Military family survey acknowledges plight of the military child in 2020

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Posted at 8:21 PM, Apr 19, 2021

Often called the last draftees, military children are brought into a life of service through no choice of their own.

This year's Military Family Lifestyle Survey analyzed the challenges of military service members, spouses, and children in 2020.

Mallory Schindler has moved seven times.

Schindler has called Virginia, Mississippi, South Korea, D.C., Maryland, and now Texas- home.

“You have to be more outgoing," Schindler said. "You have to be resilient and flexible with the unknown, and you have to find the humor in life more frequently than most families because you’re it.”

But she admits, finding the humor in 2020 and into this year wasn't that easy.

Communication has allowed them to move forward into a post-pandemic world.

“That’s kind of what we’ve been saying to our military friends as well," Schindler said. "Treat it like a deployment like a reintegration from a deployment and embrace it and maybe do extra counseling maybe go on a trip as things open to reconnecting in a different way.”

April is the 35th-anniversary of the Month of the Military Child, and it exists to recognize and honor the more than a million children whose parents are serving our country.

“They’re called the last draftees because they are drafted into the military community through no choice of their own," Justin Schmitt said. "Yet they experience a lot of the strains and stressors that service members experience because of the frequent moves because of the strain of a parent’s position.”

Schmitt is responsible for philanthropic strategies and investments as assistant vice president of USAA's corporate responsibility department.

The 99-year-old private company exists for service members and their families.

As those who serve start to move past a year of shutdowns, lockdowns, stop movement orders, and deployments, they're re-emerging and moving forward by focusing on their community.

“Most deployed military service members would tell you the support they appreciate the most is the support that’s extended to their spouse and children when they’re absent.”

Schmitt said this year's military family lifestyle survey revealed that childcare and mental support were a problem.

Families with kids who have special needs had difficulty maintaining education and health care services in 2020.

Schindler's eldest has a rare genetic syndrome,

“For us, it’s been really challenging," Schindler said. "At one point, we had seven specialists I was just talking about that continuity of social relationships, but it applies with medical as well."

At an early age, military children learn how to function through multiple moves and live in dozens of different communities. And in turn, they get something other kids don't.

"And that is exposure to a lot of a different type of life," Schindler said. "Exposure to different types of people which makes them. I think, more able and prepared people in life because of the adaptability, residency, and socialization."

Schindler is not figuring out where her next move will be.

Schindler said military parents are just like every other parent.

"At the end of the day, you hope you’re doing it right just like every parent.”