Helicopter Parents

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by KPMidshipman, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. KPMidshipman

    KPMidshipman New Member

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    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I am writing this letter as a concerned member of the regiment at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Parents without a doubt play a crucial and even primary role in developing and protecting the young men and women who enter the academy through Vickery Gate. After exchanging hugs and farewells before entering into O’Hara Hall for the first time, each incoming member of the regiment realizes they are on their own and must quickly become adults. From this point forward their triumphs and failures, joys and pains, trial and tribulations are their own to bare.

    I know that it is difficult for a parent to have their child make the courageous decision to cut all ties and enter into the honorable course of military duty at a Federal Service Academy. Every person who chooses this course knows it will not be an easy one. No one enters blind to the fact that they will be pushed to their physical, emotional, and mental limits. The methods used in training your children have been tested and proved effective through years of trial and refinement. At times they are not the most enjoyable but every midshipman and graduate can tell you that they are indeed effective and necessary. The training program is what makes graduates from USMMA a sought after asset in the Maritime Industry, Military, and any other field a Kings Pointer enters.

    The purpose of this letter is to help parents understand that the training system, while it sometimes may seem crazy and even a little cruel, is effective. Making phone calls to school administrators, congressmen, and senators, with complaints about how your child is being treated causes disruptions in many ways. The first is that often times the person receiving a complaint will demand a change without fully understanding the system. This may seem like a good response to your complaint but will ultimately make your child less prepared to operate as a leader. One of the major parts of training is to learn to resolve our own problems and conflicts. At the Academy, at sea, and after graduation we are responsible for resolving our own problems, a skill which is gained only trough practice. In a warzone or thousands of miles from land, or even in an office board room, we have only our own intuition and ability to quickly resolve issues to help ourselves. Kings Point is such a respected program because our graduates have these skills enabling them to think quickly and act independently.

    I write this letter to ask parents to please stop hovering over your children in an attempt to protect them. I know this is the easiest route to take as your child ventures into the mysterious and unknown world that is Kings Point. Instead I suggest that you advise your children on possible methods to resolve their own problems, help them to act as independent adults, and realize that while some training methods seem strange or malicious they have a purpose and are proven to work. I cannot imagine how difficult doing this would be, but I can promise that your child will develop on both a personal and professional level at a rate that you could never imagine. In only four years, and in fact during their time at the academy, your midshipman will be responsible for helping to resolve issues and problems for both themselves and subordinates, allowing them to learn this skill on their own will make them infinitely more effective as both a person and as a future leader.

    Acta Non Verba
     
  2. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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  3. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Same sentiment from last year

    Here's a post from Feb regarding a similar issue:

    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=10566

    You'll find this is a recurring theme every year, usually takes a bit longer to come into play, but alas it's the same sentiment.

    Anyway, if you are a parent please do not think this is directed at you personally (unless you are the type to make a call like this, then it probably is :biggrin: ) This is usually a response that comes about because some change in training has been implemented that the upperclass aren't too happy about.

    Sometimes the parents get the blame, sometimes its a new administrator, and sometimes it's a particular CO, or even a midshipman officer. Take this as an opportunity to reinforce to your midshipman the importance of the Chain of Command.
     
  4. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    :thumb::thumb:
    KPMidshipman-Dead on with your comments.
    Mom, Dad: These are not your babies anymore! Once you kiss them goodbye on matriculation day- let it go! If they still need your help to deal with the frustrations and challenges that thousands before have successfully navigated, then they are not serious candidates for the jobs they are training for. You can give them advice if they are looking for it, you can send them reminders that you love and miss them, but for heavens sake stay out of their day to day lives. You don't know the whole story and unless you are an alum of this or a similar school you have very little appreciation for what is going on and why. They really don't need you to get involved in their food issues, their sleep schedule, the drafty windows or the myriad of other stuff that Cadets and Midshipmen live and love to complain about. Try to put a little perspective in play here- right now many of their peers are sweating over the possibility of a bullet or an IED or calling in fire or an airstrike- if your Cadet or Mid can't deal with the issues they are faced with then ARE they really the right person to be on a track to lead soldiers or sailors in combat, or to have the watch on a tanker on the high seas etc..?
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
  5. jessibee2013

    jessibee2013 Member

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    KPMidshipman
    This is certainly a recurring theme and I congratulate you about the way you made this request and the explanation you provided. Last year, many 2013 parents felt beat up and insulted by the way posts by midshipmen with the same theme were worded.
    Saying the same thing without insulting and offending is a trait of a good leader!!
     
  6. navig8r

    navig8r Member

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    I speak only for myself, but this plebe parent agrees 100% with KPMidshipman. I am not the slightest bit insulted by this post.

    Based on my limited experience of indoc and one tri, I can say with certainty that at this point in my KP experience I’d be hard pressed to say I have enough details about ANYTHING that has happened to my kid to warrant a complaint to the Superintendent or my Congressman …….. or anyone. And why, in the name of God, would any parent do that in the first place?!?!?! Sea year should be interesting for those parents.

    As amazed as I am, I suppose that there are parents who actually do complain to their Congressman or the Superintendent. I would suspect (and certainly hope) that the majority of parents realize that their sons and daughters have taken an oath and pledged their allegiance to the Department of Transportation. Let’s face it, not every kid belongs at a federal service academy and not every parent is cut out to let go and be a service academy parent.

    Sometimes I read posts by other parents and just have to sit back and say, “Seriously?!”
     
  7. Proud KP Dad

    Proud KP Dad Member

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    Well said, navig8r!!!

    :thumb:
     
  8. OldAirForce

    OldAirForce Member

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    In the time my 1/C has been there, we have communicated with the school 1 time. He was injured a couple of years ago and the school did an outstanding job of caring for him. I'm sure he would be horrified if we called to complain about something.
     
  9. Sea Faring Moose Mom

    Sea Faring Moose Mom Member

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    Parent Advisory

    As I sent my DD out of the protection of my home, I found the GREATEST tool for dealing with a long distance situations......LISTEN THEN, ASK QUESTIONS!!!!!

    Oh Dear, what brought about this situation? Were your directly involved? What do you think would be a better solution or way to handle the situation? Have to talked to the next person in the Chain of Command? Would it change any thing if you were to talk to the next person up the Chain? How are other persons involved reacting to this? How will this effect you r life at USMMA?
    Do you want to get that involved? Is this the HILL you are willing to DIE on???

    MOST of the time NOTHING can be changed even by the powers that be. MOST of the time, your DD and DS just want to vent (a curse of all years at USMMA). Even if your dear one was at a 'normal' college, I don't know of any
    sane parent that would call attention to their loved one from the TOP .... DOWN.

    It is the HARDEST thing you will ever, ever, ever do. Let your DD and DS fly. When you have done your best for the first 18 years.....you can bet, even if they stumble and must pay a price....the lesson will have more impact on their life if THEY experience it. (and I am speaking from this experience!)

    Talk with another USMMA parent before you start at the TOP .... This forum is a great place to start..... Advise: Loving Given
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2010
  10. kpmom2013

    kpmom2013 Member

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    SFMM

    Great advice! If parents follow it, they will find the huge crisis will disappear, only to be replced by a diffent huge crisis the next week. It is time to let your adult child deal with life. Parents need to be supportive listeners rather than fixers of every problem that comes up. Your children are in good hands!
     
  11. 2KPsons

    2KPsons Member

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    have never contacted the school

    I have a 2010 graduate and a current member of 2013. In all the time since my son walked into OHara for Indoc, I have NEVER contacted the school about ANYTHING. As was stated earlier, most Mids would be mortified if they knew that their parent was calling the school.
    These young men and women are learning how to fend for themselves and, more importantly, learning how to be responsible for themselves and to their peers. Let them learn - they will be fine.
    Parents - get some hobbies and enjoy yourselves.
     
  12. smle

    smle Member

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    My son is a cadet at another service academy but I agree totally. Leaving him for the last time was the hardest thing this mother has ever experienced. Cutting all the apron strings at once was the most painful thing I have ever felt. Yet, I am amazed at the growth my son has done in the last few months all without me holding his hand or standing watch over the school that he is at. The academy has done an outstanding job taking my child and making him into a man. When I think about the possibility that he could have attended a civilian college, I am so relieved that he made this choice. He is at one of the safest schools in the nation. It is time for me to stand back and watch him continue to grow with his strong root system intact.:smile:
     
  13. NavIss58

    NavIss58 Member

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    I couldn't agree more.

    I was horrified to see some parents actually standing next to their son/daughter during Indoc check-in (at one of the Prep Schools) with the "medical records folder" tucked under their arm. I was stunned into disbelief when they jumped in to answer for their children, even as their son/daughter (mostly mothers cuddling their sons, poor kids) tried to answer for themselves, when asked a question "do you have..". Gees, some parents just don't know when to let go.

    Please, for your kids sake, don't be "that" parent.
     
  14. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    So let's see if I've got this correct...

    KPMidshipman wants parents to basically stop being parents immediately upon dropping their children off at Vickery Gate ... ref:
    Then several people chime in and say "Right On young man, hear, hear of course parents should totally disengage from their 17/18 year old son or daughter's lives and even more-so as they grow up and travel the world. It'd be foolery to think or do otherwise."

    I mean hey any issue you guys might have it's basically because your too stupid and unfamiliar with the "training system." Trust guys like KPMidshipman and his mates, it'll all be okay. Relax and ...
    So once again I find myself in disbelief and disagreement. I'm pretty sure I'm NOT a "helicopter parent" and if I was my DS would let me know and ignore me about lots of critical issues or in some other way basically kick my butt. That said, I don't think I'll be taking and following the advice and counsel of an early to mid 20's person who given the discussion of the "training system" etc. of that paragraph of his post at best takes him/herself WAY too seriously and at worst is what we used to call "back in the day" a "regcock" - do they still use that term at KP these days?:cool:
     
  15. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    My children are only in elementary school but I will never stop being a parent. Whether they are two, 22 or 42 they are still my kids and I will still be involved in their lives.

    Sometimes it takes a parent to keep the administration in check.
    I was put on 4 weeks restriction along with the entire 1/C engineers for something I had no part in. Even though I counselled against the plot, it didn't matter so said the Commandant, I should have dimed out my classmates ... yeah, riiiiight. I didn't ask her to, but my Mom called and lo and behold my four weeks was now two. I still maintain I shouldn't have gotten any restriction but that would require telling the whole story. What did we all learn from that ... some rumors are not in fact true, and there is no "gift" you can give a professor and get the whole class an A.

    The term "regcock" was alive and well in the late 90s
     
  16. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Did said gift perchance include the payment of a person to come to the big lecture hall in Fulton/Gibbs?

    I've heard rumors of a "gift" to a professor that didn't go so well.
     
  17. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    I'm scratching my brain a bit as it was sooooooo long ago, but I do recall some sort of event in the pit in Fulton/Gibbs. Hmmmm ... now that I think about it, I do recall that someone was supposed to "visit" the class during the final exam. It's a bit fuzzy but I also seem to recall that that professor was retiring and that was his last final. You know, maybe that's why the back row of seats was full of plebes when I walked in.
     
  18. easter2

    easter2 Member

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    I'm a Rat Mom

    My son is currently on the Ratline....he is having a difficult time with it...does not seem to be the academics or the physical aspect but appears to me to be the 'mental' challenge. We are almost on the other side of the country so homesickness too plays a part.
    I have not, and would not, be a Helicopter Parent (neither would the hubby) and so far have listened, asked questions both to take his mind off and to make him think hard, provided support...it is difficult however I am on the other side of the fence, instead of trying to 'rescue' him-- if he were here, I would smack him upside the head. :redface: I understand that there are folks not cut out for this type of thing and I accept that, I do think in his case if he can tough it out he will do just fine--right now just tunnel vision.
    Any advice from anyone that has been there and done that?
     
  19. sprog

    sprog Member

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    Wrong forum.

    Go to the Public and Private Military Forums, and the question will have a better chance of being answered by VMI people.
     
  20. easter2

    easter2 Member

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    Will do...thanks
     

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