It may sound like a derogative term, but “military brat” is a badge of honor earned by the children of active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Military families are relocated based on duty assignments, typically moving every 2-3 years, depending on the service branch and specialty of the service member. It’s not unusual for military children to change schools mid school-year, forcing goodbyes and forging new friendships.
Military brats cope with separation anxiety, fear, loss and having to adapt to the ever-changing scenery that comes with a transient military lifestyle. They often take on more responsibilities when a parent deploys, making deployments a team effort. At an early age, they learn to pitch in, help out and pull their own weight, if not a little more.
Despite the unique stressors of military family life, the military’s divorce rate in 2014 reached its lowest point since 2005, according to statistics released by the Department of Defense. More military families are sticking together.
Like civilians, military kids play in sports leagues and perform in school plays. Not all dream of becoming a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine. They also dream of shooting hoops like Lebron James or blowing up a stage like Taylor Swift.
But, unlike most American kids, military brats grow up traveling the world; exposed to a variety of cultures, races and religions. This gives them a broader understanding of, and tolerance for diversity.
Military brats are kids who, because of the military subculture in which they are engrained, have learned to embrace change, be resilient and roll with whatever comes their way. And they are proud of their parents who serve. Just ask them.