EXPERIENCES OF MILITARY-CONNECTED CHILDREN: PERSPECTIVES OF MOTHERS, TEACHERS AND CHILDREN
Increased conflicts in Nigeria, especially with current insurgent activities, have resulted in greater military service demands such as frequent and repeated deployments. Despite extant literature on the possible effects of deployments on children, little to no research has focused on the psychological experiences and outcomes of children from Nigerian military homes. This study explored the perspectives of stay-at home mothers, teachers of military-connected children (MCC) and MCC’s with an aim to provide foundations for development of policy initiatives, interventions and future research.
In this qualitative study, nineteen in-depth interviews and two focus group discussions were conducted with purposively selected stay-at home mothers/wives of personnel, teachers of MCC’s and MCC’s in a military installation in Nigeria using semi-structured interview guides and focus group protocols. All interviews and discussions were conducted in English and transcribed verbatim.
Findings revealed the following: (a) MCC’s are bold, resilient and many of them cope with the stressors associated with parental military service, (b) factors such as parent-child relationship, home environment, parental level of education, deployment frequency/duration, and serving parents’ cadre were perceived as linked to child outcomes, (c) MCC’s suffer fears associated with serving parents’ military role, inability to meet parental expectations, fear of not fitting in and not being loved, (d) MCC’s have unique behavioural and emotional challenges that may necessitate psychological intervention.
Participants recommended that MCC’s may benefit from programs providing support at the school and community level as they face negative impact of parental military service.
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