How do families get ready for the psychological challenges of military service?

Impact on Family Dynamic and Individual Development

Military service is more than just a commitment to one’s country; it is a life-altering experience that profoundly shapes the lives of individuals and their families. Hence, dedovshchina in its military context—just as any other mistreatment practices in civilian society, such as bullying, mobbing, and ostracism—haunts new draftees and their families. Psychologist and coach Tatyana Lyavenko stresses that there is no need to be afraid of these adversities but to teach our youth how to build personal borders and the possibility of being in contact with people using full and sincere interaction. That framing is crucial because it transforms the military service’s whole challenge from fear into growth and boundary-making. Suppose a person has had experiences of bullying or humiliation in their previous years. In that case, parents often agonize over the possibility that their child will be unable to stand up for himself. This concern is magnified when contemplating the military’s structured and frequently harsh environment. In the meantime, Victoria Merkulova shows that there is no ‘right’ decision on how to tell the child about the military realities, which makes us realize the ambivalence of parental projections and the contradictory outcomes of parental choices. As for Tatyana Lyavenko, she finds herself in the chain of “letting go”. From birth to the initiation into adulthood, each milestone represents a step towards independence. Letting go in this context gives a child the freedom to forge their path, which is an act of love and courage.

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When Military Service Serves as a Son’s Rite of Passage: A Father’s Look

The psychologist and sociologist Evgeny Volkov says that often, for the military to look like the plain truth of things to the parents is a different story. A simultaneous difference is noted in this discrepancy, beyond structure and operation to the personal experience of service. It is made up of these people whose actions and decisions have such robust bearings upon life in their service. Personal stories, like the one shared by Evgeny Volkov, show how the service is bitter and sometimes even terrifying—how many stories of such things happening don’t get covered in the general media. Some experiences were challenging and risky, but they also developed relationships where one was responsible for the other, and the other was responsible for the next. Many people agree that military service could replace the initiation rite since it shakes young people out of their comfort zone, grows resilience, shapes discipline, and brings maturity. In this light, the army is not just a military institution but a transformational life experience mirroring and being affected by the larger societal context. Acts as a mirror of society, showing and shaping the values, strengths, and vulnerabilities of those who serve and the society from which they come.

Military structural reflection of society suggests that the challenges and opportunities of service women and men are deeply integrated with their nation’s cultural, social, and political fabric. This connectedness underscores the understanding of military service as an isolated task and a significant life event that significantly impacts individuals and their families. Psychologically navigating this landscape requires building communication openness and support to ensure the surrounding communities and, in the process, help build resilience. This action eventually gives a chance to strengthen and grow the family, not just the service member.

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