Being in the armed forces can be advantageous to you as a parent, but it can also make fatherhood challenging. 

Your military training and experience can influence your role as a father and strengthen your family. However, your absence from your children’s lives can result in poor academic performance and a regressive approach to problem-solving. Due to this, children become more socially and emotionally unstable. 

To be a successful parent, you must work actively to overcome the potential vulnerabilities. The first step to removing obstacles is knowing what they are. 

Following are the common challenges that come with being a military father.

  1. Challenges related to health

Military dads are more likely to suffer from mental health problems than the average family. The biggest issue that can cause hurdles is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those who suffer from PTSD may experience a sense of separation from others, causing problems in their personal relationships and behavior problems in their children. As a result of the numbing and avoidance associated with PTSD, military dads are less satisfied in their parenting roles, which can take a toll on relationships.

Take the steps necessary to become a better service member and father. You should take advantage of every opportunity to demonstrate resilience to your children. Set an example for them by practicing healthy coping skills and seeking mental health support. It is also an opportunity to teach your kids how to ask for assistance when needed. If you’re a veteran dad, other health complications (like mesothelioma) may negatively impact you and your family’s life. Don’t hesitate to seek mesothelioma support for your financial, emotional, and medical difficulties. 

  1. Deployments and separations

While deployments come with uncertainty, they provide military men with the opportunity to sharpen their combat skills, help defend the country, and serve the community. Your kids can also benefit from deployments. At home, they learn to be more independent and responsible at home and gain new skills.

However, missed bonding opportunities with your children may leave you feeling sad or lost. Also, you might wonder if your kids will need you less when you return after they get used to life without you. Thinking this way might cause you to interact with them differently. It’s still important for you to pay attention to them. No matter how long it takes you to return, your children will still be excited to see you. Counter the negative thoughts by spending as much time with them when you get the chance to make up for the time lost.

  1. Cumulative stress poses a risk to children

There’s no doubt that military men have to deal with constant stress. It can alter brain functions that regulate emotion and behavior and cause other harmful health effects. 

“Parenting stress” at home is more likely to occur during a long deployment. Over time, that stress can accumulate, and you may end up yelling at your kids, negatively affecting the quality of your interactions. As a result, you will strain your relationships and suffer from health issues. Additionally, your children are likely to grow up in an isolated and traumatized environment.

A parent who is deployed puts their children at greater risk of abuse or neglect. It may be especially difficult for families to cope with long-term or recurring deployments.

  1. Discipline and structure

Children are spontaneous and unpredictable in the early stages of their development. Pair that with the absence of a father figure, and they tend to be more challenging to deal with than average family kids. 

Most of them are constantly learning to control their bodies and minds, so it is natural that they will be impulsive and push boundaries. Their discipline and structure won’t always follow yours. Therefore, try to be patient with them. It is important to understand their limitations and to discipline them in an age-appropriate manner.

Your military training has likely instilled the value of structure in you, while self-discipline drives your success and efficiency and keeps you focused. As children love to copy their parents, especially strong father figures, explain the importance of these traits and why they are valued in the military.

  1. Emotional bonds

Your job may demand you adjust your emotional display. It is possible that you suppressed emotions like fear and worry while overexpressing determination and anger. Additionally, you might focus on emotions that build cohesion within your unit and fuel your mission. As a warfighter, this can be very useful. However, you might find that what works for your military buddies doesn’t work for your children. Children can be sensitive to loud voices and teasing, for example, and might not understand sarcasm. Therefore, teach them how to control their emotions. You will be able to connect with your children deeply and fully by turning off your automatic emotional response.

  1. Moving challenges

Another potential challenge for military families is frequently moving. Military children are frequently separated from their friends and forced to change schools, sometimes mid-term.

Even though moving can be challenging, it also seems to improve family or individual adjustment almost as often as it disrupts it. As a matter of fact, military children tend to perform better academically, score higher on IQ and achievement tests, and have lower delinquency and incarceration rates than civilian children. 

Moving often presents an opportunity for adventure for families who enjoy trying new foods and customs rather than disrupting the status quo. Friends and relatives who maintain cross-national and international relationships do even better with their children. Family attitudes about diversity and long-distance relationships seem to be the most significant indicator of adjustment to frequent moves.


For many men, fatherhood is an elusive and intimidating task. It is especially daunting for military fathers, who have to deal with the complexities of military life alongside. Frequently relocating, long-term deployments, separation from family, and health challenges can be the biggest challenges military dads face. Knowing these stressors is the first step in dealing with them. In addition, military fathers must strive to become resilient, healthy, and happy by addressing their children’s needs, relaxing family roles, embracing diversity and adventure, and finding meaning and purpose in their work.