Mindfulness Strategies: Supporting Military Parents During Reintegration
Nearly 2.5 million service members have served on a deployment with a child at home since 2001. While deployment and reintegration (i.e., when the service member returns home) can negatively impact parenting practices, mindfulness strategies offer a new approach for coping with the stress and uncertainty associated with the deployment cycle. The objective of this paper is to further expand professionals’ understanding of how mindfulness can assist military parents. This paper explores the link between mindfulness practices and positive parenting outcomes, and uses the military reintegration period as a context for suggestions as to how professionals can incorporate mindfulness in their work with military families.
This comprehensive literature review outlines the research supporting the effectiveness of mindfulness techniques as they apply to parenting.
This literature review offered key practices of mindful parenting (i.e., listening with full attention, nonjudgmental acceptance of self and child, compassion for self and others, self-regulation in the parenting relationship, and emotional awareness of self and child). This information was then applied within the context of three challenges military parents’ encounter during reintegration: renegotiating family roles and responsibilities, reconnecting with children, and managing changes in mental health.
Military families live both on and off bases throughout the USA and internationally. It is critical that those professionals who work with these families understand the unique contexts that these families encounter and continue to incorporate new tools and resources (e.g., mindfulness) that best serve each of these families.
KeywordsMindful parenting Military families Reintegration Stress-reduction
KG: Developed the design of the literature review, assisted with the literature review and the writing of the paper. AR: Collaborated with the design and execution of the literature review and the writing of the paper. TS: Assisted with the execution of the literature review and writing of the paper. LMB: Helped with the management of the paper and the review and editing of the paper.
This research was funded by the United States Department of Defense and the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (2013-48710-21515).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
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