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Reintegrating into Family Life after Deployment

Marine Family

Photo by Lance Cpl. Meghan J. Canlas

Returning home after deployment is often a time of happiness. The transition back to your life at home can also be difficult and stressful – for you and your loved ones. Here are some tips to help you reintegrate into family life.

Know that Reintegration is a Process

  • Be patient. Go slow as you ease back into a routine. The process of reintegration can take several months as you rebuild relationships.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet,exercise, limit use of alcohol and make time to rest. Depend on family, your unit and friends for support.
  • Seek help. If you are feeling signs of stress, seek expert help. Call the Military Crisis Line for 24/7 confidential support at 800-273-8255 and press 1.

Reconnect with your Spouse/Significant Other

  • Make your spouse a priority. You’ve both grown and changed during the separation. Spend time talking with each other and ease back into intimacy.
  • Get help if you need it. Consider attending a Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program if you are married. The program teaches couples useful communication skills and successful problem solving strategies.
  • Rebuild a routine. Your partner has developed a way of life while you were gone. Learn his or her routine and build a new routine together.
  • Work to resolve conflict. Yes, you will have disagreements. That is normal. Work through the conflicts to obtain a healthy resolution.

Reconnect with your Children

  • Be patient with your children and yourself. You can't make up the missed time overnight. It will take time for your children to reconnect with you.
  • Learn all you can about your children's lives while you were gone. Let them share pictures, stories and memories.
  • Expect your children to test the rules now that both parents are home. While you were gone, your spouse or your child's guardian set the pace. Accept guidance from your spouse or child’s guardian, and negotiate your role as a parent. Take it slow as you can’t take over all at once.
  • Make time in your schedule for family activities. Include one-on-one time with each of your children.

Reconnect with Your Family and Friends

  • Be patient. They want to reconnect with you, but may not know how. Understand their efforts and let them know how you are feeling.
  • Share with them what is appropriate. Try not to shut loved ones out of your life. As you feel more comfortable, consider sharing what you can about your combat duty.
  • Realize you may have changed since you left. Your family and friends may want you to be the way you were before you left. It’s okay if you don’t feel the same. Help them find new ways to connect with you.

Reaching out is a sign of strength. If you or a loved one needs additional support, you can contact the Psychological Health Resource Center at 866-966-1020 to confidentially speak with trained health resource consultants 24/7. You can also visit our “Seek Help, Find Care” webpage to see a list of other key psychological health resources.

Additional Resources

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