on her own and has our family support, but wants to join the army. According to her it will help pay for her and her children’s college education. Plus also provide an even better job/ future. I think she is deceived and at the same time using as an excuse to escape the difficulties of being a single parent. Could I be wrong?
    Hope u nigh be able to shed some light on reality of life in the army for a single parent.

  2. Unless things have changed, to join as a single parent you have to sign over custody of your kids. Seriously though, what would she do with them for the 8 weeks of basic and then the anywhere from 3-6 months additional training? Then, if she is really unlucky, she could go from training straight to a deployment. Also, what if they station her somewhere away from friends and family? Who is going to help then? I wouldn’t recommend it.

    If you are in the military already and then become a single parent, it is different. Let me tell you, even that is not easy. Even if you are a single parent you can still get deployed and have to do training and field exercises. Either way you always have to have someone to watch your kids, sometimes for months at a time.

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