The Atlantic

A Veteran Wonders: How Will My PTSD Affect My Kids?

The trauma of war can harm the children of soldiers once they’re home—but it doesn’t have to.
Source: Jacob Myrick

Bowen screamed, “You’re dead.”

The boys were in the backyard. I had consented to let them play with their Nerf guns. Bowen was chasing Zachary. The bullets whizzed out in automatic fire. Bowen’s finger was mashed down on the trigger. Zachary was running frantically side to side trying to dodge the foam bullets. They bounced off his back and neck. One deflected off the Murcott tree. Bowen kept firing, and it wasn’t long until his 18-round magazine of foam bullets was empty. Realizing this, Zachary spun around, unhurt by Bowen’s rear assault. He had a full magazine and moved toward Bowen, who was now sprinting away screaming, “Don’t shoot. I’m out of ammo. Don’t shoot.”

Zachary unleashed the bullets from his Nerf gun, one after another. Bowen yelled as he ran to me, “Mom’s base.” He wrapped his arms around me. “I can’t die because Mom is base. You can’t kill me because Mom is base.”

Zach got upset. He threw his Nerf gun on the ground and screamed, “No fair. You can’t make Mom base.”

“Yes, I can. Mom came back from war and didn’t get hurt. She’s like a superhero.”

“Just because Mom

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