Parenting in Military Families Faced with Combat-Related Injury, Illness, or Death

  • Stephen J. CozzaEmail author
Part of the Risk and Resilience in Military and Veteran Families book series (RRMV)


Military children and families possess many strengths and generally enjoy health, wellness, and a capacity for resilience. However, they have also faced unprecedented war-related challenges since 2001, including combat-related parental injury, illness, and death. This chapter describes the distress faced by military children and families due to these experiences and the unique parenting challenges that result. The contribution of parenting to child outcomes is well-established in the literature, although less is known about the potential effects of parenting on child outcomes in such highly stressful or traumatic settings. While several parenting and family programs have been developed to support civilian and military children, none has been designed to specifically address the difficulties faced by these highly impacted families. The author recommends applying positive parenting strategies derived from evidence-based principles to at-risk families, while connecting them to communities capable of supporting their many needs over time. Six evidence-based parenting and family intervention strategies are discussed: (1) maintaining a physically safe and structured environment, (2) engaging required community resources, (3) developing and sharing knowledge within and outside of the family that builds shared understanding, (4) building a positive emotionally safe and warm family environment, (5) mastering and modeling important interpersonal skills, including problem solving and conflict resolution, and (6) maintaining a vision of hope and future optimism for the family. The chapter concludes by highlighting the need for future research to develop and study strategies to meet the needs of these highly impacted families.


Positive Parenting Service Member Military Family Complicated Grief Injured Parent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniformed Services University of the Health SciencesBethesdaUSA

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