The brat lifestyle is unique in many cts, but of course the major difference being that brats all have a parent serving or has served in the military. No brat has to tell what his dad does; he's a soldier. That alone is a connection that most kids growing up in civilian life cannot understand. Most civilian kids and their friends have parents with a wide range of jobs and careers. There is no "Career Day" in Department of Defense schools because every day is career day. If the parent is being sent to a combat assignment, the brat often lives alone with the one parent and can live with the psychological after effects of having a parent in combat.
Here are some facts and figures about modern military children and who they are likely to grow up to be. The term "Military Brat" is not intended as derogatory and isn't just a slang term - Military brat is widely used by researchers and sociologists and was adopted by the military brat community. Military families relocate 10 times more often than civilian families - on average, every 2 or 3 years. When a parent is stationed without his family, the children of the military member experience the same emotions as children of divorced parents.
Children of active duty personnel often mirror the values, ideals, and attitudes of their parents more closely than children of civilians. A high percentage of military children find difficulty connecting with people or places, but very often do form strong connections with bases and military culture.
Military children have more emotional struggles when compared with national examples. These struggles increase when the military parent deploys. Military children can also experience higher levels of anxiety, depression and withdrawal.
The perception that the country supports the wars their parents deploy to fight has a positive effect on the mental health of military children. US Army Photo.
Military children are usually under constant pressure to conform to what military culture expects; sometimes this is perceived as being more mature, even if its only their outward behavior. Strict discipline can have the opposite effect: children in military families may behave well beyond what is normally acceptable.
Some develop psychological problems due to the intense stress of always being on their best behavior. The bonds connecting military communities are normally considered stronger than the differences of race. While some non-military families may share some of these same attributes and experiences, military culture has a much higher incidence and concentration of these issues and experiences in military families as compared to civilian populations, and by tightly-knit military communities that perceive these experiences as normal.
Studies show that growing up immersed in military culture can have long-lasting effects on children, both in positive and also some negative ways. Military bases are often small cities with 10, or more people, and are self-contained worlds where military culture is primary and civilian culture is secondary.
Military brats grow up moving from base to base as they follow their parent or parents to new assignments. Studies show that the culture on military bases is perceived by most current and former military brats as significantly different from civilian culture.
Some bases also contain unique features, such as air bases with numerous aircraft and attendant noise, or seaports with large numbers of naval vessels. Balancing this are extensive areas which are more relaxed in character, for on-base housing, shopping, dining, recreation, sports and entertainment, as well as base chapels which host diverse religious services.
Military language also has differences from standard American English and is often peppered with military slang and military acronyms. Although no exact figures are available, the U. Also, not all military brats grow up moving all the time, although many do.
Military brats have been studied extensively, both from the perspective of social psychology and as a distinct and unique American subculture, although less so in terms of long-term impact of the lifestyle. There are also some gaps in studies of more recent post- Cold War -era military brats.
Jun 30, The Emmy award-winning news anchor of Outnumbered Overtime with Harris Faulkner and co-host of the talk show Outnumbered has a new book to share. The book, she has titled '9 Rules of Engagement: A military Brat's Guide to Life and Success" has described several cts of her upbringing. She has included the lessons she learned growing up in a military family. Jan 22, Military brats are taught that they are a direct reflection of their parent, and any disgrace will be seen as a fault on the parent's side. The term brat is one of endearment. To those who are brats, it implies a quality of spunkiness and adaptability. It means that one can be flexible and adapt easily to new places and languages. Apr 28, 1. The term "Military Brat" is not intended as derogatory and isn't just a slang term - Military brat is widely used by researchers and sociologists and was adopted by the military brat community. US Air Force photo by Cecilio Ricardo Jr. 2. Since 9/11, more than two million military children have had a parent deployed at least once.
Collectively these studies paint a fairly consistent picture of how the lifestyle tends to influence the population on average in various cts of life. These studies look at overall patterns and individual experiences may vary widely:.
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Some strong positives that have been identified in studies of military brat populations are a high occurrence of very resilient personalities, exceptional social skills, a high level of multicultural or international awareness, proficiency in foreign languages, and a statistically very strong affinity for careers that entail service to others.
As adults, military brats can share many of the same positive and negative traits identified in other populations that experienced very mobile childhoods. Having had the opportunity to live around the world, military brats can have a breadth of experiences unmatched by most teenagers.
On the negative side, studies show that some former military brats struggle to develop and maintain deep, lasting relationships, and can feel like outsiders to U. A significant minority of ex-military brats may exhibit symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorderavoidant personality disorderseparation anxiety disorderetc. Although neither a clearly negative or positive trait, studies also show that many adult military brats report difficulty settling down in one geographic location and also report a desire to move relocate every few years; many adult military brats call this "the itch".
Many former military brats report struggling at some point in their lives with issues related to perfectionism and learning how to let go in areas of personal performance perhaps due to the demanding nature of military culture.
Overall a majority of military brats report having developed a kind of extra-adaptability and assimilate into new situations quickly and well, as they have done with each move to a new military base, town or country.
A significant percentage of military brats report difficulty in forming strong relations with people or places, but very often do form strong connections with or in some cases aversion to the notion of a military base and the communities in which they find themselves.
To a child growing up on a military base, in a homogeneous culture, the individuality of civilian life was once thought to be completely foreign. However, as the individual children have attended civilian schools near base and socialized with their peers, this perceived difference may have reduced to varying degrees.
Patriotism may come to mean different things for different ex-military brats, but nevertheless figures strongly in the upbringing, language and thinking of many who grew up in military families.
The comfort, or sense of restriction, or both that can be found on military bases is not limited to the physical trappings, but can be fortified via some of the consistent rituals common to them. When moving around the world, these rituals can help brats feel at home in their new community.
Even though the faces and geography change, the "base" can remain recognizable because the rituals are often uniform.
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The underlying principle of these rituals is consistent: to promote patriotism. It has been claimed by Samuel Britten on the basis of anecdotal evidence that life on military bases is associated with comparatively greater patriotic sentiments. At the end of the business day, on a military installation, the bugle call " To the Color " is played while the flag is lowered. Until recently, [ when? Patriotic ideals often form the basis for church sermons.
Protestant and Catholic worship services may include militaristic hymns.
Did you grow up military? Do you have trouble answering the question, "where are you from?" Welcome to the Military Brats Registry! Sep 28, It just isn't how the civilian world works. Most people take their time getting to know each other but as a military brat you learned that if you didn't open yourself up quickly you simply didn't have friends. But don't worry, you'll be PSCing soon and can recreate yourself at the next base.
Prior to movies at base theaters, patrons and staff stand for the National Anthem and often another patriotic song, such as " God Bless the USA ". The military family knows that the service person may be killed in the line of duty, but may accept that risk because they understand the values of duty, honor, and country. The mission is one in which the brat shares by extension through his military parent.
Military law requires commanding officers and those in authority to demonstrate virtuehonorpatriotism, and subordination in all that they do. While this acronym is relatively new, the ideas it represents have been at the heart of military service for generations. Similarly, the motto "Duty, honor, country" is the standard of the U. Their strict outward adherence to military values is what separates most from their civilian peers.
Children of military personnel often mirror the values, ideals, and attitudes of their parents more than children of civilians. Disciplinary expectations extend beyond the military family.
Family members know that their actions and behavior can have a direct impact on the military service member's career.
A military person's career and social identity can be dashed in seconds by a willful or careless child. Research into military brats has consistently shown them to be better behaved than their civilian counterparts.
Teenage years are typically a period when people establish independence by taking some risks away from their parents. When the teenager lives in a "fish-bowl community," a small self-contained community such as a base, challenging boundaries may be more difficult.
Brats know that misbehavior or rebellious activity will be reported to their parents. If they grow up overseas or on military bases, they might have limited opportunities to see a wide range of role models in different professions. Strict discipline can have the opposite effect: brats may rebel or behave in adolescent manners well beyond what is normally considered acceptable. Military life is strictly segregated by rank ;  the facilities provided for officers and enlisted personnel differ dramatically.
The officers' housing will generally be more accessible to base activities, larger in size, and better landscaped. The Officer Clubs are more elegant than the Enlisted Clubs. Officers have cleaner, more elaborate recreational facilities than their enlisted counterparts. Historically, base chapels and movie theaters would have designated seating for officers and their families. For a part of the 20th century, some bases had two Boy Scout and two Girl Scout troops-one for officer children and one for enlisted children.
These differences are not merely external, but a core ct of military life. The separation by rank has the intended purpose of maintaining military discipline among service members. According to the U. Uniform Code of Military Justice, it can be illegal for an officer to fraternize with an enlisted person because it would erode the military hierarchy.
This is often conveyed to the children of military personnel.
Two brats whose parents have a subordinate-supervisory relationship can cause problems for both their parents. To a lesser degree, military classism also includes the branch of service to which the military parent belongs. If asked to name "the best branch of service," military brats will almost invariably name the one to which their parent belonged.
They will be able to articulate many reasons why "their" branch of the service is the best. These biases are maintained well past the time they cease to be military dependents. When brats grow up, these boundaries are replaced by a shared identity based upon that of being a military brat. While a class hierarchy is reflected in stratified housing structures, military classism differs from traditional class structures in some significant ways - namely, schooling and access to quality healthcare.
Children of military personnel attend the same base schools regardless of rank, creating peer cultures that are usually not class-based, and providing equal access to educational resources. Similarly, all military personnel receive the same quality of healthcare by the same providers.
Innearly 20 years before the civil rights movement swept through the non-military segments of U.
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It outlawed segregation in the military and made it illegal, per military law, to make a racist remark. When families go overseas, minority students rarely experience overt racism from their expatriate neighbors. The bonds of the military community are normally seen by military dependents as being stronger bonds than the differences of race. Military brats grow up in a setting that actively condemns racist comments.
This results in brats who "aren't just non-racist, but anti-racist. Because military brats are constantly making new friends to replace the ones that they have lost,    they are often more outgoing and independent.
The brat learns to adapt quickly to fit into this ever-changing environment. Highly mobile children are more likely to reach out to a new student, because they know what it is like to be the new student. Recent studies show that, although brats move on average every 3 years, they do not grow accustomed to moving. Rather than develop problem-solving skills, there is a temptation to simply leave a problem without resolving it. Moving during the summer months can be challenging.
Social groups become even more difficult to break into, and activities that the student enjoyed may be barred to him or her. For example, an athlete may not be able to join his or her sport because they missed tryouts and the season had already begun. Students and teachers often interact in a more social manner with one another. When returning to civilian schools, the lack of camaraderie with the faculty can be an unexpected obstacle for many highly mobile families.
Military brats have lower delinquency rates, higher achievement scores on standardized testsand higher median IQs than their civilian counterparts. Brats move frequently between bases in the United States and typically spend at least three years abroad. Sociologist Morten Ender conducted the largest scientific study to date exclusively on career military brats those who had at least one parent in the military from birth through high school.
He interviewed and sent questionnaires to over brats who belonged to various brat organizations and responded to his newspaper and internet ads. They averaged eight moves before graduating from high school and spent an average of seven years in foreign countries.
Two of the common themes in Wertsch's book are abuse and alcoholism. In the s and s the U. The impact on the military's efforts remains inconclusive. Some studies report higher rates of abuse in military families, while others report lower rates.
The studies that conclude abuse is a bigger problem in military families than civilian families attribute this to the long hours, frequent disruptions in lifestyles, and high degree of stress. They point out that military families may be more reluctant to report issues of abuse because of the potential impact on the service member's career. Other studies, however, argue that military families have a smaller problem than civilian families because military culture offers more accessible help for victims of abuse.
Military families have health care, housing, and family support programs often unavailable to lower income civilian families. Abusive family members are more likely to be ordered by their commanding officer or base commander to obtain treatment, thus reducing reoccurrences of abuse. Inthe U. Defense Department reported that there were currently 2 million American children and teenagers who have had at least one parent deployed in a war zone in the then-current Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
Most of the research into military brats has been conducted on the long-term effects on adults who grew up during the Cold War and also during the Vietnam and Korean wars. The U. To this end, the military started to change the living standards that most Cold War brats grew up with.
The demographics of the military changed. The modern military has a larger proportion of married military members. Since base housing is designed for fewer families, more families are forced to live off-base. Military personnel are now being supplemented by more civilians filling essential roles, and the introduction of large megabases that intermesh different service branches and their individual cultures has also affected the demographics.
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The long-term effects of these changes are unknown, but research has been conducted on short-term effects on post-Cold War-era brats. Today's military brat faces some additional challenges. For example, it is estimated that approximately 50, military families have both parents serving in the armed forces; this creates the possibility that both parents may be deployed at the same time. With the advent of the Internet it is possible for family members to communicate with servicemen in combat zones.
This allows brats to remain in closer contact with their military parent sbut it also increases tension as more details reach the military families. Round-the-clock news agencies, such as CNN and Fox Newsspread news faster than the military bureaucracy can process the details.
This means that military families know that servicemen have died before official word reaches the family. Military psychiatrist Colonel Stephen Cozza says that a "sense of fear" accompanies news of the death of a service member until confirmation that the service member was not a loved one.
Wertsch has pointed out, however, that during the Vietnam War, televised news war coverage was also very intense and constant, and that similar issues of military family fear being intensified by television coverage were also present for military brats and spouses of that era with a family member in the war. Despite these facts, studies show only a slight increase in immediate stressors among military brats whose parents serve in a combat zone, although no studies on the longer-term effects have ever been done.
GROWING UP A MILITARY BRAT
Boys and younger children do show the most risk when a parent is deployed, but rarely does this require clinical intervention. However, studies show that when a military member is deployed to a combat zone, the family cohesion is more disrupted than when service members are deployed to non-combat zones.
Military members can be deployed for days, months, or even years without their family. When a parent is stationed without their family, the children experience the same emotions as children of divorced parents. When a military member is sent away, the family does not always know where they are going or when or if the service member will return. Military spouses reported the following when their spouse was deployed:. While separation produces stress, according to the US military it strengthens the children by forcing them to take on additional responsibilities when a parent is absent, encouraging independence.
A Pentagon study released in June reported that children of combat troops show more fear, anxiety and behavioral problems. One in four parents say their children respond poor or very poorly, and a third experienced academic problems. With the increased demands on the U.
Military brat dating
The children of these reservists, who are suddenly called to extended active duty, are technically military brats, but they may not identify with or share all of the characteristics of traditional brats although in certain specific areas, such as war-related issues, they may share a great deal . In an effort to help integrate "suddenly military" brats, groups like "Operation: Military Kids" and "Our Military Kids" came into existence.
Operation: Military Kids is a program designed to help "suddenly military" children understand the military culture to which they now belong, and Our Military Kids provides monetary grants that support tutoring, sports and other extracurricular activities of National Guard and Reserve children, whose parents sometimes incur a lapse in income upon being called to active duty.
National Guard families are not as familiar with military culture. They are physically separated from other military families, meaning they may get less emotional support during wartime, and may not be as emotionally prepared for active-duty deployment. Children of reservist soldiers also don't share the highly mobile ct of "regular service" military brat life.
They may, however, still develop feelings of difference or isolation in relation to non-military children or teenagers in their home towns, due to war-deployment related stresses and war-aftermath issues that their non-military peers may not be able to fully understand.
Some children born to no-longer active duty veterans may also experience a number of these issues. The effect of having a parent killed during military operations has not been specifically studied.