I had to leave my two year old son as I am called to duty

by Heidi
(Wisconsin)

My family had relocated to China. My husband traveled quite a bit. Very soon after my son (third child) turned two, I was recalled to Active Duty and had to leave China within 72 hours to work as a Navy Nurse in the States during the first Iraq War. My son was left in the care of a stranger Chinese lady that helped in our home as my husband was not there a lot. My parents took a trip to China and brought my son (and his two sisters) back to the States. I was able to fly and see them every other weekend. I was only mobilized for 72 days before I was able to be with my children full time again. I think this was a critical time for my son and he has residual affects from this "abandoment". He is now 11years old. We presently live back in the States. From that time of separation, we have moved back to China, then to Wisconsin and back to China and now back to Wisconsin. We are going to be moving to Texas soon. I home school him since September. He has a difficult personality. From a very young age, he has been very self-conscious about things that wouldn't bother an average boy. He is anxious that he might stand out and worried about what others might be thinking about him. He has grown to be defiant and seems to have to blame others for anything that he does wrong; it is never his fault. More recently, he seems to get nervous by complaining of stomach aches if he is going into a new situation. He is a boy with low energy, seems unhappy and has a negative outlook on life. He struggles to make new friends(he has a couple friends in the neighborhood) as I don't think he ever feels like he fits in. I am worried about his future with his negative outlook and glum disposition. Everything is boring to him; no excitement. He is bright and above grade level in certain subjects. He has always been a good student and behaves wonderfully in school. His father still travels most of the time. I have been a stay-at-home devoted mother ever since my Active Duty time ended. Could that short amount of time back 9 years ago still have such bad affects on my son's personality?

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Mar 09, 2012
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Not by itself...
by: Don

Deployments and other absences by parents usually bring on a sense of loss, but not all loss is abandonment. These are not necessarily interchangeable words. All Abandonment does create loss, but not all loss creates abandonment pain. I know it is confusing so let me break it down a bit:

Loss is something that hurts and needs to be grieved or expressed. If your son had someone there to nurture him and help him grieve those feelings as they emerge then he can come out of it without abandonment wounds.

It is when the feelings are never expressed as when the family doesn't provide adequate emotional support and consistent training in how to deal with feelings that problems can jump up later.

Training = Parents need to consistently demonstrate to their kids good, healthy coping skills. They need to LIVE THAT WAY as a family.

It is never too late to make a change as a family. It is better than waiting until his is 15 years old and is separating by rebelling.

Hope this helps, and thanks for your service!
Don

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