For those who have served in the military, the prospect of a family vacation may excite thoughts of splashing out on some well-deserved R and R or perhaps even getting a long overdue haircut. But for those who have also found themselves unexpectedly thrust into early fatherhood or motherhood, the idea of a fresh start as a family may seem a little more daunting. After all, the responsibilities of parenting don’t disappear even when you do serve your country. While the demands of parenthood may differ from those of the military, the responsibilities and obligations remain the same.
Whether you are preparing for a career in the military or have recently served, it would be wise to consider how parental responsibilities affect your personal safety. There are a variety of ways in which your family’s safety could be compromised while on holiday, whether locally or farther afield. In this article, we will discuss some of the issues surrounding military families and give you some tips on how to stay safe while on holiday – both near and far from home.
The first and most obvious place where your family’s safety may be threatened is in your immediate surroundings. Strangers may attempt to kidnap your children or subject them to some kind of physical or psychological harm in an effort to force you to give them money or information. While it’s extremely rare for this to happen while travelling, it’s certainly not something to rule out.
Make sure that your children are securely tucked away in safe places within sight at all times and that they are well-equipped with alarms and surveillance cameras. Ideally, travel with a trusted companion or in a group, especially when near your home or when you visit places that you are unfamiliar with. Being smart about where you stop and what you do on the go will certainly help you avoid potential dangers. Be alert, but don’t be paranoid – stay focused on the present, but prepare for the worst.
Another place that your family’s safety could be compromised is from the inside. Strangers may try to kidnap your children or subject them to psychological or physical abuse in an effort to get money or information from you. While there are unlikely to be overt threats from within the military itself, there is always the potential for people you meet on your travels to pose a danger to your family.
Make sure that your children are aware of the potential dangers that surround them and that they are equipped with the tools to avoid being targeted by criminals. For example, a child safety lock may be attached to their bedroom door to ensure that they cannot be opened until you return. This could save their lives if you are away for a couple of days or more. Ensure that they are protected both outside and inside the home, especially when you are going through unfamiliar locations or are in areas where there is high crime. Traveling with a spouse or partner who trusts and supports you both will certainly boost your confidence and provide you with the reassurance needed to feel safe even when abroad.
The media has a huge impact on our impression of crime and danger. Whether it’s true or not, the news can shape our perceptions of what is safe and unsafe. Watching violent crime and horrific acts on the news can make us more fearful of going outside or stepping into an unfamiliar location. This could potentially put your family at risk of becoming a crime victim. You can only protect your family by being aware of and tuning into the media’s portrayals of crime and danger. Turn off the TV or hide the remote when violent or disturbing programs are on, especially if they are programs that you wouldn’t want your children to watch.
Whether you are traveling locally or abroad, there are a number of things that you can do to ensure that your family stays safe. Before hitting the road, make sure that you discuss potential dangers with your spouse or partner. This could mean adjusting your daily routine to include regular safety briefings or making contingency plans in case of emergency. While some of these tips may not be applicable – or may even put additional strain on your already overstretched resources – it’s worth considering what restrictions military families may face when traveling abroad and how they can be handled effectively.