PTSD from a child’s perspective: What is happening with my daddy?
“We used to go to the park a lot before Daddy went away for such a long time,” said Cody to his mom. “When will he be home so I can play catch with him? I really miss having him here to say goodnight to.”
It is difficult for children to live through a deployment when their concept of time seems to drag on forever. Having a father gone for months on end is so hard to understand for the young children of military families. Then what happens when he comes home from being in the war zone and life will never be the same again. What happens to that tender heart when the residue of the combat zone brings silence or angry outbursts from a parent who did not act like that before going away? Over time the confusion a child now experiences because that same Daddy does not want to play at the park or throw a ball anymore can be devastating.
When an adult has a wounded heart, hopefully, he or she will recognize what the issue is and deal with it appropriately. When a child’s heart is wounded from the disappointment that their daddy is not the same as before he left, they need reassurance their parent still loves them. It is so important for a Mom who is dealing with a husband healing from the wounds of war to keep the atmosphere positive in the home. It is also good to explain there are wounds inside the body that need time to heal just as a broken arm or leg needs time to heal inside a cast before it can be used properly again.
A good strategy in building up a positive attitude is to start out the day praying for Daddy and for each person in the family. Think of actions to make sure Daddy knows how much he is loved and appreciated. There are many reasons a person will feel sadness. A child can be confused by adults who don’t take the time to explain why something is happening a certain way. Getting a young child involved in bringing joy to a sad heart is a sure way to begin to bring healing to everyone in the family. Some ideas are to bake Daddy’s favorite cookies, design a card of encouragement, or even give extra hugs.
God loves it when people turn to him for comfort for “He’s the one who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort other people.” 2 Corinthians 1:4.
A good prayer might be, “Dear God, we really need you to help us understand our daddy. Give us some ideas to make Daddy feel better. We all want to feel better, God. Thank you for Your help. Amen”
Additional verses: Psalm 28:7; Psalm 46:1,2a; Psalm 55:22