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Leaving and Reintegration: Flat Daddy and the Story of Military Parents
Leaving and Reintegration: Flat Daddy and the Story of Military Parents

AIR DATE: July 23, 2012

When Sabrina Stephens talks to her father, she talks to a life-sized cardboard cutout of a man in a military outfit.  It's her "Flat Daddy" - a cutout to help young children deal with separation anxiety when their parents serve away from home.  It's also the title of a documentary screening at the Las Vegas Film Festival
Flat Daddy explores the stories of how kids adjust when their parents leave for war, how spouses adapt to parenting alone, and what happens when the real parent comes home... or never does.  How do children bond with a cardboard cutout?  How do they readjust when the real parent comes home?  And how does that parent reintegrate into the family unit when he's been away so long?  We talk to the filmmakers and experts.  Are you a military family?  Share your stories with us below.
Betsy Nagler, filmmaker, Flat Daddy
Nara Garber, filmmaker, Flat Daddy
Marian Vance, mother of deceased veteran
Howard Markman, PhD, Prof of Psych and Co-Dir, Ctr for Marital and Family Studies

comments powered by Disqus
I would like to know if parents are taking their flat-children when deployed. I think some of that reciprocity would help the children cope to see themselves with their deployed father and/or mother.
J. SouthJul 19, 2012 10:33:41 AM
Hi, J. South. A quick note from the other filmmaker, who wasn't on the interview: I suspect this sort of reciprocity is rare because of the impracticality of caring for even a flat child in a war zone, but Cindy Sorenson, who made the first flat daddy, DID send a life-size cutout of her daughter to her husband in Iraq. Their daughter was less than two at the time and might have been too young to appreciate the photos of her flat proxy, but she certainly enjoyed showing them to us years later.
Nara GarberJul 20, 2012 09:14:21 AM
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