18 April, 2009


Being Apart From Parents

frustrated girlI haven't heard from my daughter in 4 weeks, is she ok?
Having a child in the Armed Forces can be a difficult experience. Although we are proud of them, we cannot help but worry. This is particularly true when they are away, or if they do not call home very often. One way of ensuring you are kept up to date at regular intervals is the Link Letter Scheme, where your son or daughter can nominate you to receive regular newsletters from the ship, informing you of where they have been, what they have seen, or what they have done.

Is she OK? Be sure that if there were a problem such as an accident or injury, as long as you are the Next of Kin, you are highly likely to have been informed of it. Although who gets informed is the serving person's choice, it is generally the spouse and parents who are nominated.

Like any relationship, the parent-child relationship needs good communication to remain healthy and vibrant. There are many ways of keeping in touch, however as children grow and become more independent through their military service, they may not retain contact as regularly as a parent would like. This should not stop you from continuing to write letters and e-mails to ensure that as they grow and develop they retain the confidence that you love them and want them to be part of your life. If you withdraw because they don't ring as regularly as you would like you are likely to make things worse not better. It is not uncommon for young service personnel to get carried away with work and social life and forget to keep in contact with mum and dad. This does not mean they love you any less - it is more to do with their discovering new interests, new people, and new horizons.

Be assured, however, that the Navy takes its responsibilities seriously. This is particularly true of its duty of care to its personnel. Divisional Officers and Senior Rates, who are part of your child's managerial and welfare structures, will endeavour to encourage your child to keep him or herself safe, within work and socially. After all, as an employer, the Navy wants its personnel in peak condition.

mappingOne way the Navy ensures that the right people are informed in an emergency is the use of the "Next of Kin Form". This is a form your child should complete with his or her details and give to you, enabling you to be able to make contact in an emergency.

Equally, the Navy will require your child to nominate one or two people to be his or her Next of Kin. This will include contact details to enable the Navy to contact you, if you are nominated, in the event of an emergency.

There are other ways children can ensure that parents are informed of where they are. Many ships and units operate a system where newsletters are sent to nominated friends or family, keeping them informed of where the ship or unit have been and what they have been doing. Alternatively, many units and ships offer their personnel access to e-mail services, as well as receiving e-blueys and normal mail. For more information on keeping in touch visit our Communication Section. Also try visiting the RN Website and have a look at your child's ship or unit web pages.

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