Working with Military Families

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George W. Appenzeller, LISW CP and AP

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Working with Military Families

  1. 1. 2013 SC Children’s Trust Fund Prevention Conference 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 1
  2. 2.  Purposes  Who are veterans, career military and their children and families  Who you are most likely to see  Mental models that influence our decisions  Most important influences of the military life on children and families  Some of the results of the military life on children and families 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 2
  3. 3.  To provide an overview of the cultural and social influences on military children and families that are different from civilian influences  To provide a framework into which to fit your existing knowledge  To provide information based on empirical and observational evidence rather than institutional and legal constructs 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 3
  4. 4. 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 4
  5. 5. 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 5
  6. 6. Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 6 SERVICE BY GENERATION 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 Greatest Generation Silent Generation Baby Boomers GenX’rs Millenials GENERATION PERCENT 9/24/2013
  7. 7. 0 5000000 10000000 15000000 20000000 25000000 Total Veterans Non-Career Veterans Active Career Veterans Military Retired Veterans 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 7
  8. 8. Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 89/24/2013 0 5000000 10000000 15000000 20000000 25000000 Total Veterans Post 9/11 Only Pre/Post 9/11 Active Duty Res/NG
  9. 9. Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 9  Served on active duty and chose not to be, or were not allowed to be, career military  Veterans average 64 years of age in US  The number gets fewer and the average age gets a little higher every year 9/24/2013
  10. 10. Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 10 9/24/2013 0 2,000,000 4,000,000 6,000,000 8,000,000 10,000,000 12,000,000 14,000,000 16,000,000
  11. 11. 0 2000000 4000000 6000000 8000000 10000000 12000000 14000000 16000000 18000000 20000000 Retired Active Duty Reserve/NG Total 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 11
  12. 12. 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% All Single Parents Women Single Parents 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 12
  13. 13. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% All Dual MiIitary Spouse Women Dual Military Spouse 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 13
  14. 14. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% Career Military w/Families Non-Career Military w/Families 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 14
  15. 15. Ten times as many veterans served before 9/11 than after 9/11 Most veterans are older individuals with largest proportion from Vietnam Era There are almost four times as many retired career personnel than active duty career personnel If you are working with children, you are most likely to see the children of active duty personnel, younger retired personnel and recent veterans. Women in the military with children are more likely to have less support than men. 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 15
  16. 16. 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 16 Mental models that influence our decisions
  17. 17.  War and combat are the root cause of problems among military and military families/BRATS  The US Military is a microcosm of the US itself culturally, socially and demographically  Veterans and Regular Military Professionals are pretty much the same Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 179/24/2013
  18. 18. 0 1,000,000 2,000,000 Deployed in Support On Ground Contact with Enemy Combat MOS 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 18
  19. 19.  Overall veteran rate up 10% since 1999  Overall civilian rate up 31% since 1999  Mean age of veteran suicide is 55  Veterans under 30 have lower suicide rate than non-veterans under 30  Among post-9/11 veterans who suicide, 53% had not deployed and 85% were not in combat Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 199/24/2013
  20. 20.  Younger than US population as a whole  Better paid than US workers as a whole  More likely to be from rural areas or small towns  More likely to be from the South  More likely to be white, non-Hispanic  More likely to be married with children  More likely to identify self as conservative  Much more likely to come from a military family 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 20
  21. 21. Career Military view Civilian view  To the career military and their families military service never ends even after retirement.  The DoD and the military branch is the provider of services and what one identifies with.  To the public and the non-career person who served and their families, military service has an end point.  The VA is where one goes to receive help after separation or discharge Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 219/24/2013
  22. 22. George A. Appenzeller George W. Appenzeller George N. Appenzeller Lauren Appenzeller George Forest Appenzeller Katherine Appenzeller Matthew N. Appenzeller Gail Appenzeller Riddle Tony Appenzeller Peggy A. Martin Forest P. Newman, Jr. Susan Newman Appenzeller Forest P. Newman III Roger Newman Mark Newman 4 generations 4 career military 1 veteran 11 military BRATs Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 229/24/2013
  23. 23.  Combat doesn’t appear to be the most important factor in the effects of military service on most individuals who serve and their children and families  People who have served in the military since the All-Volunteer Force was instituted are not representative of the general population  Career military and non-career veterans are different from one another in a number of important ways 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 23
  24. 24. 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 24
  25. 25.  To maintain civilian control  To control the violence implicit and explicit in military service  To make what in civilian life is aberrational become aspirational  To normalize what would in civilian life be unacceptable social and work conditions Military Life and its Families System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 259/24/2013
  26. 26. Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 26  Limited rights and different laws- Title 10 US Code of Laws  Can-do optimism  Limited candor 9/24/2013
  27. 27.  Amoral  Authoritarian  Obedience expected and demanded  Accountable only to the chain of command  Loyalty, duty and honor highly valued Military Life and its Families System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 279/24/2013
  28. 28. Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 28  Aggression highly valued  History and tradition honored  Only minimal casualties acceptable  Social interactions based on caste system 9/24/2013
  29. 29.  Social dependency through all- encompassing system of care  Nationalistic  Priorities are: ◦ mission  institution  career  fellow members and retired members  families Military Life and its Families System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 299/24/2013
  30. 30.  Civilian culture values individual freedom - military culture must limit freedom  Civilian culture values equality - military culture depends on inequality  Civilian culture values achievement, with limitations - military culture is ruthlessly achievement oriented  Civilian culture values self-interest - military culture values self-sacrifice 9/24/2013 Military Life and its Families System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 30
  31. 31.  The occupational-social spectrum under the special mission of the military - no civilian analogue  Military organized by status  Rank and caste system is visible everywhere  Social dependency limits growth opportunities and maximizes social control opportunities ‣ Behavior of military member is the responsibility of the commander at all times Military Life and its Families System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 319/24/2013
  32. 32.  Highly structured society requires that all members of military family be accountable for their actions  Behavior of a family member is a direct reflection on the military member so child’s self-worth and identity are directly tied to the family  Pressure on the child and family to conform to values of the culture  Developing and maintaining beliefs worth dying for may be necessary for the family to survive as a unit Military Life and its Families System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 329/24/2013
  33. 33. Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 339/24/2013
  34. 34.  By moving continuously, self-identity could be lost through the loss of those who become part of that identity.  A new life must be reconstructed in a new community with new roles at each move  Many military families and BRATS display typical military determination when they relocate by denying their grief and loss Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 349/24/2013
  35. 35.  The military family and the military BRAT may project unresolved feelings from previous relationships with new relationships - there is no time to resolve feelings.  In an ultimate betrayal, for the BRAT, even the security and structure of the military is eventually taken away from them 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 35
  36. 36.  The life of military families, especially of military BRATS, could be described as a cycle of loss, grief, reorganization, loss, grief, reorgan ization and so on.  Unfortunately, for the BRAT, the loss and grief may very well be disenfranchised by the parents and other authority figures. Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 369/24/2013
  37. 37.  The social construction of the military family is ◦ Based in military culture ◦ Supported and controlled by all needs being taken care of by the military ◦ Isolated in a social matrix with no civilian analogue ◦ Formed as an identity in a military context ◦ Lived in a cycle of grief, loss and reorganization 9/24/2013 Military Life and its Families System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 37
  38. 38. 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 38
  39. 39. • Living in a subculture of social dependence within a dominant culture that highly values independence • Living in a classist subculture within a dominant culture that denies classism • Limiting family life by continuously moving in a subculture that extolls the virtues of family life • Required to be team players in a culture that is highly competitive • Loss of contact with community and extended family outside of military in a dominant culture that emphasizes community and extended family. Military Life and its Families System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 399/24/2013
  40. 40.  The competition for career status and living in the double binds leads to stresses that create problems even for those families who make it to career status  For those families who don’t make it to career status, the personal investment in the military is lost 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 40
  41. 41.  Family construction for military families is different from family construction for civilian families  The military family lives in an environmental bubble 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 41
  42. 42.  Purposes  Who are veterans, career military and their families  Who you are most likely to see in your practice  Mental models that influence our decisions  Most important influences of the military life on members and families  Some of the results of the military life on families 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 42
  43. 43.  Some of the problems we see with military families have to do with their environment  Some of the problems we see with military families have to do with their culture.  We often interpret behavior from the viewpoint of mainstream culture and experience including the conceptual frame of and DSM. 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 43
  44. 44.  Working With Military, Military Families and Military Brats is All About: ◦ Cultural Sensitivity ◦ Accepting the Person in their environment ◦ Understanding their environment ◦ Helping them understand their environment ◦ Helping them accept and use or reject and leave their environment 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 44
  45. 45.  You do not need to know “special” methods to work with military families any more than you need to know “special” methods to work with anyone else. You use what you are comfortable with and knowledgeable of.  What you do need to know is the context and particulars of the life experience and life style of the individuals and their families.  You then need to decide what, if any, of your skills and knowledge may be helpful. Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 459/24/2013
  46. 46. George W. Appenzeller, LISW CP and AP PO Box 11391 Columbia, SC 29211 (803)771-6663 georgea@swsolutionsinc.com www.swsolutionsinc.com 9/24/2013 Prevention Conference System Wide Solutions, Inc. 2013 46

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