As part of your Soldier’s circle of support, you know firsthand—or have heard from other Army Families—about the worries, difficulties, and challenges that are brought upon by deployments.
The Circle of Support Workbook, and its accompanying modules, offers you ways to adjust to deployment that will have a positive impact on you, your loved one, and your Family. Each chapter will identify ideas, actions, and resources that you can use to face the challenges of physical separation and sustain your and your Family’s resilience.
These modules were designed based on the input of Family members like you. The topics included are those that your peers felt are most important to making deployment more manageable. You can do the modules at your own pace and in the order that works best for you.
1. Basic Problem Solving
This chapter gives you solid problem-solving steps to solve problems big and small. These skills may also prevent you from adding unnecessary stress to your relationship with your deployed partner and make you feel more confident, too.
2. Practical Issues
Here, you can learn helpful hints and resources to help you manage day-to-day problems without having your loved one to consult. With practice, you will be able to identify problems in a way that allows creative and successful solutions to the practical problems you meet without adding stress to your life.
3. Communication Skills
Although you will not physically be with your spouse during deployment, it is important for the well-being of both of you to continue to emotionally support one another. The goal of this section is to help you make that communication effective and supportive for you both.
4. Assertive Communication and Finding Help
There are some basic steps to learning how to communicate in an assertive way. The more you practice these steps, the comfortable they will become for you. Knowing how to find resources and how to ask for help using assertive communication skills will make the most of the benefits available to you. Being organized and purposeful will enable you to make the best use of your resources.
5. Conflict Resolution
Learning helpful conflict resolution skills can improve all our social relationships. Learning to politely disagree and work through problems is one of the most important social skills we can develop. The same steps you use in negotiating Family roles can be used negotiating with friends, Family, and others. This same process can also be used after deployment when your loved one returns home.
6. Social Media
Social media and texting can help build relationships, but it can also destroy them. It can spread important news or lies. It can be used to raise money for worthy causes or steal money from unsuspecting charitable people. By reading this chapter, you will educate yourself about this medium and the positive and negative impacts it can have on your life.
7. Emotional Adjustment to Deployment
One way to deal with stress is to have a positive outlook, to see the things that are stressful in a different way. Another way to deal with stress is to learn mood management techniques. Learn about several tools to help you adjust your feelings and enjoy life more fully.
8. Recognizing Resilience
Resilience is the capacity of individuals to navigate their way to resources that sustain their physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and family well-being. You can be a model for your children and for other Family and friends in their own life situations. You may not always feel strong and in control, but you can learn methods that help you keep moving forward.
9. Managing Excess Stress
Understanding stress and our reactions to it is a good first step to finding effective ways to manage the challenges of deployment. Using stress management strategies can help you feel both physically and emotionally stronger as you progress through deployment and as you face any of life’s challenges.
10. Taking Care of You
Taking care of you comes in many forms: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and Family. It is appreciating yourself and living a healthy lifestyle. It is setting personal goals for yourself. It is allowing yourself the opportunity to experience a more rewarding life regardless of the challenges that occur.
11. Family Roles
Deployment changes the Family roles and responsibilities. Roles must be clearly established and explained, Family members must be flexible and expect the unexpected, role distribution must be fair, and Family members must behave responsibly and strive to do their best.
12. Enhancing Your Commitment
During deployment, relationships may become strained because of the emotional stress of physical separation. The steps you each take will help you both feel secure in your commitment. This chapter will help you navigate the changes of deployment and keep the emotional bond you and your spouse share.
During deployment, children encounter the normal daily struggles of growing up but with the additional stress of an absent parent. Your child’s resilience depends greatly on your own. By using the tools and strategies of this workbook, you become a greater model for your children. This chapter outlines some strategies specifically for helping children navigate the changes of deployment.
14. Post Deployment
Emotional and behavioral changes may be part of your life post-deployment, at least for the short term. There were adjustments with roles and responsibilities, and those may continue during reintegration. You can use the strategies you learn in this book, such as problem solving, assertive communication, active listening, role negotiation, and finding help, to help you successfully manage the changes brought on by post-deployment.