Being a military child (or a “military brat”) comes with challenges, to be sure, but there are plenty of advantages as well. For example, many military kids are more mature than their counterparts. They also get to see the world and often have a heightened appreciation for diversity. Here are a few of the many benefits that come with being a military kid.
1. Language Proficiency
When a child lives in another country, he or she is likely to pick up the language spoken there. Many military kids grow up speaking two or even three languages, such as English, German, and Spanish. It is possible, though, that children will forget some of their language skills once they move out of the country where that language is spoken. Parents can help maintain these skills by making sure their children receive regular opportunities to converse in the language by calling friends in that country or attending events where that language is spoken. Additional online language courses can also be helpful.
2. Unparalleled Adventures
Imagine a child who is able to play at Stonehenge, in German castles, and in the British countryside. Imagine a child who is exposed to the cuisines of many countries before he or she reaches their teen years. Being a military child means exposure to cultures and places worldwide that most people never get to see and experience. This introduction to different cultures and people also gives military kids a heightened appreciation for diversity and promotes open-mindedness.
Military kids must be flexible in order to adapt to new places, new schools, and new peers. This flexibility that starts early in their lives serves them well throughout their adult years. In fact, flexibility is one of the most valuable assets that employers look for in their employees.
4. Maturity and Resilience
Maturity is an asset that often comes hand in hand with flexibility. Military children cope with difficult situations—such as separation from parents and friends—early on in their lives, and these events enable them to pursue new experiences and develop skills they might not have otherwise.
5. Social Skills
Thanks to the frequent moves and exposure to diverse cultures, many military kids are adept socially. This serves them well at all stages in their lives and especially so when it comes to employment opportunities and job performance.
6. Unique Community
Military children have experiences, good and bad, that only other military children can understand and identify with such as eating MREs and wearing parents’ camos. It makes for a quick and strong bond. In fact, the “military brat” subculture is a strong and distinctive one.
7. Inclination toward Service
Many military kids grow up with a strong sense of honor, duty, sacrifice, and love for country. They work in professions such as the military, law enforcement, and nursing that are service-oriented.
8. Educational Stability and Scholarships
While some military kids enroll in many schools throughout their childhoods, many others experience educational stability through online learning programs such as k12.com. These types of alternative options mean that military parents don’t have to worry about sacrificing the quality of their children’s educations when they are moving to other locations. Students are able to enjoy a stable and consistent curriculum, and high schoolers can even take advanced placement classes and electives such as web design and anthropology. Scholarships are another advantage of being a military kid, as the branches of the military offer many scholarships. In fact, more than $15 million has been awarded in 16 years.
Challenges such as frequent moves are an inevitable part of being a military child. On the flip side, though, come adventures and a unique sense of identity. And, fortunately, with the advent of the Internet and online classes, education is one sacrifice military children do not need to make.