My Wife Is Afraid Of USNA

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by Northstream, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. Northstream

    Northstream Member

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    My daughter is accepting her USNA offer, she just told her mother. Mom is very much against her going and this is really bothering my daughter.

    We are not a family with career military history and our daughter is an only child so I do sympathize. There are many news articles describing a number of negative recent events, sexual misconduct, hazing,ect.

    I choose to support my daughter completely, have any of you had a spouse who felt like my wife and how did it progress? I can do a balancing act but worry about their future relationship.
     
  2. lovethenavy

    lovethenavy Member

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    This same thing happened with a good friend of mine, but it was her extended family that did not want her son going to a military academy. Have you and your family visited the USNA? If not and you can swing it, that might be helpful. It is totally different once you get on the Yard and have an opportunity to see everything and actually visualize where your daughter will be living and studying. Also, please encourage your wife to PM some of us with her concerns. There is a wonderful community of support here and we all do our best to help each other and encourage each other when we have questions or need a shoulder to "cry" on! My son is currently at the USNA and my daughter plans on applying in a year. It is very scary when you don't know much about the actual summer or academic year. I encourage you to join the USNA parent listserve, join a parent group if you have one close to you, and if you know anyone currently attending the USNA, get together with their parents. Also, there is lots of info on the USNA website for parents and if you go into USNA Facebook, your wife can see all of the wonderful daily events going on and see pictures of life around the academy. I wish you the best of luck.
     
  3. MIHOSER

    MIHOSER Member

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    My wife wasn't too keen on the idea of our son attending either. We attended a CVW with our son and it put her mind at ease.

    Random observations from our CVW:

    1. These students are well taken care of by USNA.

    2. The midshipman are like students at any other college, except neater and more polite. Seriously, there are huge differences, but we were very impressed by all of the mids that we met.

    3. There are countless opportunities for extra curricular activities.

    4. Annapolis is a great town.

    Even if you can't do a CVW, visit with your wife and take the measure of the place.
     
  4. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    I can't address the spousal aspect of this, but I'll take a shot at what I do know.

    I'm a female mid. I know of very few (almost none) non consensual cases of sexual misconduct that have happened during my time here. Your class/company in many ways is like having ~40 brothers and sisters looking out for you, especially plebe year. The Academy isn't perfect and sometimes stuff happens that shouldn't but it often gets very overblown in the press.

    I won't lie, I was a little intimidated by the fact that USNA is 80% male, especially coming from a HS that was predominantly female. Things are very different, but with a good sense of humor and a little thick skin, she's got very little to worry about.
     
  5. osdad

    osdad Member

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    We were in your shoes exactly one year ago.

    Some observations:
    We marvel at the maturity and growth she’s shown in such a short time.

    We are awed by the opportunities and the experiences she has had and will have.

    We see her truly happy.

    We have never worried about her personal safety. (From what some of her classmates have reported from their civilian colleges, this should be a major concern for parents sending their girls off to those schools.)

    We have never had to wonder if she’s hanging out drinking or smoking pot.

    We have never had to worry if she’s making friends or participating in activities.

    We do not worry that her degree will be worthless.

    We do not wonder how good the graduate assistants are at teaching.

    We do not wonder how she’ll do in a gen-ed class with 500 students.

    -----

    Do we worry that one day she may be thrust into battle? Of course, what parent wouldn’t?

    Is the military dangerous? Yes. But it is her choice to serve.

    Does it bother us that we are not in control? Yes. But we feel comfortable that she is in very good hands.

    Bottom line, as DW says: she’s exactly where she needs to be.

    PM me if you or your wife have other questions.


    Edit: Wanted to add this: the fact that she's earned an appointment is testament to your efforts these past 17/18 years - there are many fine individuals who did not achieve this distinction. Trust that you've raised a great kid, taught her the values and committment she'll need to succeed. As tough as it is, now it's time to step back and let her and the NA continue to build on the foundation you've laid.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2011
  6. subvet

    subvet Member

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    I agree with all this. Our DD enjoyed her time there (well maybe not Plebe Summer) and had great friends through out. She is now an Ens. and at Pensacola. She has friends and ex-roomies everywhere she goes.Your DD will be just fine.
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I personally would take a different approach. Be honest, there are negative articles regarding every collegiate institution in the US. Look at the recent articles about Yale ranking the girls on campus. I bet without a doubt that Yeardley Love's parents when they sent their DD to UVA never imagined that she would be killed by her boyfriend. Would she say to your DD she can't go there because of that?

    Is it really about the USNA, or is it more about her leaving? Just saying, this is your one and only child. Maybe your wife is like me, and has already realized that time is running out and that is frightening her. It might have nothing to do with the USNA, but everything to do that the bird is flying the nest.

    This will be the 1st stumbling block of many that you will endure regarding the military life for your DD. You raised an intelligent child. Trust her, and her instincts.
     
  8. mysonusna06

    mysonusna06 New Member

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    fear of the academies

    When there is a violation at the service academies, it makes headlines because it is rare (not that there isn't a bit of the male chauvenism there - as might be expected given their histories), but the number of incidents per student as compared to any private or state school is incredibly low. The academies are the safest schools to attend, and as you will find out when your daughter graduates, among the most prestigious in the world.
     
  9. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    Several close family members were very much opposed to my daughter's desire to go to USNA (also an only child), for some of the same reasons your mentioned.

    Certainly, sexual misconduct can happen, but I have asked my daughter, her roommates, several of her friends, and her "sponsor sisters" about their experiences. Though it is a small sample, their comments exactly mirror what Hurricane12 said. Alcohol use has been a contributing factor in the few instances that they know have happened.

    The support system for Mids who have troubles of any kind is outstanding. In each company there is a whole chain of command of Firstie Mids who can help to resolve most problems. There are Senior Enlisted leaders (Navy Chief or Marine Gunnery Sergeant) and Company Officers in each company area as well. There are chaplains of virtually every possible faith background who will open their doors to Mids just about any time of day. Specifically w/r/t abuse/misconduct, their are Mids in each company who have volunteered to receive special training about sexual abuse prevention. They make it known who they are, they give briefings to remind their company mates about what is or is not abuse, and they generally try to raise awareness of limits.

    This is not to say that abuse doesn't happen. However, I would be willing to bet that a lot more care and attention is given to prevention at USNA than at virtually any other college in the US. My grad school had a place to phone for rides and annual "take back the night" walks, because it was too dangerous for a woman to walk around at night alone. That's just not an issue on the Yard.

    w/r/t the relationship between your wife and daughter, I would suggest that they have an adult to adult conversation to really listen to and show acceptance and respect for each other's position. However, it may be that the best they can do is to respectfully agree to disagree, at least for now. It is clearly your daughter's right to choose her career path; it is also completely understandable that a parent can have doubts and fears about their son or daughter's choices. So long as they are respectful to each other, airing differences could actually bring them closer together.

    Best of luck to your daughter!
     
  10. rkrosnar

    rkrosnar Member

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    My Wife is Afraid...

    Northstream,

    Allow me to tell my point of view, from a father. Four years ago my DS was applying to USAFA and USNA. My wife served three years in the Army in the late 70's. Because of that and her having a service connected disability and a highly decorated uncle retired (Col.) from USAF. My DS told that he would be highly sought after, by the SA'S. She influenced him in such a manner, that she talked him into not attending an SA or doing ROTC. Because even though, the military tells you you can do anything, they end up putting you where they want you and treat you like crap. She talked him into going to Penn State and that she would pay the bill. She is now on the hook for over 66,000. dollars, plus. He has a huge sense of entitlement, because of this. He doesn't like at Penn State. Let your DS go, she will be a leader in this great country of the United States of America. You will be proud of what she will become. Thanks for letting you daughter defend freedom.

    God Bless to you and your family,
    God Speed

    RGK
     
  11. usnamomx3

    usnamomx3 Member

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    I can understand the fear your wife has. When our oldest son was appointed, it was during a time of peace. Literally days after Plebe Parent Weekend, 911 happened and everything changed. The following year when my second son was seeking his appointment, I still felt a sense of pride and joy but it was tempered by fear of the unknown. After commissioning and two or three deployments to the sandbox, I was downright terrified when my youngest began his appointment process.

    Perhaps your wife is afraid of her view of what the military environment does to our young people. I was afraid that the kind, gentle men I raised would become like the Marines I see on TV. It was just the opposite. I have seen my boys just blossom under the discipline and become responsible adults willing to lay down their lives for their brothers and sisters in this country. In the six short weeks of Plebe Summer, there was such a change in such a good way it all I could do to stop staring at each one wondering how the detailers had done it and how I could bottle it and make my millions.

    Perhaps she is afraid of how you daughter will be treated at the academy. It is a hard environment but for the most part it is one of respect for each other. Plebe year is hard...heck, all four years are hard but in a good way. They get yelled at, but I am pretty sure that if your daughter has been nominated and appointed, she isn't a delicate flower....:smile: who will wilt if she is ordered to give a chow call. The Academy takes all of the attributes of our young people and encourages (!) them to push themselves to be more. Your daughter won't be changed but she more than likely will be improved. upon....

    I can understand her fright but the positives of this experience for the young people who are lucky enough to have it, greatly outweighs the negatives. The saying "The Academy is a terible place to be but a great place to be FROM!!!" is one that is so true.


    Good luck and congratulations on your DD success.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  12. Northstream

    Northstream Member

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    Many Thanks

    Thank You all for your input, it is great to hear from parents who have seen this through already.

    I was able to glean good info from each of your responses, my 2 ladies are working it out slowly. Respect is the key, we all listen to our children but very seldom do they get the final word, now she does, relationships evolve.

    Patience is mandatory, good thing she told Mom that we need to be there to see her off at I day :biggrin:

    Chris
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    The hardest thing for any parent is this transition.

    It is hard to accept that they are no longer little kids where we throw our arm out to stop them from crossing the street. It is a gut reaction to always protect them, you will always be there, but now is the time to transition and hope they won't get hit.

    The minute you believe in the fact that you did a great job raising her, is the minute you can step back and relish their accomplishments.

    The one thing to remember is this is not prison, where they must stay for 4 yrs. and no chance for early parole. They are free to leave, of course there are penalties if you ask to leave too late, but if she gets there and decides it is not for her, they will let her go.
     
  14. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    Northstream: Being there for I-day is good, but make SURE "Mom" is there for PPW. No matter how many times you read, "There is such an amazing change over the 6 weeks of Plebe Summer," you just can't imagine it until you see YOUR DS/DD for the first time after noon formation on the Friday of PPW. IMO, it is a moment not to be missed!
     
  15. bugsy

    bugsy Member

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    The next generation

    Your wife is an awesome mom. Think of how your DD will someday mentor young enlisted women not as lucky as her to have such a great mom. Your DW will be so proud to see DD raise and protect the young women she is charged to lead. The USNA will give her the skills to support the next generation of great young men and women.

    I drove through the front gate of my Air Force base this morning looking upon the young men and women proudly guarding and thinking. I wish the rest of America could see these great youngsters on the news rather than the dregs usually spotlighted.

    Your daughter is our future, please let her go!
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
  16. dohdean

    dohdean Member

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    As a mom of a sophomore daughter at USAFA -- also not a military family -- you might see if there are any families in your area who have a son or daughter at an Academy. Although we live in a very liberal area with few military families (Boulder, CO) there are a number of families with students at USNA, USMA and USAFA -- all of whom are willing to talk to other parents about their son or daughter's experience. In our town, there are several high school teachers who have sons, daughters, nieces and nephews who have graduated from an academy; these well respected teachers have also been willing to talk to parents and prospective cadets about the educational experience, opportunities and career options. Finally, we found a minister in our area who is a graduate of West Point. He has been very willing to chat with parents and students about his experiences -- and his career insights -- which in his case led him to the clergy after serving in the military. There are many non-military, non-recruiter families who can offer you, your wife and your daughter some insights. My daughter's college experience has been much different from those of her high school friends -- but she has found her niche and is (generally) happy. It is a hard road -- but one with many rewards. Best of luck to your family.
     
  17. whitege

    whitege Member

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    sent you pm
     
  18. mysonusna06

    mysonusna06 New Member

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    parents clubs

    please forgive me if this has already been said, but the parents of those accepted to USNA have clubs throughout the country, and they support each other very well. Look for a parent's club in your city/or state and go to them for experiences, advice, comraderie, etc. Very worthwhile organizations for newbies.

    Also, for those who don't know, when your son or daughter graduates from the USNA, they are offered a $30,000 loan at .75% (yes, I said point seven five percent) interest paid back over 3 years from their pay. This allows them to invest, get cars, payoff other debts, whatever. Is there another school that does that for its grads?

    also, to let you know our experience, our son and his best friend accepted their appointments one month after 911 - and if you remember how confused we all were at the time about what this meant for world stability, we were extremely worried, but extremely proud that our sons (and 12,500 others who applied that year) were willing to take on such a challenge. My son is now flying helicopters - just finished a 6 month stint in Iraq doing air ambulance service - and it is difficult for me to imagine any other road he might have taken that would give him as much fulfillment and joy as he has found. There are no guarantees in this world and all we can do is support the dreams of our children. If we've done a good enough job that they've been accepted to one of the military academies, then we have to trust them to know that their choice is right for them. It doesn't have to be right for us...but it does have to be right for them.

    Good luck to all who's sons and daughters have achieved so much already, and thanks to all the parents who have supported their childrens through these iffy times.
     
  19. bergmom

    bergmom Member

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    very well said!

    "There are no guarantees in this world and all we can do is support the dreams of our children"....very well said mysonusna06!! Although I am very sad to say goodbye to my DS on June 30 for I-Day, I am so happy that he has found a passion in life and is following his dreams...people live a lifetime without such a gift!

    Thank you also to your son for his service in Iraq...you must be very proud!:thumb:
     
  20. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Just a quick side clarification here...the "career starter loan" offered at all five federal academies to 2/c midshipmen and cadets is NOT offered by the SAs or the government, but by two (and sometimes others) long-established and well-regarded financial institutions who have long served the military. The rate and amount changes from year to year, but it is always a good deal. It's designed to allow mids and cadets to pay off higher-cost debt, get some investments started, pay for uniforms and other post-commissioning needs. A similar version of the loan is also made available to ROTC/OTS/OCS.
     

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