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Top 10 Ways You Know Your Kids Are Military Brats

We all know our military brats aren’t like other kids. I mean, how many other children can locate Iraq and Afghanistan on a world map or brag to their friends that the best part of their tenth birthday was finally getting their military ID card? Our kids just stand out. There’s simply no mistaking that they’re living the military life.

As we celebrate this Month of the Military Child, we asked our Facebook fans to share their thoughts on those unique characteristics of military children. Thanks to those responses and my own observances with the brats in my house, here are our top 10 ways you know your kids are military brats:

1. They ask the barber for a high and tight. I have to admit I’m not a fan of the high and tight haircut. But my son sure is. I’m pretty sure that by the time he was big enough to climb into the chair at the barber shop at the Navy Exchange, he knew to ask for the same hair cut as all the other sailors sitting in the waiting area holding a number. (I also have to admit that my daughter has expressed her desire to have a high and tight. One day I might give in just so she’ll stop asking.)

2. They have traveled to more places than most people will see in their entire lives. My son had traveled to four different countries before his fourth birthday, and we can’t even remember all the states he’s visited. As Facebook fan Dolores said, you know you’re raising military brats “when they have their own passports and have traveled to more places than most adults.”

3. They know the fine art of making friends. Dominic said that military brats “can make ‘best’ friends at the playground in 30 seconds after PCS’ing.” I wish I made friends as quickly as my kids do when we move! And sometimes friends make repeat appearances. As USMC Life pointed out, “They already have several friends at their next school from former duty stations!”

4. They’re okay with postponing holidays.  Between deployments, moving and other separations, our kids know that sometimes it’s more fun to celebrate holidays and birthdays a little late if it means they get to celebrate when the family is complete.

5. They can’t keep track of how many houses they’ve lived in and how many schools they’ve attended. I may know that before my son celebrated his fifth birthday, he had lived in 5 different houses and by her second birthday, my daughter was in her 3rd house, but ask them and they have no idea.

6. They have their own uniform. My son has had a uniform hanging in his closet just like his dad for as long as I can remember. One year he even had a Navy-themed birthday just so he could wear the uniform to the party.

7. When someone asks them where they’re from, they answer “I’m from all over the place.” Most adults I know don’t hesitate when asked where they’re from. But our military brats have lived in so many different places, it’s hard to pick just one!

8. They call every man they see in uniform “Daddy.” As Facebook fan Sabrina said, you know you have a military brat “when your toddler walks up to an ACU leg they see and says “Dada.”

9. They can execute a near-perfect salute. My children have known how to salute since they were old enough to stand at attention. It’s even better when paired with a “Yes Sir!”

10. They speak military-ese. Lots of our Facebook fans agree that military brats know the lingo. Victoria said, “He can sing the Army song.” According to Antoinette, “They say simper fi to the MPs at the gate.” As April noted, “They know what it means to PCS and go TDY. They know what an LES is and what TLA is. They also know the ARMY Values by heart. My kids know them all.” And I would love to meet Elizabeth’s brats just because her response was: “They play a made-up game called ‘gate guard’ involving not having your ID to get through the gate and the MPs being called and taking you to jail.”

What would you add to the list?

About Heather Sweeney

Heather Sweeney is a Navy wife, mother of two, military spouse blogger, canine caretaker and avid runner. She’s the blogger formerly known as Wife on the Roller Coaster and still checks in every now and then at her blog Riding the Roller Coaster.

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