The Push-Pull Effect

When my son came home in 2005 after his deployment, we didn’t know what to expect. Our family didn’t quite know what to do or how to help our returning soldier. There was this “push-pull effect” going on with our family dynamics.

I wanted to pull my soldier toward us and fuss over him, hug him, make him his favorite meals, call him on the phone all the time, and just watch him sleep because I was beside myself with joy that he was home.

At the same time, we wanted to respect our son’s privacy and give him space to re-enter civilian life and not push him away from us by suffocating him with our good intentions.  This article contains suggestions on returning to a “normal” life at home when normal means something different after a deployment.

The old adage,“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” helped us stay connected. I would:

*Call my son and invite him to come to dinner at our home

*Surprise him at his work place with lunch and homemade cookies

*Show up at his apartment with dinner and enough for left overs

Remember to be patient. Listen. Reach out. Stay connected. Don’t be afraid to reach out to experts. Everyone heals at their own pace.

What are ways you helped your soldier return to “normal” after a deployment?


6 thoughts on “The Push-Pull Effect

  1. Thanks. My BFF is currently deployed. He’s a roll with the punches kind of guy, but I’m sure things will be a little weird till he settles in again. this will help a lot. 🙂

    • Hi Kittyb78,
      I will hold you and your BFF in prayer. I know that as a mom of a soldier, it took me a good year and a half after my son got home to finally breathe and feel like I was back to normal after all the worry and stress. Having a loved one deployed changed my life. I am so grateful for all that our troops and their families and friends sacrifice. Thank you for supporting your BFF. Take good care of yourself. Love Janie

  2. Janie,

    Enjoyed you post. You just have to use intuition and take your loved one’s lead when they return. You are doing such a wonderful job with this blog. Next May when I focus on Military Families, I may want to interview you.

    Don’t know if any of your readers are aware of a series of books for children published under “We Serve Too!” One of the three books deals with homecomings and how to handle them with young children. Highly recommend them for families. They even send a child a dog tag that says “We Serve Too.”

    Pat Tilton

    • Thank you Pat. Thank you too for sharing the wonderful resource for children. I look forward to when your latest project (children’s book) can be added to that list! Take good care of yourself. Love Janie

  3. Your timing is truly from God sweet lady. Thank you for your prayer and kind words on Tyler’s homecoming. He’ll be home, home (grin) in a few weeks – not soon enough, but we’re thankful he’s on US soil. Praying that we are able to find the balance between pushing and pulling. 🙂

    • I was thrilled to hear your good news about your sweet son coming home! I was jazzed up all week with the joy of it all. Praise God for a job well done. Thank Tyler for me and give him a hug from me too! (It’s a mom thing 🙂 I remember wanting to hug and touch my son all the time when I saw him. I really had to restrain myself. Many blessings to your family. Love Janie

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