Family Matters: The Five Phases Of Reunion
Guardlife’s newest column Family Matters will focus on topics that affect family members of New Jersey Army and Air National Guardsmen.
Families as well as soldiers and airmen should be aware that reunion is often as difficult as separation. The better prepared you are and the more you understand about the phases of reunion, the easier things will be.
The five phases of reunion are: Pre-entry; Reunion; Disruption; Communication, and Normalcy.
"Pre-entry" refers to the days immediately preceding the return of the service member. Family members and the soldier or airman both are anxious about seeing one another and returning home to some sense of normalcy. Things become hectic and time doesn’t seem to go fast enough.
"Reunion" refers to the first time the service member is reunited with
their loved ones and continues for the first several days. One may experience
a range of emotions ranging from joy and excitement to relief and tension. The
return date or reunion location may change or be postponed which may add to the
intensity of these emotions. Focus on the positive and celebrate the fact that
the family is together again.
"Disruption" occurs as the family begins to get back to their daily routine. Problems may occur because roles and responsibilities are no longer clearly defined. A spouse may have a new sense of independence. Resentment may surface. Jealousy occurs. Unresolved issues return. It is important to communicate openly and honestly as you address each issue that arises.
"Communication" is essential in reaching the final stage. Each family
member should be given the opportunity to express their feelings in defining
and negotiating roles, whether new or old. Decision-making should involve everyone
who is impacted.
"Normalcy" occurs when the family settles into their new routine. While duties and responsibilities may be different than they were pre-deployment, new routines are established and personal growth continues.
Understanding that these phases are “normal” in reunion will help families cope. Expect doubts, worries, and change. Share your feelings and communicate. Listen to your loved one's concerns and try to imagine his or her position. Remember your commitment to one another and be supportive.
Scholarship Programs Available
The application window for the 2004 Scholarships for Military Children program, for $1,500 academic scholarships ends Feb. 18.
For more information go online to, www.militaryscholar.org.
The National Guard Association of New Jersey Scholarship Committee will award nine $1,000 Scholarships in 2004.
The deadline is Mar. 15. Applications are available online at www.nganj.org/scholarships.
The Enlisted Association of the National Guard of New Jersey will award six scholarships to Association members' children in 2004. for more unformation go to www.eang-nj.org.
Guard Members Receive Unlimited Commissary Benefits
The Department of Defense announced that with the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, effective immediately, Guard members will be permitted unlimited access to commissary stores.
For more information logon to: www.commissaries.com