Military deploying married couples with children is a controversial issue which causes a lot of debate during the recent times. Due to the growing number of dual-military couples with children the question of deployment became a subject of detailed research. About 7.8 percent of all military members are single parents – 10.7 percent for the Army, 7.6 percent for the Navy, 5.8 percent for the Air Force, and 4.7 percent for the Marine Corps. Additionally, there are about 84,000 military-married-to-military couples. About 36,000 of those couples have children. (Powers, 2002)
Deployment can have negative consequences for both parents and children. Separation from parent becomes a big stress for the child. Depending on age, it can have different consequences but in the most cases they will be negative.
This negative effect is even enhanced when two parents are deployed. Small infants can experience eating and sleeping disorders. Children aging from one to three years have very strong need in communicating with family members and keeping routing rituals. If this does not happen, they may experience a regression in their development. Many deployed parents worry that their small children may not recognize them after coming back. In some cases these concerns have ground as children under three year may forget their deployed parents. In addition, reasonable arguments are not suitable for small children and they most probably will not understand the reason of separation. During the period of 4 5 years children should develop a feeling of safety. If one of two of parents is missing this feeling may not be formed in a right way and it will have negative effect on all further life. Small children usually do not have right perception of time and even knowing that separation is temporary, they may feel if parents have left them forever. They may feel lost and abandoned. In the worst cases separation may result an anger and frustration, which will become a source of serious psychological problems in the future. Despite all modern means of communication, including audio and video tapes small children need physical interaction with their parents for normal growth and development. This does not happen in the case of deploying. Mentioned above negative impacts deploying may have on children are good reasons to avoid it for the couples with small children. Deploying may also have negative effect on parents. Worries and concerns about their small children may prevent parents from good service. Separation with children has negative effect on both, men and women. This effect is only enhanced when both parents are deployed. Constant stress and depression caused by separation from children and worries about their safety can have very negative consequences on the quality of military service of deployed married couples. In the military, where team spirit and feeling of responsibility are vitally important such situation may have especially bad consequences and married couples with small children may become a reason of big problems. In addition, deploying assumes danger and putting in danger young married couples the government puts in danger future and happiness of their children. Nobody can guarantee safety for the deployed married couples and this means that children are deprived of governmental care and protection.