Between frequent moves, the stress of deployment and financial concerns, the lives of military families are fraught with hardship. This is especially true for children, who sometimes may not be emotionally equipped to deal with the challenges. However, a website offered through the Department of Defense,, recently added new features aimed at providing parents and educators with the tools necessary to help youngsters navigate the obstacles of being in a military family.

The latest updates
The website already has a long history of success, having helped more than 125,000 visitors and won numerous awards for its services, and the new updates make it even more helpful. Among the changes is a series of videos and lesson plans that can provide educators with training on recognizing the different needs of military kids compared to their civilian peers. Other new features include graphic novels and documentaries made by military children about their experiences as well as new modules meant to help families process grief.

“After watching the interaction with kids on MilitaryKidsConnect this past year, we saw many conversations about trying to understand the issues they live with,” said Dr. Kelly Blasko, a psychologist for the DOD’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology. “We developed the added features to help parents and teachers answer the questions the kids were sharing with each other.”

A necessary resource
Given the higher levels of stress they face, it should come as no surprise that military children encounter many more emotional challenges than other kids their age, and a recent RAND Corporation study revealed just how true that is. The research was focused on 1,500 military children of parents who were both deployed or stationed at home. The team found that both groups of children are more likely to experience behavioral or emotional problems than their peers. Researchers also found that the longer a parent was deployed, the more likely it was for their children to experience problems.

“Much more work is needed to better understand these challenges and to improve ways to support children throughout the deployment cycle,” said Anita Chandra, the study’s lead author.

Experts estimate there are about 2 million children with a parent who is either in active duty or in the reserves, so websites such as MilitaryKidsConnect can reach a large audience.