They Were Families: How War Comes Home, By Stephanie Mines
2015 [ISBN: 1-58107-277-5, 218 6 x 9 inch pages, soft cover] prepublication price, $24.95
In surveying the literature on war and its aftermath, including the literature on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), there is virtually nothing about the families of veterans. These families are the scapegoats of war. Their story is timeless but the author believes the time has come to tell it. The RAND Corporation study initiated by the National Military Families Association reports that military families have more emotional distress and anxiety than the general population. 95% of these families feel that others (outside the military) are unaware of their dilemmas. They are correct. The needs of the families of our veterans are, for the most part, ignored. In particular, their children are not given the support they need to offset the toxic conditions of war that is brought home.
The distress in the homes of veterans creates an epigenetic burden that is carried most heavily by children. Investigations into the mechanisms of the intergenerational transmission of trauma reveal that the children of veterans who have seen combat and who have returned from war with PTSD are more prone to violence; are at a higher risk for behavioral, academic and interpersonal problems; have difficulty maintaining friendships; are more likely to have sensory challenges or to be diagnosed with autism; are at higher risk for depression and have difficulty concentrating. Knowing all this, what do we provide to take this burden off the shoulders of children and families? Close to nothing. Three simple, initial steps can begin to shed light on this shadow: Education; Resources; and Family Centered Transition.
This is a book devoted to these three steps. When the author discussed these steps with civilians they frequently respond, in all innocence, by saying: “Don’t we already have this?” These three steps are so common-sense, so obviously needed, that the assumption by people who have not investigated this issue is that it has already been taken care of by the powers that be. Surely “they” know this. But there is no “they.” We must be the “they” that voices this obvious need and advocates for its fulfillment. It is a tall order, but it must be done.
Here is what others have to say about They Were Families:
“In this era of the Global War On Terror, where America has been at war for well over a decade, military families, who comprise such a small percentage of the American population, bear the brunt of war and its unique hardships of deployment, separation, reintegration, and trauma. Through extensive research, professional expertise, and a compassionate approach, Dr. Mines offers military families a guide to help them navigate the unique hardships of war and its aftermath, with a particular emphasis on children. This guide is not just for military families but for all of us, as it serves to broaden our understanding of and our empathy for military affiliated members of our community family.”
Amalie Flynn, Author of Wife and War: The Memoir
“Stephanie has condensed a lifetime of practical and academic study into this piece of work. It is rich with awareness of the human condition, compassion to self and others and deep insight into how we can find our way to healing through our courageous care for each other. Her writing is concise and well considered and brings us a handbook for self-care to help create resilience in ourselves as practitioners and careers.”
Jan Grigg, Honours in Medical Cell Biology, Masters in Mindfulness Studies (MSc),
Mindfulness Instructor for Veterans, Scotland
“Stephanie Mines has devoted herself to understanding trauma, how it is transmitted, and how it impacts families. I commend her for exposing the emotional realities of military families and offering us more than platitudes and simple, glossed over remedies. Using real life experiences, her own and others’, she has developed a road map for resiliency that leads to health and wholeness. We need more books like this.”
Kate Dahlstedt, Co-Founder, Co-Director, Soldier’s Heart
Stephanie Mines, Ph.D, is the founder and Program Director of the TARA Approach for the Resolution of Shock and Trauma (www.Tara-Approach.org). She is a founding Board member of Veterans Families United (www.VeteransFamiliesUnited.org). Along with VFU’s Executive Director, Cynde Collins-Clark, she has created a transition facility design (REST House) for veterans and their family members.