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Single Parents

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(Dec. 8, 2005) -- Marines are trained to deploy: Married or single. This includes single parents.


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MCB Camp Pendleton
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Computed Name: Lance Cpl. Lanessa Arthur

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Prior to deployment, it’s important to focus on family readiness. Preparation, ranging from bonding with your family to establishing a family care plan, is paramount.

“We come home; we spend all the time together we can,” said Staff Sgt. Carla S. Glover, adjutant chief Marine Corps Base and a single parent. “Whether it’s playing games, talking at the dinner table or maybe even watching our ‘scheduled’ T.V. shows — it’s quality time.”

That intimate bonding is important. According to Lt. Cmd. Eric D. Cunha, clinical psychologist department head at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, preschool age children may regress during deployments in their daily skills causing 'toileting' accidents, using baby talk and more.

Lieutenant Cmdr. Lloyd V. David Ph.D., clinical psychologist with the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, also said they may complain of stomach aches, headaches, have sleeping problems or seem excessively clingy.

“Children between the ages of six and 12 may show behavioral problems like acting out, refusing to follow directions or go to school, getting in trouble at school, fighting, whining and a drop in grades,” he said.

To ease that transition, David offers the following advice.

- The parent should videotape himself or herself reading or talking to the child.

- Have plenty of photos of the parent around.

- Send a gift to the child.

- Coordinate projects that the child and parent can work on simultaneously, like a scrapbook or an online craft.

When choosing a guardian, Cunha recommends that family members make the best surrogate parent and familiar items can also add comfort.

Petty Officer 1st Class Anne E. Soucheck, hospital corpsman, Marine Corps Base, is marching in the right direction. “I have been sending my daughter’s things, like toys and clothes, bi-weekly to her grandma, so she will have them there when she gets there,” she said. “I’ve also discussed the ground rules with her grandma ... even though she might not follow them all.”

Guardian’s providing for the child will need a “Special Power of Attorney for the Welfare of a Child.” This will allow the guardian access to medical records and give them special permissions for the care of the child. Powers of attorney are also important when it comes to finances. Setting up an allotment, automated payments or having a trusted person pay the bills are all ideas for financially taking care of a child.

Powers of attorney are not the only documents needed, said Maj. Daniel P. Harvey, director of joint legal assistance office, Marine Corps Base.

“A family care plan and living will are important. The more complete the care plan the better off your child will be,” Harvey said.

A family care plan, which contains the living will and powers of attorney, should be turned in to the unit’s administration center. The plan will be maintained within the Marine’s and sailor’s service record book for the duration of the deployment.

“I’m not scheduled to deploy. But in that event I’ve got my family care plan at the ready,” said Glover. “I tell them (the kids) they’ll go with my best friend Beverly for a while. I will try to call as much as possible — but don’t know when I’ll be coming back.”