Our family has experienced several individuals that have been in the military. Each have had their own transition period to become accustomed to the everyday life they left behind. We have been fortunate that no one has returned with any significant injuries.
From my father-in-law to my husband, step-son and nephews, they have all felt the feeling of uncertainty after their return to the United States. The first few weeks they have found themselves floundering in a lost feeling of exactly what to do with their time. The culture shock of returning to normal life where someone isn’t telling them exactly what to do takes a few weeks to assimilate.
One of the biggest benefits from the military is the paid educational benefits. Each family member that has returned from the military in recent years has either gone to college or returned to college to finish their degrees. The structure of the college setting has helped them to assimilate back into normal life.
My step-son returned from Iraq to a wife, son and a six month old baby son that he had not seen. Being back in the States provided him with the opportunity to get to know his new son and catch-up on how big his oldest child had gotten. His tour ended before he was out of the service so his assimilation back into the normalcy of United States living was easier than someone who returns to normal life directly after being in Iraq.
After my step-son completed his military obligation he returned from Wyoming to the State of Iowa. His biggest wish was to get the children closer to family so they would be able to know their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. He moved within a half hours driving distance of both his wife’s and his family. Their returning to Iowa and my step-sons ability to have a relationship with his other family members provided him with the necessary support group to assimilate back into society. He returned to college and found a position working in the service industry. He was a fire-fighter in the Air Force and is now looking for a position in that field.
Through the experiences that we have had it is necessary that each individual returning from the military have a strong support group. They have left their friends and co-workers to return to a situation where culture shock exists. Family is vitally important in helping each individual feel comfortable and at home. Communication is the key to help each one through the rough spots they will encounter.
As the parent of an individual that has been in the military it is interesting to see the personality change that occurs while they are away. Discipline, strength, commitment and self-confidence are heightened in each individual. We were fortunate that our family has the ability to communicate. This has helped all the family members with their assimilation back into society after their return from the military.