Health & Safety

June 15, 2012

Strong families plan for change

by Brian Smith
TriWest Healthcare Alliance

Bumps, cuts and bruises are all part of any child’s life.

Dealing with deployments and multiple moves and school changes are all part of a military child’s life. As a result, parents strive for consistency. They want safety and happiness. But what do you do when the family gets bumped, cut and bruised along the way?

Adapting is a big part of being a military family. Change happens. These changes can be moves, deployments or an ill or injured parent; even a death in the family.

Some members may need help starting a conversation with their children about the new situation and feel like turning to behavioral health professionals for help. Concentrating on emotional health is just as important, if not more, than focusing on physical health.

A good place to start is TriWest Healthcare Alliance’s online behavioral health and parenting resource center TriWest.com/FamilySupport. Information, self-assessments and professional resources on a wide variety of family and relationship topics can be explored at the member’s own pace, 24/7/365.

Family-friendly tips to get started:

 

Modeling behavior?

Children watch their parents and siblings and “mirror” what they see. It’s also how they learn to act in different situations. When the stress starts, how do mom, dad, brother and sister behave?

Dr. Blake Chaffee Ph.D., TriWest Healthcare Alliance vice president of integrated health care services, emphasizes that parents should be aware of how they deal with stress. “Deployment periods are a time when parents are modeling self-care and coping strategies for their children,” he says. “This is the time to give your children examples of positive behaviors.”

 

Dealing with it?

Dealing with adjusting to new roles, schedules and relationships can help strengthen family bonds.

“It’s helpful to continually remind children that change can help families become stronger and to recognize and support the child’s positive behaviors,” Chaffee said.

 

Getting it covered?

Behaviors that do not improve over time may need extra attention. Talking to the child’s primary care manager is a good start. As TRICARE beneficiaries, children will be covered when working with a specialist. The primary care manager may be able to recommend an appropriate professional.

For most outpatient behavioral health care, a child will not need a referral for the first eight visits each year. The family has many options under TRICARE to get the type of help needed.

 

For more information, go to the TriWest.com/FamilySupport.




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