Military Kids/Special Needs

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!



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

  1. 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. 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 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.

  4. 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?

    1. YESSSS!!!!! I’m a Navy brat, and this is sooooooo well said!

      I also get irritated when people say they “were” a *branch* brat. NO! You’re ALWAYS gonna be a *branch* brat! Your childhood isn’t negated because you grew up; we will always be military brats.

  5. 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. 🙂

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. I believe the ones finding offense in the term BRAT are those who truly have no understanding of its meaning. A military brat has a culture all it’s own, which so many of today’s PC society wouldn’t come close to understanding. My entire life was that of an Army brat. I’m proud that my father served defending the country he loved so dearly. I’m proud that in doing so, I learned and experienced many cultures first hand that others have only read in books through someone else’s perspective. It is because of my brat experience that I see the world through different eyes. I consider the perspectives of others and the world events going on at that time prior to passing judgement. I chose my relationships carefully knowing that not everyone appears as they seem and that I can be held accountable for the company I keep. I know that sometimes people you care for go away, but I also know that sometimes your paths may cross again (see you later, opposed to goodbye makes parting easier). We go to new places trying different foods, learning new languages and starting all over in school, while maintaining our own sense of “normalcy” in developing through childhood. BRATs live life with these challenges often with one parent available and the other on deployment, so our values may be different than others and more time may be spent on education, sports and various cultural experiences. We are smarter than the average bear!

    Those who deem the term brat offensive could not come close to understanding why we carry the title proudly. We go through a lot and we’re equipped by the experience to make it work. It is because of this experience that I can better manage the world I love in today! I’m proud to have served and sacrificed along with my family. I am the BRAT of an Army veteran. I am proud of my heritage and couldn’t be more proud to hold the title BRAT! (tc)

  9. It is an honor to be term a Military brat!
    BAHS class of 76
    Stuggart Highschool 76
    Spencer high School 76
    Pacelli high school 76

    1. No. It’s a badge of honor I’ve proudly worn for 52 years. Forever a BRAT. Nobody can change that!

  10. I am so proud and honored to be a Brat! I wish I could claim the honor of being a Military Brat, but can only claim to be a Civil Service Brat. Dad was unable to enlist, so served our country in the next best way. I am so thankful that I can claim to be from this awesome family of Brats! Brat Proud! Brat Forever!

  11. My dad retired from the USAF as a CMSgt after 30 years. Went to three high schools and graduated Class of ’85 from Berlin American High School. I’m a Cold War BRAT and honored to be one. I’m offended by others outside my experience calling me anything other than a BRAT.

  12. I was once called an Army brat. I had to correct them and said, no, Air Force brat. It was and always will be an honor to have been a Military brat.

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