Deployment Takes Toll on Military Moms and Teens

During the second deployment, her daughter fell in with the wrong crowd and considered dropping out of high school, Ternus said.

It took years to repair the relationship between mother and daughter, Ternus said. But they did, and her daughter, now 21, has made the dean's list at her college.

And the message from the study is not that mothers shouldn't deploy, Ternus said.

Rather, women need to make sure they choose a good role model for their children when they do deploy, perhaps even a non-family member. Also, women should seek help from the military through its "family readiness" programs, as well as other volunteer and private support programs for military families.

"Women find meaning in this work, just as a man finds meaning in this work," she said. "Like dads, moms feel they are contributing to a greater good in the world."

More information

The U.S. Department of Defense has more on resources for military families.

SOURCES: Mona Ternus, Ph.D., R.N., associate professor, George Mason University, Fairfax, Va., and lieutenant colonel, U.S. Air Force Reserve; Keith Armstrong, L.C.S.W., director, couples and family therapy, San Francisco VA Medical Center

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