Parents/Grandparents: How have you dealt with a child's decision to join the military at 18?
I have groomed my children to go to college since they were young; however, my oldest son recently turned 18 and has made the decision to join the military. I want to be very supportive of him and his decision, but I am very uptight and anxious. Please tell me some of your good/proud moments about your children serving our country!
Joining the military was one of the best decisions I made in my life, so I was happy when my daughter joined. She served in Iraq, which has proved to be a mixed blessing.
My recommendation is to help your son evaluate the job he's going into, though. Some are more prone to war than others. Also, he should be aware of the cost of being a veteran. While the recruiters dangle the benefits in front of kids' noses, they don't explain that unemployment, homelessness, traumatic brain injury, and suicide rates are much higher among veterans than among the general population.
If neither of you know anyone on active duty other than his recruiter, feel free to contact me directly and I can offer you resources to check out some of this kind of stuff.
I joined the Army when I turned 18. For me it was a wise decision only because it gave me opportunities I would not have had other wise. I agree with jellygator about the possible ramifications and the methods of enlistment a recruiter may use to manipulate a young adult to make an uninformed decision about joining the military and choosing an area of expertise. I would recommend your son avoid any combat arms positions and positions that are closely related to combat arms or combat arms support. Infantry, transportation, combat medics, combat engineers, mechanics, tankers, and military police are all areas where there is an increased risk of experiencing unintended combat and targeted attacks by unfriendly combatants. If it is not too late, I would highly recommend he go to college first, get a degree and then enter the service as an officer, the opportunitites are better when he leaves the service. He canbiotin the national guard or reserves if he needs college money and then go active duty after he graduates. He can do officer training and be paid as an E-5 while he goes to college, and would receive his commission when he graduates. This should also leave him debt freeopponent graduation. I was misguided and not given but two MOS choices, infantry or airborne infantry. I would spend my first two years in combat, and then serve two additional combat tours as an active duty enlisted soldier and a member of the National Guard. While I was lucky to not have been wounded or suffer from other physical or mental illness or injury, some of my fellow soldiers were not so lucky. Again, I am proud to have served and I am thankful for the opportunities that I have been given because of my military service, but if I had to do it all over again I would make a much better more informed decision and I would have gone to college first.
Like you, I raised my children to value education. As an educator, I thought this was of utmost importance, and it is. However, like you, my son decided he wanted to join the Army at age 17. My persuasion was limited since we are a military oriented family. My husband was in the Marines and my son has great-grandparents, uncles and cousins in different military branches. Along with teaching my children the importance of a college education, we also taught them to be the epitome of patriots. High school was rather challenging for my son and college was high on his priority list only in front of me. However, it was not at the top of his personal list. I was proud of his decision to join the Army, but I highly stressed that he should go to school first. He could then enter as an officer and drastically increase his income. He decided to compromise. He joined the National Guard on his own after he turned 18. He wanted to do it on his own. He didn't want his parents signing for him, and he enrolled in a local college. Still, college was challenging for him and procrastination is his trademark. He didn't get his National Guard scholarship paperwork turned so he was left with no money for tuition. My husband and I felt it would not be doing him justice to pay for his classes when he has a full scholarship available to him. All he has to do is turn in the paperwork. So, he did not go to school this last semester. I had to come to the realization that school was not important enough to my son at that time and a low GPA would only be harmful to him. My son works hard. Our attempt to instill a good work ethic in our children has definitely paid off. He works with a landscaping company while doing his duty with the National Guard. I have watched my son grow as a person and a man. I had to support his decision, as long as he was working hard to make a life for himself, even if his choices were not the ones I would have made. He is now planning to start his own landscaping company so he can go back to school. He decided that on his own so NOW, education is important to HIM. Also, the Army has taught my son leadership skills, which he will need to run his own company. The Army has taught my son personal discipline. He turned in his scholarship papers. The Army is dangerous. We live in a nation at war and I am terrified for him. But, I am proud at the same time . . . weird coming from a mom, but I guess it is because military life is ingrained in my family.Out of space
This happened with my older brother and of course it is upsetting. He was very intelligent and graduated in the top of his class but this was his decision and it doesn't mean they can't continue their education, in fact I had another brother who made military about education it seems. All paid for by Uncle Sam. All you can do is support them. Both turned out good in my family.
I was in the military. Has he is already signed up? If not, there is a better option available of which he may not be aware. He can go to college at age 18 and apply for an ROTC scholarship. It will pay for college completely. After he earns his degree, he will receive a commission as an officer (2nd lieutenant). That means higher pay, more responsibility, education is out of the way, and he'll be debt-free. Look into the ROTC program that a college offers.
No way!! I'm still ticked off that my stretch marks and other sacrifices made for this schmuck of a son of mine (he got suckered by those predatory military recruiters that visit high schools) meant zilch as he nearly got himself killed serving in Afganistan!
Wow, he got to meet the vice president and his wife, Pfft! He looks really handsome and strong in his seated hockey games (spinal cord injury), and despite my feelings (or even the facts), he's willing to die for something he believes is benefiting others less fortunate. That has to count for something!
Moreover, it’s his choice, he's a man - not an easy thing to accept as mothers with 18 years of care, nurturing and hopes behind our sons (or daughters that are serving as well, you know). Buck up mom, he needs your love and support.
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