Hot Topic Friday: Is the Term “Military Brats” Offensive to You?


When did the term “Military Brat” start becoming offensive? I have read and seen many replies from readers in regards to not liking the term “brat”. I personally was not raised in the military, but I do have two military brats myself and I don’t find the term offensive in any way. If anything I find it cute and rather appropriate for military children. Want to know why? Do you know the history of where this term originated?

A “Military Brat” is a term for a person whose parent has served full-time in the armed forces during the person’s childhood. In conventional usage, the word “brat” used alone may be pejorative, especially in the American culture, however, “military brat” is often not considered to be a derogatory term (and may in fact be seen as a term of endearment). The term BRAT came from the British Army.  When a member of the British Army was assigned abroad and could take his family, the family went with the member in a status entitled:  BRAT status.  This status stands for:  British Regiment Attached Traveler.  Over the years, it was altered to refer only to the children of the military member.  Not only did this term stick, but was adopted world-wide. Hence why it is the popular term for our military children today. So see, no derogatory meaning there. :-)

So, even after finding out this little tidbit, do you still find this term offensive? Why? Let us know in the comments below!




  1. Cathy Phillips Duane Harper says:

    I was a Military brat and I raised 2 Military Brats. I can say that I am proud to have been called one and I hope my daughters are also proud.

  2. Donna Fitzula Lee says:

    Not offensive at all! I was not a "Brat" but my three girls were. No better education than living in different countries, learning the cultures of many different people, the lanuage and learning the world first hand. An education we never would have been able to afford. Here we go with political correctness again and I am totally fed up with it. If anyone out there was or is a "BRAT" be proud of it and stand tall. I have three Marine "BRAT" grandchildren and so proud of them (and their Mom) for what they withstand with all the deployments and definitely not the "normal" life (you have to be in the military life to undertand). Being a "BRAT" builds character. My three daughter "BRATS" stand out in this society. They don't whine – they take care of things and act. I am so proud of them and their families. Being a "MILITARY BRAT" is something very special – and don't let anyone tell you any different!

  3. I was a miltary brat and am proud of it. I would not change it for anything in the world.

  4. Christy Cordero says:

    I come from a LONG line of military brats. I my grandama was, my mom was, I was and now I am rasing 6 of my own military brats. I'm proud of the term.

  5. I’m a proud Army brat and Executive Director of Brats Without Borders, the only nonprofit in the country organized by brats, for brats, and about brats of all ages and branches of service! We’ve been around since 1999. There is nothing derogatory about the word – in my humble opinion. It’s not only an historically accurate acronym (from British Regiment Attached Traveler), it makes us feel “spunky” and “tough,” as author Mary Edwards Wertsch said in her book about growing up military. I laugh every time someone (invariably not a brat) tries to come up with some arbitrary acronym to describe military children to which not one military child in the world can relate. There are a few brats who don’t like the term, but the vast majority wouldn’t change it for the world. In fact, they can become quite belligerent if you try. There seemed to be a concerted effort by a select few (non-brats, of course) to come up with an alternate term over the past decade, but that seems to be falling by the wayside, thank goodness. Military children sacrifice so much for their families and their country. It just doesn’t seem right to ask them to give up the one identity marker that ties them together and creates a bond that goes back to the founding of America, does it?

  6. I don't think it is so…absolutely not that is ridiculous

  7. JoLisa Prakop says:

    I'm a brat of a brat of a brat…of probably another brat if I trace my lineage long enough, and I'm proudly raising a double brat (husband and I are both active) myself! You could use the term "Born, Raised and Trained" too if you want. That's an alternate acronym around here. :)

  8. Juli-Jay Hamilton says:

    WHO deemed the term BRAT as offensive? BRATS do not consider it offensive or less than PC, and we are the ONLY ones that it should matter to. I am a BRAT, and a Military Spouse, raising more BRATS, and I just dare anyone to try to remove my or my kids well-earned title of BRAT.

  9. Alicia Hare says:

    I do not use that term at all. I feel that it degrades a child. Spoiled brat, military brat, brat is brat no matter what word you put in front of it. My dad was a Marine along with my uncles and grandfathers. Yes I misbehaved and so do my children occasionally but they act like brats but are not brats.

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