My Parents don't Approve, Discouraged

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by hopeful2016, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. hopeful2016

    hopeful2016 Member

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    I started looking at the academies last year and immediately knew they were for me. I jumped into research, applications, and training to get in shape but my parents don't approve. It isn't that they are pacifists, they are just skeptical of my abilities and don't want me to go, and I don't know exactly why.
    I've tried to show them how great the academies are but they are still adamant and openly doubt me at every turn.
    Has anyone else had to go through something like this? It is very discouraging and I am starting to doubt myself and feel like an appointment is just a foolish dream.
    Parents, do you know why they would be feeling this way? They are really pressuring me and I try to be respectful but it is my life and I feel like they are holding me back.
    Any advice?
     
  2. future sub officer

    future sub officer Member

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    Im sorry that the people who supposed to be supporting you aren't; applying for service academies are hard enough without having to worry about my mom not believing in me. My mom did support me so I can't imagine what's its like for you, but I do have advice. First, not everyone understands how amazing the academies are, even if it's your parents. Second, please, please, please do not discourage or doubt your self because it will spread like poison. You, if not anyone else, must believe that you have what it takes to achieve your dreams. You cannot let ANYONE hold you back, because you will regret it for a long time afterwards and will have only you to blame. If attending a service academy and becoming a military officer is truly something you desire, go after it, with every fiber of your being.
     
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  3. Ectriso

    Ectriso Member

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    I know exactly what you are feeling! I am also applying for 2016 and my parents are both 100% against it. They are the typical overprotective Jewish parents. My mom has gone so far as throwing everything away that I receive in the mail with regard to USMA and USNA. So, now I have to check the garbage regularly in case I receive anything in the mail. My dad has also called me selfish for thinking about applying to the service academies. Honestly, there is no way to change my parents minds or have them at least be open minded. But, when it all comes down to it my dream is to become a successful officer in the military and I know that I am doing the right thing. They may not support me now, but my hope is that they will understand my decisions with time. I definitely feel your pain though. That is why this forum is an amazing tool for support.
     
  4. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    Is it that they aren't taking an active role/don't really want you to go, or are they deliberately trying to stop you?

    I went through this to a minor degree with my parents. I explored a lot of military options before deciding on USNA, including enlisting in the Marines. My parents and I met with a recruiter and I could tell they were uncomfortable. When I talked about a military career (officer or enlisted), they were also visibly uncomfortable, my mother in particular. For a number of reasons, my mother had a very unfavorable impression of the military. Up until I-day, she reminded me that "I didn't have to go" or asked "could you still go to Coast Guard?"* I caught a lot of flak from kids in school (and their parents!) because I "wanted to go to Iraq and kill people."

    It was tough, and I didn't have it that bad compared to some kids I know here. At the end of the day, it's your life and your career. It's hard going "against" your parents, but it's your decision.
    Don't doubt yourself and keep pushing. Over time, if they see how much it means to you they might turn around. At the same time, try to reassure them. It sounds like you're already doing this a little, but help them understand the opportunities you'll have here to develop academically and physically. If you have the right attitude here, this place will put you on a great path and help you mature.
    I'm not talking about going to them and saying "Dudes it's awesome!", I mean going online and looking up majors, grad school opportunities, language programs, careers, etc and approaching them rationally. Be able to explain concisely to them why you think this is for you, and that it isn't just a phase.

    I really wish you the best of luck. Keep going hard and don't give up.

    *I realize the USCG is in the military, but her reasoning was "I just see you helping people more than hurting them." Our definitions of help vary.
     
  5. armystrong2015

    armystrong2015 Member

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    Have you thought about changing your mailing address? The address on my learner's permit is not the same as my address of residence, because mail at my house tends to get lost (my uncle is my legal guardian, I live with him; my mailing address is my dad's house. No mail is ever lost at his place). I'm really sorry that your parents are not supportive of you :frown:

    Hopeful2016, your parents aren't the ones who have to live your life. They will not be going to college with you, they won't be starting a family with you, they won't be raising your children with you, they won't be paying your bills, they won't be the ones working in your career field. I understand why their lack of support hurts you- they're your parents and you love them.
    But understand, you can only adhere to their wishes for so long. The Service Academies are an excellent portal into the life of a military officer. If you want to be a military officer, then you sure as heck should go for it. I'm sorry they're not supportive of you- my family was always incredibly supportive of my dream of attending West Point or the Naval Academy, so I cannot possibly fathom how much this tears you. All I can say is, in ten, fifteen, twenty years, you will be looking back on your life. Do you want to look back with regret and think "I didn't achieve my goals because Mom and Dad didn't want me to?" I would think not.
    I hope that one day, your parents will realize that you love the military, and should be in it because of that love. Until then, things will be rather difficult for you. Stay strong, and good luck with the application process!! :thumb:
     
  6. hockeypunk9199

    hockeypunk9199 Member

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    My parents were initially like this now they love the academies as much as I do. My dad's an immigrant from the middle east so it's tough for him at first. What some parents think, and this may be the case with yours too, is that its just a hard core school for military training. But in reality, it is a college. Explain to your parents that it is the most prestigious college out there and that only the smartest kids in the world get in. You got to really sell it. Also, tell them how great of a career you'll have once done your required service(if thats all you choose to do). Whether it be an Aerospace engineer, or a a physics major, once out of your service obligation you'll have an extremely promising career and jobs will be recruiting you immediately. Parents love to hear that kind of stuff yanno? Good luck
     
  7. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    This is a critical, essential element that is often explored in BGO interviews, i.e. how do parents feel about this ...are they supportive ... do they recognize the nature of this is that while few end up paying the ultimate price (you can see precisely, how many and whom from each class have been killed in service to country in Memorial Hall @ the Yard), it is a very distinct possibility. Thank God there are so many wonderful, devoted young men and women who are willing to fight for the freedom you and your family have enjoyed.

    But that noted, while we might bemoan your parents reticence or disagreement with your wishes, you need to respect their concerns and work to encourage them to do the same with yours. For absent the support of family, this can be a tough row to hoe, imo. And it is not a wise thing to go against the wishes of parents. Btw, I'm not sure I'd consider USCG "military." It's security, and definitely can be pressed into military functions.

    While this may or may not be your specific scenario, it is so unfortunate that so many people today have so little understanding or willingness to sacrifice via service commitment. It is unquestionably one of THE major disconnects among many of our "elitist" governors in DC and around the nation, i.e. those who've had all the privileges of largesse and freedom and so little appreciation for the role of the military and beyond that, the recognition that they need to "get some skin in the game," as one who has not done so is wont to profess ...as long as it's someone else's kid ... in your case. Don't quit. YOU are on a good track. Now work at working it out.
     
  8. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    Do they doubt your ability or do they doubt the service academies ability to provide a education? Or are they just totally anti military? If they are totally anti military then its not against you or your abilities. So although it affects your personal goals, don't take it as a personal attack. You may never change their minds, and you do have to be respectful even if they appear to be against you...that is a tough tight-rope to walk. But the previous posters are right; It is your life and you should not let their opinions rule decisions that will affect the rest of your life, although you should hear what they are saying. I suggest you enlist the help of others in the family that may be on your side and have influence on them. I was not a fan when DS started talking military, and he showed me how serious he was by making the grades, playing sports that weren't really his favorite thing, and working out. Eventually I began to see that he was VERY SERIOUS and wanted me on his side, and now I am his biggest advocate for his future plans. Do what you need to do, and be as respectful as you can in the process. If you don't try then the outcome is already settled.
     
  9. jtoye

    jtoye NAPS '12 appointee

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    I can't say I know what the OP is going through, but my mom spent 14 years as an Army Wife and said she was never comfortable with the idea of my dad possibly putting his life on the line. So she projected those same fears on me throughout the application process. She never tried to stop me but let me know even after my appointment that I did not have to go/had other options. She has now come to peace with this and is even excited for me. There are many places to look for support even if it is not your parents. I also received a good amount of help from my JROTC instructor and BGO alongside this forum.
     
  10. SaltLife

    SaltLife Candidate

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    My parents were against me at first but then I just leveled with them and told them that I am a man and a man doesn't rely on his parents to makehis life decisions for him. And in the end I know what's best for me and what I want to do.
    People say you need to respect your parents wishes but in cases like this that is false. If you are trying to better yourself and your parents( the people who are suppose to love and support you in all that you do) are trying to hold you back, there is a major problem.
     
  11. dohdean

    dohdean Member

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    Are there any students from your school and/or your town/school district who are currently at one of the academies? (a counselor should be able to answer this question or may be able to make some calls for you to other school(s) in your district). If yes, maybe the parents of a current cadet/midshipman, etc. could talk to your parents. We live in a very liberal town in Colorado (Boulder) with a very limited military presence; but there are several recent graduates of the two main high schools who are at USAFA, West Point and Naval. The parents of those students have been very willing to meet with parents of students contemplating an Academy. My husband and I supported our daughter's decision to attend USAFA (she is a sophomore) but it was helpful to meet with parents of other students at USAFA, West Point and Naval. There were also several teachers at my daughter's school who had sons/daughters and nieces/nephews who had graduated from one of the academies. Those teachers were also a source of support and information in a way that did not feel like a recruiter's speech -- but instead conveyed the impressions, pride, and knowledge of caring relatives. We also attended a number of local/district meetings with congressional staff, graduates of academies, etc. who provided solid information about the academies, their academic programs, career opportunities, etc. that helped our family support our daughter's decision. Finally, one of the ministers at our church is a graduate of West Point -- he also turned out to be a good source of information. My advice would be to look for an adult or adults in your community who your parents might be comfortable talking to -- someone who doesn't feel like a recruiter -- but instead someone who can explain the opportunities available to you. This might make your decision more palatable to your parents or at least it might help you develop an adult support system to help you through the process of applying -- which can be daunting even with the support of your family.
     
  12. Snow18

    Snow18 Member

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    I am going to start the academy this year and can't wait. I was the same way and knew that that usna was the right place for me to be but my parents were definitely against it. It's been a long road but both of my parents started to go to meetings and went to the parents club in our area and now understand why I want to go. They've come around and now could not be more supportive. Just get your parents to talk to people who have been through it and get the information. Hopefully they will come around like mine did :thumb:
     
  13. JJ2016

    JJ2016 Member

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    I truly wish I had the magic words for you, but DS is in a similar boat. On one side he has the over-zealous father that researches every aspect of the UNSA (and all other schools of interest) and a mother that prays every night for a TWE. Discussions of the USNA are a taboo subject in our household only to be discussed after hours and in dark hallways. The one thing I have learned is that it’s not the military that is the objection (mostly). It’s the distance. Sending our first born away so that he can’t come home for the weekend or receive visits on a whim is hard to accept. (Loss of personal freedom in the military would be the second factor, but related to the first.)
    The only thing I can suggest is to continue to have respectful conversations with your parents. At this point you should be able to articulate very clearly why you want to attend the NA. I’m sure you parents only want what they think is the best for you. Your job is get them see your views (I mentioned respectful, but I’ll also throw in calm, adult, considerate, open-minded, honest, and periodic.)
    Now on a positive note, if you’re able to understand all your parent’s reasons why you shouldn’t pursue the USNA, and have your reason why their concerns have been considered but have not detoured you from your quest, your MOC interviews should be a chip shot.
    Best of luck.
     
  14. hopeful2016

    hopeful2016 Member

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    Well my parents right now are just discouraging me without really deliberately trying to stop me. However, they are treating it like it's some kind of phase I'm going through, and I feel like the more I pursue the academies the more they will try to prevent it. And it's not like they're anti-military, they are just against their daughter being in the military.
    I know that they love me, but I don't think they realize how degrading it is when everytime I bring up the academies they say, "Well you'll never make it in," or "you're too fat" (Which I don't think I am, 5'8" and 149 lbs). It's just really wearing me down.
    They are really pushing for me to go to a small Christian liberal arts college, which isn't necessarily bad, it just isn't for me. At the colleges we have visited I have met with ROTC and this isn't thrilling my parents either (but they can live with it if I get a good scholarship).
    My mom works with a woman whose daughter went to USNA and I think that has helped a little bit, but my mom is just researching trying to find the worst things possible to put in front of my face (like the sex scandals, etc.) This hasn't affected me at all, but it's just a bad situation.
    My guidance counselor at school is really supportive and she has helped a few kids get into USMA so she's helping me a lot, but other than that there really isn't anybody else to talk to my parents.
    Thanks for all the encouragement! I won't give up. I'll keep trying new ways to get my parents onboard, but time will tell I guess. :smile:
     
  15. jlwilkes101

    jlwilkes101 Member

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    My mom cried for upwards of 3 months every time she thought about it. That was awful. Especially since I eventually had to pull the guilt card after I noticed she was purposefully leaving out newspaper articles about people killed in afghanistan. And I started to get bothered about how she occasionally mentioned that I complained about x or y, so how could i make it in the military? I talked to her, and she realized that I felt like she wasn't supportive of me, and began to turn around. It's all about baby steps. It starts with telling them in the first place, then letting them get used to it, mentioning it more and more often around the house, letting other family members know, showing her the website, etc. The big thing for me was giving her absolutely american to read (USMA is my top choice right now). It was almost impossible for her to read at first, but eventually she began to understand the institution a lot better, and became much more supportive.

    Three tips: number one, find someone to support you, while you're working on your parents. a teacher, a friend, anyone. that'll help you keep your eye on the ball. number two, if your mom acts like she thinks you're too weak for the academies, tell her that she's your mom, and you shouldn't have to act tought to her. what is she there for? that worked for me. and finally, avoid saying what you want to branch in if its something like infantry. thats one of the last steps; i havent even gotten there yet.

    good luck! :thumb:
     
  16. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    Disagree and agree ...

    ALWAYS respect your parents. It's theTRUTH.:thumb:

    Anytime a young person expresses something like that about his/her parents, there is indeed, a major problem. :thumbdown:

    Do not disregard those who've invested their lives in yours. :wink:
     
  17. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Try this ...

    Did you tell them that it's FREE?

    Wait!

    It's more than free! They pay you to attend. :rockon:
     
  18. equestriangrl93

    equestriangrl93 Member

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    I haven't told my family that I'm going to be a military officer b/c I don't know how my mom will feel and I'm almost certain my grandfather (who served in the Marines) will not agree. He doesn't think the military is a place for a woman. I'm an only child, my mom's a single parent, and I'm the youngest grandchild. I'm going to get my own PO box, so mom won't see any mail I may get. I'm glad that I'm going to be over 18 when I have to sign on the dotted line.

    Please give me any advice you may have on the following:

    1. I want to legally change my last name (Novelli). I always use my mother's maiden name (Festa) which is not my legal name. How/when should I go about changing it?

    2. What is the best way to tell my family about my future plans?
     
  19. GoNavyMom

    GoNavyMom Member

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    Hi,

    I am going to chime in as a parent. I grew up listening (and still hear) stories from my father about WWII. He was one of four brothers serving at the same time, one of whom was killed in action. These discussions framed my perception about the military and to be honest, scared me silly. My kids weren't even allowed to play with water guns.

    Depending on the age of your parents, they could have many points of reference for being against the military. It is a tough nut to swallow for parents who do not have a military background. I tell people its not the four years at the Naval Academy that worry me, it's the five years after.

    All I can suggest (as others have) is to keep the conversation going. The deal I made with my daughter was that she could apply to the Naval Academy but had to apply to and take seriously applications to other colleges. I am pretty sure she applied to a couple just to make me happy. I wanted to make sure she had good choices in case she decided at the last minute she didn't want to attend.

    Also, if you and your parents haven't yet taken a tour of the Naval Academy, I suggest you do so at some point during the year. Perhaps, contact a BGO in your area or the parents club for your parents to speak with people going through the experience.

    I hope, as I did with my DD, that your parents come to support you in your desire to serve your country.
     
  20. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    1: My plebe summer roommate legally changed her name right before coming and sent all the info to the Academy. There was a couple days of confusion/wrong nametags, but it got worked out pretty quickly. The earlier you do it, the less the paperwork headache.

    2: Sit your Mom down and explain (rationally and calmly) what the Academy's about, what you want to do, and why you think it's for you. Explain the process and everything you think that's relevant. Just prove to her that you've thought about it long and hard and are enthusiastic about it.

    One of the biggest things that helped my parents come around and support me was that I read and talked about the military and what I wanted to do constantly, started working out more, and did my research. So when they questioned why I wanted to do something or what I wanted to do, I had a thought out answer and showed them that I was serious about it. They didn't really like it, and still don't that much (my Mom nearly crashed the car on the way back from the airport plebe year when I said I was thinking about EOD...she's still not too pleased with me wanting Marines), but they've gotten to the point where they're supportive and realize that this is what makes me happy.
     

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