Frustrated Parents

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by 2017Dad, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. 2017Dad

    2017Dad New Member

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    We have a son that is struggling with leaving KP. We continue to support and encourage him to stick it out and have told him that he has not been there long enough to make an informed decision or opinion. He is worried that if he stays past acceptance day he will owe the USNR 8 years reserve duty. Is this true?
    Of course we cannot make him stay and through all the forums we have read it seems that encouraging him to make it through sea duty will tell him if this is the right or wrong career path for him. He has never been one to quit anything and it kills me to even hear him mention it.
    Any advice would be appreciative.
     
  2. Lynpar

    Lynpar Member

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    Dear Frustrated,
    Sent you a private message.
    Hang in there.
     
  3. John Galt

    John Galt The men of the mind

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    Life will get better, that is a fact, although it probably looks a long way off from his perspective. He will not require any service to the USNR until the first day of his 2/c (junior) year. Urge him to stay at least through the first trimester (ideally through sea year because that makes all the red tape of the Academy worth it) and review his decision at that point.
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Although I am a CGA grad, I think many here who have gone to any service academy would admit that the thought of leaving went through their minds more than once. The kind of profanity my parents heard as I yelled and yelled about how much I hated CGA.... and then year after year it got better and better.

    That first year is NOT fun... at any of them.
     
  5. kpbaseballmom

    kpbaseballmom Member

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    Kings Point is a very hard place on many fronts - academically, socially, regimentally. If you have a chance, find the posting that breaks the year down into chunks. But the truth is, that while KP gets a little easier regimentally after Acceptance Day, it never really gets easier. Even in senior 1st Class year, the specter of license exams totally stresses out the seniors. It's a very hard place to be at and that fact is really not explained adequately to the incoming class.It's no exaggeration that it's a place you hate to be at, but love to be from. Seriously, I have never heard that a mid "loves" KP while they are there.

    Your best bet is to see if he can make it to Acceptance Day. Is he struggling with his academics? Is it the regiment that is throwing him? Identifying the issues will enable some attack on the problem. Please PM some of us older parents who have been down this road. KP is painful not just for the mid, but also for the parents. If we can help, we will.
     
  6. soccermom1

    soccermom1 Member

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    KPbaseball mom you could not have said it better. Reading your post is exactly what I would have said.
     
  7. luv2fly

    luv2fly Member

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    2017 Dad, this is for you. I originally posted this in 2010.

    It might be time for a little tough love.

    This story comes from a very dear friend. A few years ago he was at USNA. After about four weeks of plebe summer he had enough. Called dad and said I made a mistake and I want to come home. This place is not for me. Not enough food. Not enough sleep. It's just to hard to deal with. Dad says I'll be down this evening to pick to you up. Older brother calls USNA to see where to pick him up at. Older brother talks to younger brother to see why he wants to come home. Older brother tells younger brother that you have the opportunity of a life time. Why don't you stick it out for a couple more weeks and see what happens. If at that time you want to quit, call and I'll come get you.(I'm giving you the nice version of what was said.) Dear friend never called his brother or his father to come home. He thanks his older brother every day for that talk. Today dear friend has the word Captain in front of his name USN. I can't tell you what he does today, because you'll figure out who he is. Dear friend offered to play bad cop for my DS last year if he needed it.

    Good Luck, with the talk.



    Your DS will not have a commitment until his junior year.

    luv2fly
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
  8. beyond

    beyond KπΣ15'

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    To the OP, you don't owe the Navy ANYTHING until your 7th trimester, which works out to be the first day of second class year (2015-2016 academic year). So if your DD/DS wants to wait and see they can wait and see.

    With that being said we're pretty quick as a group to say "aww have little johny/sally hang in there I'm sure they'll make it" when it fact KP isn't for everyone, as a matter of fact it isn't even for most. For a lot of people (...my class, 2015 has lost close to 100) KP isn't the place to be. We had a classmate whom was pushed and pushed and pushed to stay. Said classmate struggled with classes, had a terrible time at sea, and was miserable here. At the end of 3/C year she couldn't take it anymore. Classmate was here for two years before they finally had the courage to stand up to her parents/faculty/classmates who were saying "stay stay stay."

    Classmate made it through the roughest two years here before leaving, plus another year at NMMI and now is starting all over at a state school. Classmate is doing quite well there and enjoying it, a decision that parents/teachers/classmates should have helped classmate get to a long time ago.

    Not saying what's right for your DS/DD either way, only they know, but don't make your kid do what you want them to do, help them to do what they want to do. There will be times when they want to quit, and encouragement helps, but when it becomes a trend the best thing you can do is help support them through what they want to do.
     
  9. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I know very few mids/cadets at any SA who don't struggle with this issue at some point. Being honest, there are some folks for whom the decision to attend a SA and be in the military really was the wrong choice. And they end up leaving and going on to happy lives doing something else.

    However, for the overwhelming majority, there are simply moments in time when -- simply put -- things suck. That same overwhelming majority typically get over it in another day or week or month. That's not to say there won't be additional bad times, but the good times and overriding goal of graduation and service predominate. And if they leave in a moment of pique -- well, they'll regret it for the rest of their lives.

    As parents, my best suggestion is to listen to your child, be understanding, but also realistic. When I complained to my dad (a WW II Marine), he would make it clear that my life really wasn't THAT bad. Yeah, I was going through some tough times, but it would get better. And it did. Try not to fall into the trap of agreeing with your child that his/her lot in life is the worst, the SA sucks, everyone is out to get him/her -- b/c (1) it's not true, and (2) it's really not helpful.

    During our plebe summer, the chaplain advised us not to think about our lives in terms of the next four years. He advised us to get through the next hour -- how hard can that be? And then get to the end of the day. And then through the next day. And pretty soon, we'd be graduates. It's actually true.:smile:

    Hopefully, things will improve and your DS will realize this is truly where he wants to be, warts and all. If not, be sure he has a plan for his life rather than simply, "Anything is better than this place."

    Some other wise words from my father: Wherever you are is the worst. Wherever you're going is the best. And wherever you came from isn't as bad as you thought it was when you were there. :wink:

    Best of luck to your family!
     
  10. KP14

    KP14 New Member

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    Went through this with DS three years ago. He stuck it out because a 1/C in his company caught wind of his plan to leave and took him for a walk one evening for a chat and some support. That Mid made a big impact and now DS is looking to pay that forward, maybe he'll meet your DS...good luck
     
  11. 2017Dad

    2017Dad New Member

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    Thank you all for taking your time to reply

    I sincerely appreciate all the quick replies and support.
    I will attempt to answer the public and private questions. He is committed to staying through the first trimester and grades are not an issue as he says the classes are not as hard as he thought. We have done the tuff love part to the point he quit communicating with us and went to grandparents to listen. The reason he gives for wanting to leave is because the curriculum is not what he thought and he does not want to be stuck on a boat for 5 years and now the USNR for 8 years. This comes from a young man that grew up loving the water so much he got his boat license at 15 so he could drive our boat and take it out by himself every chance he got. We went over the curriculum many times before he left and he is unbelievably talented in math, but though he might want to go Deck over Engineering. Moreover, we see these as excuses that are not valid because we know they are BS and he is digging for any excuse he can come up with, such as the latest one regarding USNR for 8 years after PW. We will be there parent’s weekend yet we will not support him coming home. Obviously, he is an adult now and can do what he wants but he will have to pay the consequences of his decisions if he makes the wrong ones. Home sick is doubtfully the issue but girlfriend sick may be in the equation. Positive support is what we have been all about for the past few weeks.
    Thank you again for all your advice and support.
     
  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    You've probably thought of this, but has he tried talking to a chaplain or similar person not in his chain of command? Those folks have been through this many times with many mids and can be incredibly helpful in helping mids through difficult times.
     
  13. 2017Dad

    2017Dad New Member

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    Not sure about the Chaplain or a similar person, I will recommend this to him if he has not. I believe he has spoken to an upperclassmen.
     
  14. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 D-USAFA '15

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    2017Dad:

    Advice is easy to give and usually hard to accept. I have now heard "I want to quit" hundreds of times from my two service academy kids. My DS graduated from KP in 2012 and probably hated every day of it there. No AC in the summer, no heat in the winter, the food, the staff, the academics and in the end what he perceived to be the weakening of the honor system BUT he is proud of himself for sticking it out. If anything KP makes you tough. If you can make it there you can make it anywhere. DS was offered a great job on the water, making a ton of money, the day after graduation because of that KP diploma. He has now decided to go back to school to get his masters and the university he applied to waived the GRE because they knew of the tough curriculum at KP. And his commitment to the USNR? He spent two weeks in Virginia this summer for AT and was on the beach every afternoon and everybody in his group were KP grads.

    A couple of months ago I ran into a kid wearing a KP t-shirt. He told me that he had been disenrolled after failing his sea year project. He HATED New York and KP but all he could think about was trying to get back there to graduate.

    My DD has gone through the same thing at the AFA. She didn't want to go back after summer break but once she was back on campus she decided to stay and she just celebrated commitment.

    My advice to your DS is for him to get with an upperclassmen and do some venting. He will find that his feelings are not unique and are shared by most of the student body. Life at KP does get better after plebe year. You only get one chance. I have three co-workers whose kids had appointments at other SA's and were on campus when they decided to leave. One left because he hated the regimental life, two quit over girlfriends left at home. All now regret their decisions.

    How many times have I read this advice on SAF? Don't look weeks ahead or even days ahead. Just get through each day.
     
  15. Ashore

    Ashore Member

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    My Way Out

    I attended many years ago. During plebe year we all felt there was a great effort on all fronts (academics, military, discipline, class rates, etc.) to wash us out. Like most in my class I had many doubts about staying in the Academy. After a few months I decided there was only one way I was going to leave and that was with a diploma, license and commission.

    Plebe year is still the toughest for it involve a major culture change for most young people.
     
  16. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    KP isn’t for everyone and everyone shouldn’t be pushed to stay just because it’s a great place to be from.

    I am probably in the vast minority because I never once thought about quitting. KP is the only school I wanted to go to, and the only school I applied to. The only way you were going to get me out of there was to graduate me and hand me my license. God knows they tried more than once prior to that. My brother had a similar mindset in that he was driven for a license but KP was not really in his thought process when applying to Maritime Academies. After being somewhat pushed to go where he didn’t really want to be, he only lasted one quarter … one long, miserable quarter. As soon as he got home he started applying to CMA where he really wanted to go all along. He graduated CMA with a smile on his face and is now sailing as Master.

    True happiness is a gift sometimes given by letting go.
     
  17. 2017Dad

    2017Dad New Member

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    Thank you

    Lots of great advice has come in and I am sorry but I cannot reply to the personal post until I have 2 more postings, being I am new. This is definitely a great support network with everyone here. From some of the personal and public post it seems that sticking it out for minimum of year and best case the sea trip, is the true test for DS determining his future. At this point this is what we will encourage him to do. Ultimately he has to be happy with his choice because it is not our life it is his. Yet, our job is to guide him in the direction we see as best for him, then it is all up to him.
     
  18. jjohnson55

    jjohnson55 Member

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    Now working on getting the 4th kid into college, I have observed that at this point your DS peers probably have more influence than do you. Not a bad thing- that is how kids grow up. But at KP they grow up way faster.
     
  19. 2017Dad

    2017Dad New Member

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    As they grow up

    LOL, I learned that he thought he knew more than Dad when he was around 16. That is until he needs money or something from Dad.
     
  20. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    There were two times in my KP "career" where I almost gave up and left. The first time was about half way through Indoc. It was a hot, humid night and I was trying to get my shoes shined, belt buckles polished, Plebe Knowledge memorized, etc. . . I remember standing over the sink in my room, trying to get the lacquer off of the brass belt buckle, thinking that I could just quit now and go to an ordinary college . . . . The feeling passed and I stuck it out for sea year.

    The second time I felt I wanted to quit was toward the end of my first Sea Year period. I really liked the idea of going to sea, and wasn't relishing the thought of returning to the Zoo and starting Third Class year. I really considered quitting and sailing unlicensed, getting my papers via the hawsepipe. I decided to give Third Class year a shot and while I found it academically the most challenging thing that I had (or still have) ever done, the regimental pressure was much less and I stuck it out.

    Neither time did I ever talk to my folks about wanting to leave until well after the fact. To be honest, I never really did "enjoy" my time at school, but am very glad that I stuck it out. I made the best of things while I was there, given the conditions. I found that to be a very valuable lesson.

    Just sayin'.
     

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