Veterans Bonding With Teenagers

When Daddy Comes Marching Home

There are no magic bullets when it comes to dealing with a teenagers. For older kids who’s mother or father has been deployed for long periods in the military, the reunion will be uncertain. The veteran might come home to defiant kids or maybe very thankful kids who are thrilled to have you home again.

The worst thing you can do is to walk in and expect to make everything ship shape. Avoid making announcements that home will be different since the Sheriff arrived. Instead, plan to ease in first and try not to appear as the long lost dictator. The teenagers, especially the boys will be tuning in on how you treat their mother. If you show love and support for mom, you might be half way there.

Your next challenge will be to walk the tight rope by being the parent they need without being too intrusive. Try listening without reacting to fix every problem unless you’re invited to participate. Go in their bedroom, sit down with them for 2 minutes and see what happens. Watch them play video games or ask what they had for lunch. They’ll probably think you’re weird but keep doing it every few days. Remember that while you were gone, they were forced to grow up on their own. 

What I recommend next will require a little planning. Look around for opportunities where your teenager can help you work on something easy. Make up small, quick task so you can tell them thanks for their assistance. These will be bonding moments. Letting them help you fold the laundry works or cleaning the kitchen with you helps mom too. What’s important is that you did it together and showed that they are appreciated at the same time. Try taking them to the market and buying a few items they like. Most important, don’t try to rush it.

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