It would appear that not only on this forum but also in "real life" that parents often take this whole "academy" thing more seriously than their kids. I would relate it to "stage parents". Here's what you need to remember, your kids know where they are. Believe it or not, they have respect for other service academy cadets/midshipmen, and they have that respect from others as well. They will soon live with the fact that people will freely give their opinions on policy, wars, and the military. They will talk about their service. There will be funny jokes back and forth, "Coasties", "Squids" and "Zoomies" will be used often. These rivalries will be most evident in their first year, as they often feel the need to prove themselves, but after they get comfortable in their uniforms, they will also be comfortable with their choice. Do not feel the need to jump on people who do not respect academies, as if you defending your very own cadet or midshipmen has somehow saved the 200 year old institution they decided to attend. Don't feel the need to blurt out where your kids goes to "one up" someone else. When you go to academy functions, don't feel the need to boost your kid up by bragging about them to the other parents. Parents more than anyone need to understand, your high performing son or daughter, who was a big fish in high school is now an average sized fish when compared to the other fish in the school. This does not mean your son or daughter is any less impressive than he or she was before. Take pride in what they do, and support them, but remember that it is their achievement (which I'm sure they'll give you credit for) and it's their life. You no longer need to fight their battles and you don't need to have their back, they have fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Coasties for that.