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 result from 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 provide ideas, actions and resources that you can use to face the challenges of physical separation and to 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 think are the most important for making deployments more manageable. You can do the modules at your own pace and in the order that works best for you.
This chapter gives you solid problem-solving steps to solve difficulties 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.
Here, you can learn helpful hints and find resources to help you manage everyday problems on your own. With practice, you will be able to identify problems in a way that allows you to devise creative and successful solutions without adding stress to your life.
Although you will not physically be with your partner during deployment, it is important for the well-being of both of you to continue to emotionally support each other. The goal of this section is to help you make your communication effective and supportive for you and your partner.
There are basic steps to learning how to communicate assertively. The more you practice these, the more comfortable you will be in using them. Knowing how to find resources and how to ask for help by communicating assertively will enable you to make the most of the benefits available to you. By being organized and purposeful, you can make the best use of your resources.
Learning conflict-resolution skills can improve all social relationships. Learning to politely disagree and work through problems is one of the most important social skills. The same steps you use in negotiating Family roles can be used to bargain with friends, Family and others. This same process can be used after your loved one returns from a deployment.
Social media and texting can help build relationships, but it can also destroy them. These methods of communication can spread important news or lies. They 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 these mediums and the positive and negative effects they can have on your life.
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 cope is to learn mood management techniques, which can help you adjust your feelings and enjoy life more fully.
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 members and friends. You may not always feel strong and in control, but you can learn methods that help you to keep moving forward.
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 life challenge.
Taking care of yourself comes in many forms: physical, emotional, social, spiritual and Family. It is appreciating yourself and living a healthy lifestyle. It is setting personal goals. It is allowing yourself the opportunity to experience a more rewarding life regardless of daily challenges.
Deployment changes Family roles and responsibilities. Roles must be clearly established and explained as well as distributed fairly. Family members must be flexible, expecting the unexpected, behave responsibly and strive to do their best.
During deployment, relationships may become strained because of the emotional stress of physical separation. The steps that each of you takes will help you both feel secure in your commitment. This chapter will help you to navigate the changes of deployment and to 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 can become a greater role model for your children. This chapter outlines strategies specifically for helping children navigate the changes of 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 assistance, to help you successfully manage the changes of life post-deployment.