Coming home may seem like a big adjustment. Your family and loved ones may be different than before deployment, and you might have changed too. It’s common to feel overwhelmed with the changes you’re facing. Here are some things to consider that may help as you return to your new normal.
Reconnecting With Family
You might be able to easily go back to the way you previously connected with your family, or you may have to develop new ways to communicate. It’s OK if it takes some time to reestablish your relationships with each other.
These are some tips to get started:
- Take time to get to know each other again: Don’t feel pressured to immediately fall back into a comfortable place in your relationships — whether it’s with your spouse, children or other loved ones. It’s a process to rebuild connections and the same level of intimacy you had before deployment.
- Tell your family and loved ones what you need: Acknowledge that things might be different, and ask for space and time if you need it. Being honest up front may prevent disagreements down the road.
- Share only what you’re comfortable with: There may be things about deployment that are hard to talk about or that you aren’t ready to share yet. Explain this to your family, and don’t feel like you need to talk before you’re ready.
Read the Get Ready for a Military Homecoming article for more on reuniting with your family and loved ones, and the 9 Tips for Reintegration after Deployment article for a break-down of important things to remember as you begin your transition.
Adjusting to Home Life
Your family or loved ones may have created new routines while you were deployed. Those changes might be surprising or confusing now, but it won’t feel that way for long.
- Try to understand why things might have changed: Your family or loved ones may have had a difficult time adjusting to not having you at home—making big changes is a way to adapt. Try to see where your family is coming from, and be respectful and accepting of changes.
- Recognize that managing a household is work, too: Express how proud you are of the way your family and loved ones have adapted and managed in your absence.
- Ask how you can be a part of new routines: Adjusting a little at a time allows you and your family to find out what works best. Go back to former routines if that’s what works best for you, but keep in mind that it’s OK to establish new routines or traditions as well.
- Become a part of children’s existing routines: Your children are probably used to doing things a certain way, and an abrupt change might be difficult for them. Learn about how to support them, and find ways to be involved in what they’re already used to before making changes.
For more information and tips on helping your family adjust, check out the Returning From Deployment: Helping Your Family Transition article.
Asking for help is a sign of strength. If reintegration is difficult for you or your family and loved ones, reach out to friends and support networks. You can also take advantage of the many resources available to you.
Free, confidential counseling is available through Military OneSource at any time. Consider contacting chaplains, medical professionals and family resources at an installation near you. You can find local resources through MilitaryINSTALLATIONS.