SOF husbands/fathers - Do you "know" your kid(s)?

rmataafa

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To those in SOF (and to those outside it where applicable) with children and have managed to keep their marriage strong, could you speak any to how you have managed to build healthy attachment to your children (or haven't) and some of the realities of that while being gone all the time? I have spoken to one individual in 5th group (I am considering 18x) and he basically said "it's doable, but you're gonna sacrifice time and emotion with your family" which is what I am inferring. But this was only one guy and his response seemed to be pretty optimistic in contrast to what most of google threads and youtube vids have resulted. My question is, for those who have had any kids grow up some and their opinion on how their sacrifice has impacted their kids. This is not a question for educational research, but more so for my wife and I to consider. To clarify -
1: how did you build healthy attachment to kids?
2: How did your sacrifice impact your kids later on in life?

Unsure if I should include my reasoning behind my question here without referring to my introduction post since it may shed clarity. I may also be missing threads addressing this exact issue, but the search brought back little result on this forum. I realize this may elicit vulnerable/personal information so I appreciate any and all response.
 

rmataafa

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Thank you for that resource @BloodStripe. As a student counselor, I appreciate the holistic approach Knowesis is aiming to take with families and the domains they're considering in their approach. I have no doubt that the SOF community takes this matter seriously.
 

RackMaster

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In some ways, thankfully I didn't have kids until after I was out of the Army; it can definitely be tough on the family life. But as a supporter and with many friends within the community, I had the opportunityto observe and learn from those around me. I think the biggest factor in having a "stable" and healthy family life is ultimately who you choose to be your partner and their ability to run the household as a defacto single parent. This applies to the SOF community and regular military.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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In some ways, thankfully I didn't have kids until after I was out of the Army; it can definitely be tough on the family life. But as a supporter and with many friends within the community, I had the opportunityto observe and learn from those around me. I think the biggest factor in having a "stable" and healthy family life is ultimately who you choose to be your partner and their ability to run the household as a defacto single parent. This applies to the SOF community and regular military.
This pretty much hits the nail on the head. As someone who had one wife split and remarried another who stayed. It's 100% how your significant other can deal with things on their own. Being gone for training, deployment, fuck-fuck games, etc.

The other side of that, is being able to allow your significant other to run the household when you are home. You can't let them make all the decisions and then come home for a few weeks and wreck shop and change it up. She will hate you if you do.
 

rmataafa

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In some ways, thankfully I didn't have kids until after I was out of the Army; it can definitely be tough on the family life. But as a supporter and with many friends within the community, I had the opportunityto observe and learn from those around me. I think the biggest factor in having a "stable" and healthy family life is ultimately who you choose to be your partner and their ability to run the household as a defacto single parent. This applies to the SOF community and regular military.
Thank you for this. I've heard this from many as well, thankfully my wife is supportive and has been supportive of that possibility.
 

rmataafa

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This pretty much hits the nail on the head. As someone who had one wife split and remarried another who stayed. It's 100% how your significant other can deal with things on their own. Being gone for training, deployment, fuck-fuck games, etc.

The other side of that, is being able to allow your significant other to run the household when you are home. You can't let them make all the decisions and then come home for a few weeks and wreck shop and change it up. She will hate you if you do.
I really appreciate the reply. It would definitely hinge on how she runs the home, my trust in her ability and leadership to do so, and my part in how the family system works subsequent to my return, etc. But while the health and stability of the family would definitely rely on those factors you listed, I'm still interested in how fathers specifically develop relationships with their kids and how those relationships impacted the kids' identity and development/psychological/spiritual health and not so much how to have a stable family while one is gone so often. Please pushback if this isn't clear. It may sound a bit redundant, but it seems really important in my short work experience so far with veterans and children of veterans/fatherless kids.
 

RackMaster

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I really appreciate the reply. It would definitely hinge on how she runs the home, my trust in her ability and leadership to do so, and my part in how the family system works subsequent to my return, etc. But while the health and stability of the family would definitely rely on those factors you listed, I'm still interested in how fathers specifically develop relationships with their kids and how those relationships impacted the kids' identity and development/psychological/spiritual health and not so much how to have a stable family while one is gone so often. Please pushback if this isn't clear. It may sound a bit redundant, but it seems really important in my short work experience so far with veterans and children of veterans/fatherless kids.
A good majority of my friends don't have much of a relationship or didn't build one with their kids until they were in their teens or older. After they were out of the military or in more static, cubicle type positions.
 

DasBoot

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I’m trying to follow the Heat/Robert Deniro advice- “do not get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.” I can’t comment on this from direct personal experience, but I will say Ranger Batt is not the wasteland of broken homes I thought it would be.

A lot of my fellow tabs and team leaders have some rocky relationships- we are getting to the point where barracks weddings and high school/college sweethearts they thought would handle the lifestyle well, are falling apart. Most don’t have kids though. The mid to senior level NCO’s have divorces but nothing too crazy.

We get a surprising amount of down time (4 days, 3 days, off at noon days, predictable leave dates). That coupled with the solid FRGs and non-profits like Lead the Way Fund providing good family events for the guys let’s the fellas have a solid amount of family time. Most dudes bitch about their wives but you only hear them go full dad mode when talking about their kids. Side note, rangers hate military age males and don’t have a really healthy respect for hippies, communists, cucks and SCAD girls, but you bring dogs or kids around and the most psychopathic manhunters turn into softies.

I think guys know their kids, and usually are told to stay home from deployments if they have babies due so they can be there for the birth. Overall it’s a lot of unhealthy individuals with healthy homes.
 
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rmataafa

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I’m trying to follow the Heat/Robert Deniro advice- “do not get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.” I can’t comment on this from direct personal experience, but I will say Ranger Batt is not the wasteland of broken homes I thought it would be.

A lot of my fellow tabs and team leaders have some rocky relationships- we are getting to the point where barracks weddings and high school/college sweethearts they thought would handle the lifestyle well, are falling apart. Most don’t have kids though. The mid to senior level NCO’s have divorces but nothing too crazy.

We get a surprising amount of down time (4 days, 3 days, off at noon days, predictable leave dates). That coupled with the solid FRGs and non-profits like Lead the Way Fund providing good family events for the guys let’s the fellas have a solid amount of family time. Most dudes bitch about their wives but you only hear them go full dad mode when talking about their kids. Side note, rangers hate military age males and don’t have a really healthy respect for hippies, communists, cucks and SCAD girls, but you bring dogs or kids around and the most psychopathic manhunters turn into softies.

I think guys know their kids, and usually are told to stay home from deployments if they have babies due so they can be there for the birth. Overall it’s a lot of unhealthy individuals with healthy homes.
This is really great insight. I really appreciate your time and thought forwarded to me sir. Thank you.
 

RustyShackleford

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My wife and I were dating my last two years at 2/75 and I was gone about 17 of those 24 months due to training and our first OEF deployment. We’re still together and my job has me TDY close to half the year. My dudes ask me the same question. How do you make it work? When I’m home, I am home, if that makes sense. We do stuff as a family, take cool vacations, and I’m involved in their lives.
 

Raksasa Kotor

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I have just over 20 years on active duty. I've been married to the same woman for 19 years. I've been in SOF the past 12 years; the bulk of those years I was gone 50% of the time. I've got a seven year old daughter that will almost certainly cause me to hide a few bodies.

The gentlemen that have already posted have given sage advice; I've quoted below the things that have played a huge part in keeping my family intact:

When I’m home, I am home.
This is probably one of the first - and most common - things that we fuck up. You can't come home from a deployment and immediately go hang out with the fellas. The urge will be there - trust me. When you're home, devote yourself to your family until your wife gives you that subtle (or not so subtle) hint that she's tired of your ass.

You can't let them make all the decisions and then come home for a few weeks and wreck shop and change it up.
Big fuck up #2, and holy shit have I been guilty. There's how I do things, and there's how my wife does them. When you return home, your significant other has been running the household just fine. If you see something you don't like - as long as it doesn't lead to prison or death - for the love of God keep your mouth shut until the time is right - and then have a conversation and come to a consensus. You're not always going to win, nor should you - pick your battles.

You gotta marry the right woman.
This goes without saying, but it carries more weight than you know. Marriage, under the best of circumstances, ain't easy. This life makes it more difficult. Your spouse has to have the confidence to let you go save the world and know that they'll do just fine without you. YOU have to have that same confidence in them - and they need to see that reflected in your actions. That's easier said than done. We all want to feel like an invaluable, irreplaceable member of the household; but don't let that become insecurity that manifests in the things Diamondback 2/2 mentioned above.

This is all do-able. It's not always easy, and it's not always fun - but nothing worth having ever is.
 

rmataafa

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I have just over 20 years on active duty. I've been married to the same woman for 19 years. I've been in SOF the past 12 years; the bulk of those years I was gone 50% of the time. I've got a seven year old daughter that will almost certainly cause me to hide a few bodies.

The gentlemen that have already posted have given sage advice; I've quoted below the things that have played a huge part in keeping my family intact:


This is probably one of the first - and most common - things that we fuck up. You can't come home from a deployment and immediately go hang out with the fellas. The urge will be there - trust me. When you're home, devote yourself to your family until your wife gives you that subtle (or not so subtle) hint that she's tired of your ass.


Big fuck up #2, and holy shit have I been guilty. There's how I do things, and there's how my wife does them. When you return home, your significant other has been running the household just fine. If you see something you don't like - as long as it doesn't lead to prison or death - for the love of God keep your mouth shut until the time is right - and then have a conversation and come to a consensus. You're not always going to win, nor should you - pick your battles.


This goes without saying, but it carries more weight than you know. Marriage, under the best of circumstances, ain't easy. This life makes it more difficult. Your spouse has to have the confidence to let you go save the world and know that they'll do just fine without you. YOU have to have that same confidence in them - and they need to see that reflected in your actions. That's easier said than done. We all want to feel like an invaluable, irreplaceable member of the household; but don't let that become insecurity that manifests in the things Diamondback 2/2 mentioned above.

This is all do-able. It's not always easy, and it's not always fun - but nothing worth having ever is.
Thank you for your time sharing this wisdom and your service to our country, sir. Very appreciative as will be my wife when she can read these threads. This does help addressing my concerns; I'm not here to ask about prep/training or what I should do to get to SFAS or q course or the attitude required; this website/google/youtube seems to be loud and clear on those kinds of concerns. Again, my concern is that my children grow up with a secure attachment to their father, or as much of one as they can if their dad was an individual in SF (granted that actually happens by some slim chance). Though there haven't been many replies w/opinion on how SOF has impacted the lives of your children and actual relationship with them, these responses have shed a whole lot of light on the likelihood that these kids do indeed grow up with some of the best fathers around, just maybe not around as much as the next guy.

I'm sure if I had a daughter (or if I do, God willing one day), might have to dig a few holes as well.
 

18C4V

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I've been in SF for quite a bit, I've been a team guy, team daddy and now I'm the guy you don't want to see, unless you're getting an award.

I've seen the gamut from divorces that occur during deployments, suicides that happen during PMT, and other family issues (kids on drugs, run-aways, etc). It seems to me that the strongest marriages that last are the ones whose wives are very independent, who manage to keep the family together while the husband is constantly deployed and the husband when he comes back is in the support role (meaning don't try to be in charge), and has a strong family/friend network.

When you're home, be home....spend time with the kids, because they grow up so fast, communicate with your family while your deployed. There's no magical formula, it's hard work and it will have it's up and downs but it's doable.
 

rmataafa

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I've been in SF for quite a bit, I've been a team guy, team daddy and now I'm the guy you don't want to see, unless you're getting an award.

I've seen the gamut from divorces that occur during deployments, suicides that happen during PMT, and other family issues (kids on drugs, run-aways, etc). It seems to me that the strongest marriages that last are the ones whose wives are very independent, who manage to keep the family together while the husband is constantly deployed and the husband when he comes back is in the support role (meaning don't try to be in charge), and has a strong family/friend network.

When you're home, be home....spend time with the kids, because they grow up so fast, communicate with your family while your deployed. There's no magical formula, it's hard work and it will have it's up and downs but it's doable.
Thank you sir for your wisdom and service.
 

BlackSmokeRisinG

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Could you elaborate a bit more here? I'm pretty slow.
In the conventional force, a lot of guys said they would or wanted to be SOF of some kind, but used being away all the time as an excuse not to try. Meanwhile the regular army keeps deploying at the same time for longer periods, but probably longer in between deployments. Its a cop out statement.
 

rmataafa

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In the conventional force, a lot of guys said they would or wanted to be SOF of some kind, but used being away all the time as an excuse not to try. Meanwhile the regular army keeps deploying at the same time for longer periods, but probably longer in between deployments. Its a cop out statement.
I gotcha. I can see how that would be a copout. Not sure how that helps me understand more about developing relationships with kids during deployment. But I appreciate the warning against being fearful of joining and using "being away all the time" as an excuse to not try. Which I am not suggesting I would do if that's how my original question is being read. Thank you for your service and time sir.
 
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