Celebrating Military Kids and the Challenges They Overcome

Celebrating Military Kids and the Challenges They Overcome


USBA celebrates military kids, father and daughter in front of Air Force plane

The United States has more than 1.5 million active-duty family members, 61% of which are children/dependents.1 Every April, Month of the Military Child honors the sacrifice and bravery of the children of service members across all branches of the military.

Kids born into military life learn a kind of resilience and adaptability through life experiences that cannot be taught. Because of this challenging lifestyle, the dandelion has long been a hallmark symbol that embodies the qualities of this powerful community.

Dandelions put down roots almost anywhere and it is almost impossible to destroy. It is an unpretentious plant, yet good looking. It is a survivor in a broad range of climates.

Military children bloom everywhere the winds carry them. They are hardy and upright. Their roots are strong, cultivated deeply in the culture of the Military, planted swiftly and surely. They’re ready to fly in the breezes that take them to new adventures, new lands, and new friends.

Military children are well-rounded, culturally aware, tolerant, and extremely resilient. They have learned from an early age that home is where their hearts are. That a good friend can be found in every corner of the world.

They learn that to survive means to adapt. That the door that closes one chapter of their life opens to a new and exciting adventure full of new friends and new experiences.

Life as a military child
Service members and their spouses choose to be part of the military, but their children don’t. Being born into military life offers these children incredible opportunities and experiences. But being a military child is often more synonymous with the unique challenges of this lifestyle.

Moving is a common part of military life; for kids, that means making new friends, saying goodbye to old ones, catching up with a different curriculum, starting over in sports and extracurricular activities. Not to mention processing who and what they had to leave behind. They’re expected to assimilate with the culture of a new region, or sometimes country, at a time when they are also figuring out who they are as a person.

They also face the impact of the military life of their enlisted parent. Active duty parents frequently work or train long hours and are commonly deployed, leaving one parent to carry the torch at home. When service members return to their families, they can often come back with physical and emotional scars that impact their home life. Because of this, military kids recognize the meaning of war and sacrifice much earlier than their civilian peers. They become strong and resilient because they have to be.

Support the families of our service members
Despite how proud the children of service members are, at the end of the day, they are still kids facing very grown-up circumstances. Making sure that military children receive the support they need is imperative. 

In many cases, this encouragement can come from within the family dynamic. Some particularly outstanding resources are available to military families. These resources are aimed at navigating the special circumstances the children face.

  • FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) is a program designed to help families build on their current strengths as a Military Family and teach new skills to be prepared for anything that might come their way!
  • Our Military Kids® offers extracurricular activity grants to children and teens of deployed National Guard, deployed Reservists, or post-9/11 combat wounded, ill, or injured Veterans in treatment.
  • The Thrive Initiative is a suite of evidence-informed parenting programs that are designed to empower parents and caregivers as they nurture children from birth until 18 years of age.

Education and encouragement are important, but there may be a time your family needs external resources to help navigate the unique challenges of military life. Military OneSource offers an international directory to help find the nearest military and family life counselor locator.

Celebrating military children in your community
Month of the Military Child is a great time to honor the kids of those serving in our armed forces. Throughout April, military bases and support organizations around the world offer events and festivities to celebrate this inspiring community of kids. From carnivals and festivals to giveaways and freebies, the military community spends the month making military children feel special. Check with your local base for details on the events in your area.

Civilian communities can make the most of Month of the Military Child by helping celebrate the many kids of military families who don’t live on base. Surprise them with donuts one weekend, invite them over for a special play date, or even throw a neighborhood party. It may not feel like much, but the acknowledgment and kindness can make a huge difference to military families.

As month’s end approaches, let’s not confine our appreciation for military kids to the month of April alone. Their resilience echoes throughout our communities, reminding us of the profound strength found in quiet courage. They are the unspoken heroes whose stories bolster us all and deserve our unwavering support. Here’s to celebrating the military child today, tomorrow, and every day after.

  U.S. Air Force photo by Joshua J. Seybert

Uniformed Services Benefit Association (USBA) is a not-for-profit Association that provides group life insurance, health insurance supplements, and other products and services to military personnel, Federal employees, National Guard and Reserve members, Veterans and their families.

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