|From the top left, Mother and Dad, Stephen, Jerry, and Danny at Knott’s Berry Farm c1950-51
When Knott’s Berry Farm was free!
FIVE WAYS TO KEEP YOUR FAMILY HAPPY AND STRONG: FOR MILITARY FAMILIES…
- Being Army/Navy/Air Force/Marines/National Guard/Coast Guard Strong also means showing your children that you love them. Nurturing your children’s social and emotional growth will help them work through any challenges they may face—both now and into their adulthood.
- Listen to your children and encourage them to express their feelings. Respect their feelings and allow them a safe space to talk.
- Help your children solve problems by allowing them to make suggestions and think through difficulties they may encounter.
- Show your love. Small, simple, everyday gestures are the best ways to show your children that you love them. Click here for ten easy ways to show your children that you love them.
I do not have many fond memories as a military child. I know now these many decades later that it was not because my parents did not love us. Mother and Dad suffered from emotional numbness virtually all of the time. Parenting was not the highest priority in those days, “the too terrible to remember 1950’s and early 1960’s. Dad was especially emotionally damaged following extended combat duty in WWII combined with a 1 year deployment during the Korean War. Mother showed little emotion toward us siblings for the most part. She was protecting herself from being hurt for most of her life from the Great Depression era growing up, waiting for Dad to return from long and worrisome war deployments, and mostly from being a care giver like so many thousands of military spouses and moms from that time. She was also a single mom for all of WWII. My oldest brother, Jerry, was born 3 months before the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Dad looked much older than being just shy of age 30 following WWII. Dad was wounded morally and physically from the horrific stress of war.
What the entire trauma means to me following my own research, writing my book, and this blog, is that post WWII parents were focused on keeping their heads up one day at a time. They worried mostly about keeping emotional pain at a safe distance, and supporting a growing family. The thought of nurturing and loving children to any great extent was absent. Ignorant of the life long consequences of a loveless family culture, my parents created a second generation of PTSD affliction and moral injury. As one example, I was age 64 before realizing my own lifetime PTSD challenges and consequences. It is with sadness and a heavy heart that each day there is a trigger that reminds me of a loveless childhood. It is also with a full heart that by clearly understanding the roots of my parents behavior that resulted in years of emotional neglect and child abuse, that in these later years of my life, I am blessed with peace mind…