Parenting Without Relief (working title) is a long-term project that explores the impact of armed deployment on Canadian military children.

The story begins in 2012 with Caleb Barrie, a 15-year-old boy living with his civilian mom and soldier father in Petawawa, in the Ottawa Valley. In accordance with his father’s career, Caleb has attended seven different schools in as many years, and moved home four times over the last ten – a process that has disrupted his education and cut short attempts to make long lasting friendships.

The project then moves to Kingston in Ontario, a military town located midway between Toronto and Montreal, where we meet Marco (2yrs), Matteo (4yrs), and Xander (7yrs), three sons of parents Stefani and Steve Occhipinti. Steve is an Information Systems Administrator in the Canadian Army and has deployed multiple times within the short period of his children’s lives. The three boys are too young to fully understand the nature of their father’s occupation, nevertheless, he and Stefani make a concentrated effort to separate the military from their children’s daily lives – for instance, most of Steve’s green uniforms and army paraphernalia are stored in the basement away from the boys’ eyes, and news broadcasts are carefully monitored (especially when Steve is away from home).

This work is ongoing. Families interested in participating in this project can contact me directly via email at:

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