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Parenting

Whether it is ‘weekending’ or deployment, we understand that Royal Navy and Royal Marines families spend a considerable amount of time away from each other.

Pile of books including 'My Daddy's going away'

 

For the past 2 years, the Naval Families Federation (NFF) has been providing serving personnel and their families with book resources to help them during periods of separation and deployment.

 

Thanks to your positive feedback and ongoing demand, the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) has kindly agreed to fund a continuation of the project, which has been further enhanced with additional resources relevant to the current Covid-19 lockdown.

 

The project includes resources to assist with times of parental absence, relationships, parenting, anxiety, bereavement and more.

 

Guidelines for provision of books/ resources

  • Full list of books from the NFF family resource projectA maximum of one book for each child/ family member of currently serving Royal Navy/ Royal Marines personnel.
  • You will be asked to provide your (or your serving person’s) Service number for eligibility purposes.
  • While every effort will be made to process orders quickly, this project is not supported by any additional staffing resource, so please be patient with us.
  • Provision of particular titles is subject to availability.
  • Please note that during the current COVID – 19 situation there may be a slight delay.
Posted on: 4th May, 2020

 

We want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all the people who are working as part of the national response to Covid-19.

 

Many key workers in the NHS, the Armed Forces (Regular and Reserve) and other vital services are working away from home at the moment as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are living away from your family, here are some tried and tested tips from the experience of Royal Navy and Royal Marines families which may help you to navigate this time of separation.

 

You can download our resource free here.

 

 

Posted on: 30th April, 2020

 

Being a parent and raising children is exciting and rewarding, but it can be tough at times for any family. The amount, patterns and types of parental absence faced by Royal Navy and Royal Marines families present additional challenges that are not routinely experienced by most civilian families.

 

In response to feedback from families, the Naval Families Federation has produced a new resource about the experience of parental absence. The purpose of the resource is to draw together some useful information about parental absence and separation, and provide some strategies to help families thrive. If you are a parent, it may also be helpful to give a copy to your child’s school, or to other people in your network, to help them to understand your circumstances.

 

You can download a free copy here. Alternatively, Royal Navy and Royal Marines families, and those supporting them, please email us at contactus@nff.org.uk to request a hard copy. Regrettably, we are only able to send hard copies to our beneficiaries due to resource constraints.

 

Posted on: 6th February, 2019

The Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) have produced a practical guide to help families understand the psychological and emotional dimensions of moving. The information is designed to help parents minimise the impact for their children and make the move as positive an experience as possible.

 

1. Tell your children that you will be moving and give them an idea of the timescale. It is much better that they hear about a move from their parents rather than from someone else.

 

2. Your children may need something visual, like a calendar (showing how many sleeps till the move) to help them understand the timescale.

 

3. Talk to your child(ren) about the new destination and help them to find out more about the new area. The internet will often be the easiest way to find things that will be of interest to them.

 

4. Find out about schools in the new area. If you have any difficulty doing this, contact CEAS, who will be able to give you advice and guidance. Email DCYP-CEAS-Enquiries@mod.uk or phone 01980 618244 or (mil) 94344 8244. Remember it is a parental responsibility to apply for a school place.

 

5. Once you know which school your children will be going to, make contact with the team there. Try to establish an e-mail pen friend for your child(ren) so that they can start to get to know someone in their class prior to the move. Ask if they perhaps have a member of staff who specifically looks after Service children – some schools now have dedicated support staff.

 

6. If you have any choice about the timing of the move, opt to move during the summer holidays so that children will join a new school at the start of the academic year. If this is not possible, explore the possibilities of moving during the Easter or Christmas holidays.

families on the move 2

 

 

7. Help your children to plan their goodbyes. This includes talking about the people they wish to visit before moving; leaving parties; final visits to favourite places and restaurants; time to say goodbye to friends and family.

 

8. Help children to ‘make up’ with friends they may have fallen out with, in anticipation of the move. This will enable them to say a proper goodbye to significant friends. It is important to remember that the more successfully you leave, the easier it is to join in your new place.

 

9. Think about how to keep in touch with family members and special friends (addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers). Help children to be realistic about this so that they do not promise to keep in touch with too many people and then feel disappointed in themselves when they can’t achieve this.

 

10. Help children to gather photographs and souvenirs to remind them of special people and places.

 

11. Try to keep to your usual family routines as much as possible up to the time of the move as this will help children to feel secure.

 

12. Keeping a family scrapbook to record things you have done and seen in a particular location.

 

13. Teach children about any different customs that they need to know for their new location.

 

14. Plan visits home and visits from extended family to help maintain a sense of closeness and continuity with significant people.

families on the move 3

15. If your belongings are going into storage, keep some things with you which will help you feel at home in your new environment.

 

16. Talk about the move with your children and share your feelings about it.

 

17. When you arrive at your new destination, get your children into school as soon as possible.

 

18. Explore your new environment together.

 

19. Establish new family routines as quickly as possible.

 

20. Remember that it takes time to adjust to a new place. Don’t take on too much too quickly or you may end up feeling overwhelmed.

 

If you are concerned about how your children are responding to a move, talk to your school. If you are overseas, you can also contact the DCYP Targeted Services team responsible for the MOD School. You can contact CEAS at DCYP-CEAS-Enquiries@mod.uk

 

Further information

If your child is moving schools, this downloadable resource may be of interest to you.

 

Posted on: 21st June, 2017

Are your dependent children declared on JPA? Declaring dependent Service Children on JPA can enable appropriate allowances to be obtained, enable paternity and adoption leave requests and can have an influence on allocation of service housing and potential assignments.

In order to complete the registration process, Service Personnel should provide a copy of the child’s birth certificate to unit HR who will complete the JPA process in accordance with BPG IN914005.

Contact: DCYP-DCYP-Mailbox@mod.uk

 

Posted on: 27th March, 2017

Bringing up children can be a great joy, but also has its challenges, particularly during periods of separation. Sometimes undertaking a parenting course can help parents or carers to feel more confident in their approach. There are various courses available through local Children and Family Hubs (sometimes called Sure Start Centres or Children’s Centres). Evidence based courses such as the Incredible Years and Triple P – Positive Parenting Program can be a good starting place.

 

Families often talk to us about their experiences of parental absence, whether through deployment, weekending, or other causes. In response to their feedback, and in consultation with YoungMinds, we have produced a resource to help to support parents, carers and schools. You can download a copy here.

 

Family Lives is a charity that supports parents and others raising children in having the best relationship possible with the children they care for. They offer a telephone support helpline and online forums. Find out more here.

 

Family Fund

Family Fund provides grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people. They provide grants for a wide range of items. Please visit their website here.

 

Online Safety

For helpful advice and tools you can use to help keep your child safe online visit the NSPCC’s Online Safety Guide.

How to decide if your child is ready to be home alone –

Deciding if your child is ready to be left home alone can be a tricky decision. The NSPCC’s very helpful guide explains what you need to consider.

Little Troopers support children with parents in the Armed Forces, Regular or Reserve. You can buy separation packs and other resources from their online shop. You can visit their website here.

HMS Heroes is a national support group for children of serving people. They provide a tri-Service network of after-school clubs. Please read more here.

When your family is mobile, or you are living away from your support network, it can really help to develop relationships with other parents in your area. One way to do this is through National Childbirth Trust’s ante and post-natal groups.  You can search their website to find a ‘Bumps and Babies’ event near you. They also offer UK wide online e-groups for Dads, women planning a home birth, caesarean section support and pre-term birth support.

 

 

Young Minds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. They have a free helpline and email support service, and have a range of useful resources on their website here.

 

Posted on: 17th November, 2016
Updated on: 12th February, 2019

The days of lullabies, trips to the park and help with homework are over. You have gone from being a supervisor of your child’s life to a spectator as your young person takes their first steps of independence. This can be a challenging transition for any parent, but what if your young person has decided to join the Royal Navy or Royal Marines?

 

Back in the 1960s, recruits at HMS Raleigh were given a compulsory postcard to send home to their parents in their first week of training, and were told what to write! Nowadays parents are much more likely to hear the unvarnished reality of their children’s experiences.

 

We’ve been talking with parents about their experiences of their grown up children joining the Naval Service. They have told us about some of the things that have helped them during the early days of training and moving on to first assignments. A common thread in the feedback we received from parents was that they felt confident that their ‘children’ were being well looked after and supported by the Service. Families felt that their young people knew where to get help and support, and that they had access to people who would listen to any concerns. There was good awareness among young recruits of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines’ guidance on issues such as bullying or harassment. In particular, parents mentioned Royal Navy Chaplains as providing invaluable support, whether or not the young person has a faith.

 

HMS GLOUCESTER GETS ROYAL WELCOME HOME - 25th March 2011. HRH The Duchess of Gloucester will join Type-42 destroyer HMS Gloucester as she sails back into Portsmouth on March 25 from her seven-month deployment to the South Atlantic. Pictured: Mrs Marie Grinnell and son AB (SEA) Ashley Grinnell. Model release forms held at FFRPU(E) As the ship’s sponsor the Duchess launched the ship on November 2 1982 and has been closely involved ever since – seeing her through 15 Captains, two rededications and 25 years of commissioned service. HRH The Duchess of Gloucester will join the destroyer by helicopter before meeting the ship’s company and sailing with her into Portsmouth. This will be HMS Gloucester’s final homecoming as she will be decommissioned from the Fleet in June. *** Local Caption *** Pictured: Mrs Marie Grinnell and son AB (SEA) Ashley Grinnell.

 

One mum said that young people generally get caught up in what they are doing and life with their new ‘oppos’, and tend to think about mum and dad when something goes wrong. This can be misleading for parents who may only hear about the more challenging stuff. Despite how it may sometimes feel as a parent of young people, you are very influential, and your support and ability to listen can have a huge impact on their success.

 

Parents who have experienced Service in the Armed Forces themselves said that they felt this was a huge advantage to them in helping them to feel confident and happy about what their young people were doing. One father said that he felt confident that if he approached the Navy about any concerns that he would be taken seriously. He felt it was important that parents who had not served in the Armed Forces themselves realised that people will talk to you and help you. Several parents said it was helpful to ‘buddy up’ with someone who has more experience of Naval life, and that appropriate social media groups could be helpful in reducing anxiety for parents.

 

Here are some of the top tips you shared with us:

“Simple really; don’t worry about them; they are being better looked after than we could ever dream.”

“Get them a good iron and a good ironing board!”

“Expect phone calls with tears and asking to come home from basic training. It probably won’t happen but be prepared so that you can look after your own feelings and be supportive. Talk beforehand about the fact that it will be tough and about how they can get support if they need it. Try to foster determination to stay for the basic training at least. Agree that this can be the finishing point if they want it to be, but encourage them not to give up half way through.”

“At times supporting a serving person can feel like a bit of a one-way street (like many areas of being a parent!). Care packages and letters are appreciated, although letters are not always reciprocated.”

“If you don’t hear from your young person, assume the best and not the worst. If anything serious does happen, you will get to hear about it. No news is usually good news.”

“Do your best to boost them up and be positive.”

“Make contact with other parents in the same situation. There are lots of groups and support networks online. The Royal Navy website has a forum and there is a Royal Navy Family and Community Facebook page. There are also numerous unofficial groups and networks that you can access via social media. Please be careful to avoid posting information about operations or ships’ movements, use your privacy settings to limit access to your profile, and don’t identify yourself as a Service person’s family member on your public photos and details. Parents have told us that Facebook groups have been incredibly helpful. They are not always easy to find at most are ‘secret’, so you need to find someone in real life who can introduce you. Some of the parents we spoke to had become friends with other parents of serving people, and found this very helpful.”

“If your young person is in a relationship with a long-term partner, accept that they may make that relationship a priority when they have time off, and that their time with you may need to take a back seat. This can be tough for any parent, but training and deployment can result in time to invest in relationships being in short supply. As hard as it may be, your young person may have a new centre of gravity in their life. A wise parent will foster a good relationship with their adult child’s partner, and seek to support them through times of separation in an appropriate way.”

“Equip yourself with information. Find out about what is involved. You can download ‘A Parent and Guardian’s Guide to Careers in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines’ from the RN website that will answer many of your questions. Information packs are given out at new entry training establishments, but if these don’t reach you as a parent you can find all the information you need via the Royal Navy website or from us at the Naval Families Federation.”

Thank you to all the parents who took the time to speak with our team for this article. If you would like to give any feedback about your experiences of being the parent of a serving person, please do get in touch with us here.

 

Posted on: 17th November, 2016