Parents of Veterans

No matter how old your kids are, you never stop caring. This page provides resources for parents of those in the serving and ex-serving community, and steps you can take to support your son or daughter.

When a different person comes home

Being a parent of someone who has served can be difficult at times. If you’re finding it hard, you’re not alone. Many parents report feeling:

  • Worried about their son or daughter and grandchildren.
  • Helpless to fix things and uncertain where to get help.
  • Unsure of their role, whether they should intervene, or what they can do to help.
  • Shut out of their son or daughter’s life.
  • Overwhelmed by the responsibility they feel towards their son or daughter.
  • Angry about what their son or daughter has gone through.
  • Frustrated by their son or daughter’s behaviour

There are a range of resources and support services available that can assist in beginning to address these feelings.

Where can I go if I need help?

Counselling for individuals, couples, or families is available. Speak to your GP for further information, or contact one of the services below. You can contact these services directly. You do not need permission from your son or daughter or an ADF member.

  • Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling (formerly VVCS) work with current and ex-serving members of the ADF or reservists, and their families. Call 1800 011 046
  • Relationships Australia offers a broad range of services to individuals, families and communities across the country such as counselling, mediation, and family dispute resolution. Contact your state-based Relationships Australia service on 1300 364 277.

If you are the parent of a serving Defence member, the below services may be of assistance.

  • ForceNet provides a secure means for Defence families to access authoritative information on Defence matters. ForceNet also connects family users with the service related to their sponsoring Defence member - such as Defence Community Organisation and Defence Families of Australia.

  • Defence Families Australia provides information, advocacy and advice to Defence families.
  • Services for families of serving members are available through Defence Community Organisation (DCO), including a family resilience program (“Family SMART" and the 24-hour Defence Family Helpline (call 1800 624 608).

Make sure you look after yourself

Often those in a caring role place their own health last. There are many resources that have been developed for military families.

  • The living well section of Open Arms outlines a range of tips to help you stay on top of your physical health, and keep you socially connected.
  • The High Res website is designed to support current or ex-serving ADF members, their families and friends to build psychological resilience and mental fitness.

'Supporting your son or daughter' is a book from the 'Coping with trauma in a military family' series. The booklet will help you to understand the impacts of trauma, especially on relationships. You’ll find advice for helping your adult son or daughter, and ways to support your relationship with them.

Mental Health First Aid is a 2 day workshop that teaches practical skills for helping a family member or friend who is experiencing mental health problems.