Parenting Resource

Combat and Operational Stress: Invisible Injuries

Download Files Mar 9, 2016

This resource may impact your relationship with your young child. This booklet helps you to think about what these injuries may mean to a young child, and how you can help to buffer your baby or toddler from being affected by that stress.

It is not unusual for Veterans to still be dealing with combat and operational stress as they re-enter civilian life. Simply put, combat and operational stress injuries are subtle physical changes in the brain. They occur when stress is too intense or lasts too long. These injuries affect the brain’s ability to handle and adapt to stress, sights, sounds, movements, and memories. Stress injuries are true physical injuries. Sometimes people doubt they exist. Why? There is no outward evidence of injury other than changes in behavior. They’re not a result of weakness. Even the strongest Veterans can suffer stress injuries.

Your baby or toddler can sense the tension in the air. When you are upset, on edge, or just plain exhausted, it can be hard to give her the hugs, cuddles, and time to play and laugh together that help her feel loved and safe.