Born into this Life: Characteristics of a Military Kid

Military children are some of the most resilient children – that turn into adults – on the planet. Throughout their life, military children are forced to face obstacles that the average civilian child would never have to face. From constantly moving and leaving friends, to parents deploying, they face it all. However, with every challenge comes great success and many lessons learned.


While servicemembers and spouses can choose whether they want to be part of the military life, children are born into it. Military children are born into the lifestyle and raised with the life of a military child, even if they would have rather had a civilian lifestyle. However, most military children say they would never trade the life of a military child for the world.


Military children are often referred to as military BRATs. What people do not tend to often know is that BRAT is not used in a derogatory manner. BRAT is an acronym that stands for bravery, resilience, adaptability, and toughness. Because of their rough lifestyle, military children live up to each of those four words.


In April 2021, Grace of a Military Child and Life was created to help share the stories and the challenges of military children. There are a lot of lessons that civilians can learn from military children and implement into their own daily lives. Because of the experiences military children are exposed to from such a young age, they are more likely to be more mature at a younger age.


Military children are BRAVE. Military children go through some hard situations throughout their life. Moving to a new school in the middle of the year is one of the scariest things to go through. But they take the task and, even though they may be scared, they excel and make the most of the experiences they face. In every situation in life, it is important to make the most of each situation. It is important to be brave in every situation that you are put in. Take inspiration from military children. You may not always get to choose the situations that life throws at you, but throughout everything, you can be brave!


Military children are RESILIENT. No matter what kind of situation life throws our military children, they are able to bounce back like it did not impact them, while in all reality, it shook their world. When a parent leaves on a deployment or a training mission, they have to mostly act like it does not impact them. When a parent deploys, military children often feel pressure to step up to help fill the role of the parent gone. While it can be a challenge for many children, they often learn that they are capable of so many things when they are at such a young age. We can learn from military children how to be resilient. It can be easy to say no to something that requires a lot out of you but if military children can do so many incredible things at such a young age, do not be afraid to tackle any situation head on!


Military children are ADAPTABLE. Sometimes, military children move every single year of high school. It is challenging to make friends and find who you are at the same time. It can feel like it is the same cycle on repeat. But with every move they make, military children find ways to adapt to their new environment. Many civilian children would find it challenging to move to a different city every two to four years – sometimes even every year. Military children do not have another choice. They have to adapt quickly to a new environment no matter how challenging it may be. It is inspiring to the average person that you can easily adapt to places no matter if it is a new school, new job environment, new friends, etc. Military children can do it even from such a young age that they become used to it. Learn from military children to be adaptable!


Military children are TOUGH. When meeting another military child, you can instantly tell. Military children simply connect to each other on a different level that they are not used to with civilian children. There is an instant bond. No matter how long you know each other, you have an instant best friend 9 out of 10 times. But it can be challenging because when compared to other children their age, military children are often seen as rough around the edges. This is just because of the way they are raised and the lifestyle they grow up in. Military service members must be tough no matter the situation they are faced in, and military children are often raised the same way. You can be tough just like military children!


April is month of the military child, and we honor military children by giving them the honor and recognition they deserve. Even though you are not a military child, there are things we can all learn from military children. Their bravery, resilience, adaptability and toughness are characteristics that make military children special and inspire others to be just like them!

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