Julian: For Kelsey Skillman, saying goodbye to her dad is nothing new. He has been in the military since she was little. He is a Navy officer on his eighth deployment right now.
Kelsey Skillman: I haven’t really known a dad that’s not in the military. So, it seems really normal to me.
Julian: Now 23-years-old, Kelsey and her two brothers look back on a time when growing up meant constantly worrying and missing their dad whenever he went overseas.
Kelsey: It is kind of hard when, you know, no one understands what you’re going through.
Julian: Kelsey is not alone. During the last ten years, about 2 million young people have been separated from a parent on active duty in the military. And according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, children whose parents serve during wartime are more likely to have social, emotional and behavioral problems.
Dr. Andrew Garner: We do know that one-in-four kids that have a loved one who has a war deployment will show signs of depression; and one-in-three will have really excessive worry; and about one-in-two, almost half, will have trouble sleeping.
Julian: Experts say problems get worse the longer the separation. The study also found children aren’t the only ones affected by deployment. The separation also takes a toll on the caregiver at home.
Jacey Eckhart: Things are a lot more stressful for that person, no matter how good she looks on the outside.
Julian: For the Skillmans, having another loved one in the military adds to that stress. Kelsey’s brother Sam is a cadet at West Point Military Academy.
Kelsey: They really love their jobs and they’re doing it for a really good purpose – and it’s just in them. That’s just who they are. But they also really love you too and they are doing it for you.
Julian: For now, the Skillmans say they find comfort in cherishing every moment they have together.
Julian Dujarric, Channel One News.