Being the child of a veteran can lead to a unique childhood. If your parents are serving or ex-serving, services and resources are available, regardless of your age.

Tailored counselling for children

Open Arms - Veterans & Families Counselling provides counselling to families and children of all ages, including the adult children of veterans (e.g. the son or daughter of a Vietnam veteran).

  • Children 5-15 Open Arms can work with the child as part of family counselling.
  • Adolescent children 15-17 Open Arms can support adolescents as individuals or within family counselling. Services depend on the maturity of the child and parental consent.
  • Adult Children 18+ Open Arms can help you deal with growing up in a military family.

Call 1800 011 046 to find out how Open Arms can support you

Kookaburra Kids

The Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation supports kids* living in families affected by mental illness. It provides recreational, educational camps and other activities. The aim is to give kids a break in a fun, positive and safe environment.

Kookaburra Kids provides age-appropriate mental health education focusing on coping skills and resilience. It helps children bond with peers who are facing similar challenges.

Defence Kids Activities supports children from serving and ex-serving ADF families.

* Children must have a serving or ex-serving parent with a mental illness and be aged 8 to 18 years.

For children of serving Defence members

DCO TeenSMART workshops help Defence teenagers manage deployment and relocation.

Defence teenagers can meet and share their stories about being part of a military family. They can also learn tactics to help them stay connected to deployed parents and meet new friends.

The workshop also covers managing change and coping with stress.

DCO KidSMART are four-week programs for primary-aged kids to help them manage posting, relocation and deployment.

The workshops help children cope with stress and anxiety. Kids can learn some techniques for handling emotions and relaxation, too.

Sessions are once a week for 1 to 1.5 hours per session.

Support and helplines

Relationships Australia offers counselling, mediation and family dispute resolution. Contact your state-based Relationships Australia service on 1300 364 277 for further information.

The Raising Children Network provides resources for parents, including helping children deal with separation.

Head to health provides a range of self help support tools, apps and resources. Covering topics like parenting skills, maintaining healthy families, and connecting with children.

The Kids Helpline offers free and confidential counselling to young people aged 5 to 25 on 1800 55 1800.

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 has information for children and their parents at Healthy Families.

Books to assist children who have parents who are in, or have been in the military

A series of books are available to help you and your child deal with issues related to being part of a military family.

Coping with Trauma is a series of books for children living with a parent who has experienced trauma, these books have been produced by DVA and Phoenix Australia.

  • Booklet

    Helping your children

    This booklet is for parents or care-givers who are serving, transitioning, or ex-serving members of the ADF and are managing the impacts of trauma

  • Booklet

    When your parent is having problems

    This booklet is intended for adolescents (aged 13–17 year) who have a parent or caregiver who is a serving, transitioning, or an ex-serving member of the ADF experiencing mental health difficulties following trauma

  • Booklet

    What's happening to my family?

    This booklet is intended for children 9-12 years of age who have a parent or caregiver who is a serving, transitioning, or an ex-serving member of the ADF experiencing mental health difficulties following trauma