Kids of Deployed Parents at Risk

The pressures of military life can be demanding on any serviceman. When it comes to children, they too can become causalities of combat.

According to a new study released Monday, in the journal Pediatrics, kids whose parents are deployed are 11% more likely to have mental and behavioral problems.

Gaby Lockhart, a military mom, told her kids the truth about their father's deployment. She said that being open and honest--along with neighborhood support-- helped keep her kids grounded. But there were still some problems.

"Daddy was missed," said Lockhart, "Sometimes there was too much mom."

Tsgt. Richard Cory with the Airman and Family Readiness Center at Sheppard Air Force Base says missing a parent is common. "They go through a lot of common problems," he explains, "Basically because there is always that rebellion that their one parent is gone and they don't think that's normal."

Roddy Atkins, the Executive Director at the Helen Farabee MHMR Center agrees. "The fact that I am angry is because I miss my father or I have lost something. It's more of a sense of loss, " affirms Atkins.

The issues become more severe if parents seem to be in danger.

"Depending on when or where that parent's deployed, particularly in a combat zone. That sort of thing," says Atkins, "The stress of what's going in with that particular parent."

However, there are programs at Sheppard Air Force base to help kids adjust, by helping them play.

"Sesame street is great" says TSgt. Cory, "They made books specifically for military kids. We rent it out and it's pretty neat."

In addition, the Military and Family Life Consultants at Sheppard Air Force Base also offer free child care to families with deployed parents the 3rd Saturday of every month.

Mary Moloney, Newschannel 6