If you weren’t living under the stress of deployment and reintegration, would you be a better parent? Would your parenting style change?
Some Guard and Reserve families in Minnesota are the subjects of a groundbreaking new study on deployment, stress and parenting styles. The study seeks to strap hundreds of military families to heart sensors to “monitor the stresses they exert on each other” while videoing their interactions, according to this story.
Participants will be required to attend a series of parenting classes held throughout the state to see whether or not the techniques they learn will impact their kids' behavioral and emotional problems, among other things. The study is focused on Guard and Reserve families.
The story does not contain a lot of information as to what researchers except to find. But the study seems to be based on the premise that deployment stress equals potential bad parenting. The final section of the story, which you can read here, talks about teaching alternatives to spankings, for example, which the classes seem to condemn as a discipline technique (side note: let’s not turn this into a discussion on spanking vs. not spanking – it's not the point here).
My husband is not deployed right now, and we are not Guard or Reserve – but he is away at a lengthy training and I did just have a baby without him. As it turns out, having a newborn without a partner isn’t the hard part – it’s also having a 3-year-old that is making me want to pull my hair out.
I would like to think that separation does not change my parenting style one single ounce. I am the same mommy regardless. Yes, just like any stress, deployment and separation make me tired – and children, like SpouseBUZZ blogger Lori Volkman pointed out to me, can smell weakness and then exploit it no matter what the reason. But the stress of military life does not change me any more than the stress of anything impacts how I react to a cranky, annoyed (or should that be “annoying?”) toddler. Does it make me a less ideal parent? Maybe. But a bad parent? No. A changed parent? Definitely not.
What about you? Do you think the stress of deployment and reintegration changes your parenting style and or makes you a bad parent?