New online program for military families

  • Jun. 1, 2011 2:00 p.m.

The Esquimalt Military Family Resource Centre will launch the first web-based learning tool for Canadian military parents on Wednesday May 11. Raising Your Military Child  teaches the at-home and deployed parent about the behaviours that they may see in their child and how to support their child at any age. The bilingual training is available online at no cost by visiting www.esquimaltmfrc.com.

“There has been recent research done on the impact of military life on children,” said Gaynor Jackson, executive director of the Esquimalt Military Family Resource Centre.

A study in March 2011 by the University of New Brunswick reported that teens from military families face unique stressors during deployment.

“The study wasn‘t news to Military Family Resource Centres,”  continued Jackson. “We developed Raising Your Military Child because of what our families say their needs are. We have been creating this resource since last fall based on that input. The tool gives parents easily accessible tips on how to best support their children if they are impacted by the lifestyle challenges.  No matter what age, we can all experience stress. This tool covers all age groups from newborns to teens.”

“Nothing like this has really been done in Canada,” said Linda Scott, program manager at the Esquimalt Military Family Resource Centre. “Military parents have a lot of unique challenges,”  said Scott, who helped to develop the product. “They might see changes in the behaviour of their two-year-old during a deployment or in their eight-year-old during a move. If one parent leaves on deployment, the child might not let the other parent out of their sight. If a parent or child is really struggling or if someone has had a tough day, the resource may give the parents a few ideas of things to try.  Maybe the child that was independent is having problems now. Maybe the baby is being shy with the parent who just returned from deployment. The online tool offers specific tips for the at-home parent and for the military member to do while they are away to stay connected with their child.”

It was important to make the learning tool available online.  Research from the Esquimalt Military Family Resource Centre showed that close to 15 percent of military families live outside of a 30-minute drive of one of their three locations.

“Families can’t always get into the resource centre,”  said Jackson. Raising Your Military Child is available for them on our website anytime of the day for them to access confidentially. In some situations, they are a 30 to 45 minute drive from attending a workshop in-person. This way they can access the information at home as their schedules permit.

Established in 1988, the Esquimalt Military Family Resource Centre is the only local non-profit organization that provides programs and services for military members posted to CFB Esquimalt and their families.

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