I am interested to know your thoughts on the experience of transition on family members, rather than the serving person. How do spouses and children cope with transition and does it partly depend on how immersed they have been within the military and military life during service, for instance whether living in SFA, attending service schools or the number of moves experienced?
This is an overlooked area, your right. a really helpful piece of research Living in our shoes: understanding the needs of UK Armed Forces families was published in June last year and also FIMT have some very interesting reports. I think what gets overlooked is that families are also required to conform to military culture along with the service person. A family may have moved a number of times so that children have to move schools or partners have to give up their employment to ‘follow the flag’. Of course when family members deploy the person left behind has to manage the change in family dynamic and become everything to all. When transitioning if a partner has had to constantly manage the family dynamic, bit partners are now together all the time. This raises the question who takes what role, and will there need to be a discussion around that, even reinvent a relationship to accommodate no deployments. As you say its the whole family that will be transitioning and not just the service leaver.
The service family is unique in its own right. Spouses and children often have to take on tasks that non service families dont, such as preparing Married Quarters for handover/takeover, delegation of tasks in the home to children while the Serving person is away. The majority of Civilians recognise time away for deployment, but dont realise time away on exercise and Command/Promotion Courses take up much more time. I did 22 yrs as a Soldier and my wife and family were with me all that time, and yes it does take time to adjust into your role as a civilian but you are armed with so many skills from spouses being away you can adapt to most things, same with Services children. That is not to say there is not a lot of emotional turmoil whilst the transition is happening
The 3 Families Federations are very much on the case when it comes to families transitioning too and produced a report on this subject not that long ago. If you made contact with any one of the Forces Families Feds, I am sure they would be happy to share the report with you. You may have already gone down this route, I was just browsing this morning and spotted your post, so apologies if this is repeating advice you have already. Cheers, Tony
Very good Zoom Conference yesterday and today with over 500 people, some very good speakers on a range of subjects on Transition. Anyone else manage to join? It was recorded and will be posted on the Hub