WASHINGTON – The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken an emotional toll upon military families. Research has found that many of the U.S. troops are parents of young children who face risks from stress and anxiety.
About a half-million children under age 6 have at least one parent on active duty in the military. When the parent is deployed to a war zone, it can have a big impact on these young children, according to Carol Emig of the research group Child Trends.
“We know from neuroscience that infancy and early childhood are a time of rapid brain development and that high levels of stress in the early years can compromise that brain development,” Emig says.
Quality child care helps but it’s also important the non-deployed parents has good emotional support, she says. The research further finds some kids in military families will continue to have exceptional needs as they grow older.