When I was growing up, my dad was in the Air Force. Nearly all the schools I attended until college had a connection to the military. We were all kids of men and women in the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Navy. I remember being friends with someone for a year, and then the next year they would have moved. It was all pretty normal, and as kids and even as teenagers (young adults), we often felt that we didn’t have much of choice. Below are some of the things that other military kids and young adults and I have experienced.
You switch schools often and face difficulties as the newcomer each time.
The first obstacle you face is where to sit. Then there are the awkward introductions and trying to make new friends. Also, you have to learn your teachers’ names and memorize your schedule.
You, or someone you know, has their parents deployed.
When a parent goes away for a lengthy period of time, you feel sad and worried. I was lucky that my dad worked in an office, but if your dad (or mom) was deployed for war, you had no way of knowing whether he or she would come home safe or not. However, when the parent came back, my friends were really happy to see them safe. It was like a holiday seeing your parent again!
Some places you don’t have friends.
When you’re the new kid in the middle of every year and every one of your classmates already made their friend group, you might end up without friends at your new school. You miss your previous school and the memories you made with your friends there. Sure, it’s lonely. You just have to know you might have differences, but your new classmates aren’t that different from you.
Feeling sad if you have close friends because you know you’ll have to leave them behind.
As the child of a military serviceman or servicewoman, it’s rare that you have close friends. This is because military families move around a lot. Staying in place for long is rare.
No time for dating.
This is a topic that gets glossed over a lot of discussions of military children. When some teenagers from non-military families remained couples for a long time, those of us from military families were afraid to date because we might not see that person again. It’s not that we don’t want to meet that special someone to have a relationship. Rather, it’s possible to meet someone you like and be told to pack your suitcases the next day.
The life of a military kid is a unique one with many challenges. It can be lonely at times. Having a parent in any of the military branches means that most military children move around a lot. This puts obstacles in the way of forming friendships.