Skip to main content

What Your Military Kid Might Not Tell You About PCSing

by PCSgrades Staff - January 11th, 2023

What Your Military Kid Might Not Tell You About PCSing

Hi, my name is Morgan, and I’m a military kid. My dad has been in the Marine Corps for 20 years. I was born in 2001, a few months before 9/11, so I’ve never known life without a parent in the military and a country not at war.

My family recently made our last PCS move because my dad is retiring soon. My parents made the decision to live apart for the year so I could start high school at our “forever home” location. As usual, I was upset about moving. I had a lot of great friends and memories at our last duty station. Even though I have a lot of new friends at my new school now, I still miss where we lived before.

This move was the hardest out of the four I have done because I had just started to feel like I belonged somewhere, probably for the first time in my life. I made some pretty special friends there that made me feel like I had a place in the world. Of course, even if my family had never left or if we moved back today, those friends wouldn’t all still be there. I wasn’t the only one who moved over the summer. When you are a military kid, you are never the only one moving.

While I was thinking about our recent PCS move, I was also thinking about the negative effects military life and frequent moves have had on me over the years. I wonder if other military children have some of the same thoughts… I bet they do. So I decided to share some of my thoughts; things that military children might not even want to tell their parents about how they feel about the whole PCS thing.

Here's what military kids wish you knew about PCS moves

  • We sometimes try not to make friends… to save us the pain of when we move again.

  • We stay upset about a recent PCS for long periods of time… even if we don’t show it.

  • We sometimes wish that our parent never decided to join the military… and consider how much “better” our life would be if they hadn’t.

  • We blame our parents for having to move so much… even though we know it isn’t their fault.

  • We constantly want to go back to our recent duty station… even if it’s not the most desirable location.

  • We hate when our parents talk bad about our recent duty stations… because we had a good experience there and had stronger emotional ties.

  • We realize as we get older that it’s possible to be stationed at the same place as a friend again… but it’s unlikely.

  • We don’t use the phrase, “In the military, we don’t say goodbye, we say ‘see ya later’” as much as we used to. We know it’s a strong possibility you’ll never see that person again.

Read more here about helping kids move forward after a PCS move.

PCS moves aren't all bad for military kids

It’s true: there are many negative impacts on military children when their parents are in the military and they have to move. However, the experiences we go through effect who we are. So in addition to the bad feelings, military kids might not share with their parents, I wanted to share some good things too, from my point of view.

  • If my father never joined the military… we wouldn’t have moved to a place that offered band in 5th grade. I might have never joined band, and it’s a huge positive part of my life.

  • If my father never joined the military… my parents may have never met so I wouldn’t have been born.

  • If my father never joined the military… I wouldn’t be able to say that I have a best friend in CA, a friend in New Zealand, a friend in Germany and friends all over the country.

  • If my father never joined the military… I wouldn’t have traveled to as many cool places and had as many unique experiences.

  • If my father never joined the military… I probably wouldn’t have such a great respect for the military and our country.

  • If my father never joined the military… I might not be as compassionate towards that “new kid at school.”

Despite all the negatives, I do realize one really important thing: If it weren’t for military life, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. And for that, I am really grateful. Thank you for your service, Dad. I love you!

PCSgrades Staff