What I've learned while making THE WEIGHT OF HONOR documentary is that being a veterans caregiver can impact several generations. When a veteran has PTSD and there are children in the home, no matter how strong and loving and now matter how effective a parent the veterans caregiver is -- sometimes children can develop their own level of PTSD. Some of the children's behavior will not be diagnosed, but when they are older, the behaviors may surface. And later, when they are grown, PTSD symptoms and behaviors can possibly be passed on to THEIR children -- that makes 3 generations. I've heard these generational stories from the children of Vietnam Veterans, too.
And it doesn't stop there. Let's step up with the awareness, tools and education we need to bring peace to these families who have served their countries so well.
Our social media addict, Melinda found helpful articles, a children's book, and videos that we hope you'll share with your friends and family:
After learning how to cope and restore his life from his own symptoms of PTSD, Army veteran Seth Kastle created the book WHY IS DAD SO MAD to help explain PTSD to his 6 year old son. Thanks to Upworthy for this great article. This next article comes from FamilyofaVet.com The article separates children into 4 different age groups and provides guidance on the different approaches at different ages.
BrainlineMilitary.org produced a great video telling us that a veteran with PTSD may experience that their internal "danger probability meter" can be broken. In the home it is critical that they are teaching their children how to engage the world in a safe way. Video below. For the full page, click here.
The US Dept. of Veterans Affairs has published this PDF which is information, but also a printable document veterans can use to write out what they are observing about their own parenting skills and how PTSD may be affecting those skills. From the Veterans Affairs Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers, we hope you find this helpful. We did. (MIRECC)
What else can you do to make a difference in the lives of veterans with PTSD and TBI? The free online courses from PsychArmor are outstanding. Check out this one on Post-Traumatic-Stress.
Thanks to you for reading this blog post and thank you for any difference you can make in the life of a veteran's caregiver. As one of our caregivers, Nikki Stevens, put so succinctly, "Any small act of kindness really does make a difference. Especially for the children."
Thanks to - @upworthy @familyofavet @DeptVetAffairs @BrainlineMil @kastlebooks @psychArmor this information. We decided to publish all of it in one place to make it easier for veterans and caregivers who have to explain PTSD and TBI to children.
WEIGHT OF HONOR is a 2017 documentary that focuses on veterans-caregiver issues that can arise when caring for catastrophically wounded veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For details on the progress of our documentary film, join our email list.