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 reconnect easily 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.
Here 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. Rebuilding connections is a process. Be patient and try to give everyone the time and space they need to readjust.
- 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 can help prevent misunderstandings 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 suggestions on how to have a successful reunion with your family and loved ones, and 9 Tips for Reintegration after Deployment for a list of 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 changes is a way to adapt. If you can understand where your family is coming from, that can help make it easier to respect and accept their changes.
- Recognize that managing a household is hard work: 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 everyone, but remember 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 more about how to support children during reintegration, 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 article Returning From Deployment: Helping Your Family Transition.
Asking for help is a sign of strength. If readjusting to normal life is difficult for you or your family and loved ones, take advantage of the many resources available to help you.
Military OneSource provides free, confidential non-medical counseling for service members and families to help with parenting and relationship issues, communication, decision-making and other deployment adjustments. Consultants are available 24/7. Call 800-342-9647, use OCONUS dialing options, or schedule a live chat.
You can also contact your installation chaplain or Military and Family Support Center for information about deployment adjustment assistance.
For mental health issues such as combat stress or depression, professional help is available from a variety of sources. Learn more about mental health after deployment: what to know and where to get help. For emergencies, the Veterans Crisis Line is available 24/7/365. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1. You can also initiate a live chat by sending a text to 838255.