Parent's Weekend Issue

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by xsurfer, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. xsurfer

    xsurfer Parent

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    My son informed us last night that he and his girlfriend are making plans for her to attend the AFA PW in September. His mom and I are not exactly in favor of this. Are we being selfish in not wanting her to be there so that we don't have to share our son's time with her? I don't really mind her presence there as much as my wife does but what bothers me the most is that they intend on staying in a separate hotel room together. They will both be 18 by PW, so technically they will be adults and can do as they please. I just don't like it. What are your thoughts/opinions?
     
  2. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    I understand both sides.

    It's called PARENT'S weekend. He's supposed to be with you guys who supported and helped them through his entire life. Without you he wouldn't be were he is today and some girl he's been with considerably less than the amount of time you guys have is taking priority over you.

    But, he is 18 and it's his decision. There really isn't anything you can do except talk to him about it and tell him how you feel. Tell him that it's the least he could do after all you've done and provided for him (if he isn't 18 now then you signed the consent form for him to go as well as helped through the application). Maybe make a compromise or something. The chances of any relationship lasting through all 4 years in the academy are VERY slim so you probably won't have to deal with this for long.
     
  3. xsurfer

    xsurfer Parent

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    Thanks for your opinion Finest. No matter what kind of compromise we could make someone is going to feel left out in the cold. The whole PW situation is going to be awkward. My wife already feels like we are going to be nothing but a 5th wheel... and I tend to agree. Let's face it, we know who our son is really looking forward to seeing... and it isn't us. And perhaps that's normal to an extent. We could exercise our parental rights and insist that the g/f not go but then we have to deal with resentment on the part of our son. He leaves on Wednesday for the Academy and now there is all this tension in the house. Oh what fun......

    By the way Finest, congrats on your appointment and best of luck at the USMA! :thumb:
     
  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    My sympathies... we sometimes see this happen at USNA at the various parents weekends and commissioning week, when mid's wants don't align with family's wants. We encourage our mids to look at the schedule and have a grown-up conversation with family, respecting the time and effort family is making to support him/her, and being mature and generous with how they divvy up the time.

    I agree with the recommendation of talking with him and sharing your feelings, treating him as an adult and looking for a compromise that meets his needs and yours.

    At Navy, plebes can only ride in cars with parents, sponsor parents, officers, 1/C midshipmen in certain circumstances, and very few others. G/B/friends are not authorized. If it's similar at USAFA, that may make you duty driver and thus more attractive.

    Of course, I wouldn't be subsidizing any of his choices... if he's grown up enough to import the G/F and stay with her as a couple away from family, he can pay for her expenses and his.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Momof2cadets

    Momof2cadets Founding Member

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    From experience I suggest making the girlfriend an ally and putting forth the effort to form a good relationship with her. We did this with my oldest son's girlfriend. When she attended PPW with us at USMA (and many other events) SHE insisted that he carve out time for us and his sibling. The chances of it lasting 4 years is slim (the gf above lasted 3 years), but who knows? You may be looking at a daughter-in-law, and wouldn't it be better to start off on great footing? I do agree that if they are adult enough to get their own room, they need to pay for it... unfortunatley it is not in our power any more to set boundaries for them (except in our homes). Keeping the lines of communication open is the most important thing... Good luck!
     
  6. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    The hotels that I have dealt with in COS all have a policy of not renting to under 21, so the problem may work itself out. The only exception that I know of if the Academy Hotel will rent to 18 or older as long as it is for an Academy-related function, such as an official visit or an orientation.

    My personal opinion is that this is called Parent's Weekend for a reason. If it were Significant Other's Weekend, then it would be a different story.

    Stealth_81
     
  7. usna2012mom

    usna2012mom Member

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    Our son had really wanted GF to come to Parents Weekend. At first, I didn't want her to. We don't have a problem with the girl or the relationship, we just wanted some time with our son. He assured me that we could all go. I told him that I was not going to go if GF was going. My son and I are very close and he knew how hurt I would be if I didn't go. We talked about it. I explained that it wouldn't be fair to anyone. We would want time with him, she would want time with him and he would be in a no win situation. I reassured him that I knew exactly how he felt. My parents probably went through the same thing with me. When I came home on leave, I wanted to spend all my time with BF. He finally understood that she wasn't going to be invited because we weren't going to deal with the stress.
    Well, by PPW I had a change of heart. We, the family, went early. We had him to ourselves all day and night Friday. After we returned him to the Academy on Friday night, we headed to the airport to get GF. He had no idea she was coming. He couldn't talk or text with her on friday as she was flying. We surprised him on Saturday with his girlfriend. It worked out great. We had our time and she had hers.
    USNA is a little different in that the plebes do not have overnight priveleges. We didn't have the hotel issue. GF just stayed with us and plebe stayed on the yard. I agree with Capt MJ, I would not help pay for anything I didn't approve of. If he wants to be a grown up, he can pay like a grown up.
    After the weekend, we took GF to tour Washington DC. We had a good time her, without our son.
    It has been a year and they are still going strong. We love her and I am so glad that she lives in my neighborhood. I am sure that my son will be coming home any chance he gets. (selfish I know, but true)
    I hope that you can find a solution that works for you. It would be a shame if he left without a resolution.
     
  8. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    Thank you. :thumb:

    And yes it's normal. Teenagers always place their boyfriend/girlfriend ahead of friends and family even after only being together for a relatively short period of time and don't realize the foolishness in it until a certain maturity level is reached (or I guess it's just 20/20 hindsight).

    As someone said, don't make any drama. It's a mistake commonly made by parents. Going against a relationship only provides a common enemy for them making it a "them vs us" scenario which doesn't do good for anyone. And like someone said, it's always a possible daughter-in-law.

    In my similar situation I made a compromise with my parents for the first holidays. I visit my girlfriend on Thanksgiving Break (it's sooner but shorter) and I visit them for Christmas (it's later but also longer and a bigger holiday). This satisfied their need to see me as well as my girlfriend's. Similar compromises will be made throughout my 4 year experience.

    I agree with letting him pay for all expenses that weekend. :biggrin:
     
  9. xsurfer

    xsurfer Parent

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    Well, it looks like the GF is not going to PW. Our son wouldn't give us a specific reason why but I assume it's because my wife and I put up such a fuss about it as opposed to issues with GF reserving a hotel room, rental car, etc. So we assume the GF hates us. I just hope our son doesn't hold it against us for very long.

    Finest, I think you're right about teenagers putting the GF/BF first. Right or wrong, I think that's just reality... accepting it is the hard part. I know that our son and GF would love to see each other at PW and now I almost feel a little guilty for standing in the way of that.

    Anyway, thanks to everyone for your input.
     
  10. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    How about extending the olive branch to the GF and offering her space in any care packages you send? Perhaps after he's safely at USAFA?

    I would bet your D/S will be so happy to see you PW, much will be forgiven.
     
  11. firemanvin

    firemanvin Member

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    Ok, here is something to keep in mind; plebes are around 17 or 18 years old. Parents are, well ….. much older. We are boring! My son is the most caring, loving, and respectful son anyone can know; and would never, ever hurt us by telling my wife and I that we are boring. As a matter of fact he probably doesn’t realize we are boring, but we are!

    Do not interfere with your plebe’s desire to be with anyone whom he or she wishes to be with – unless that person or persons are a bad influence. We do however need to be responsible parents (for example, no “private visits” with the girl friend / boy friend). This is well in alignment with the moral requirements of a Midshipman. Remember, USNA released the plebes to us, so we are a vital link in the chain of custody.

    Sure, there is a good chance that friendships and relationships will not survive, but that is not for us to determine. While your plebe’s friends have been soaking up the lazy days of summer, he or she has been busy answering to a higher calling. It’s the plebe’s turn for a little well deserved bragging! They will bring the stories (and pictures) home like no others can.

    My opinion is that we, as parents, need to take a back seat at this point in their lives. Yes, our plebes do “owe us” a lot, however this is not the time for payback. Payback comes in our strong sense of self actualization when we see him or her “flying on their own” at such a young age. They do not belong to us anymore – they belong to themselves and will decide where their loyalties lie. Of course the USNA will help them prioritized their loyalties in a very positive way.

    The best way to describe it is “reversed tough love” because it is tough on us, not so much them. It’s time to cut the apron strings folks.
     
  12. pilotmom

    pilotmom New Member

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    GF on Parents weekend

    We included the GF because they've been together almost 3 years and they have a great relationship. We discussed with our son our wishes for time and listened to his. We will all be in one room and GF gets the rollaway. Yes, it will be wonderful to see him but I know he'll enjoy the time more getting to spend time with his GF. Hopefully you can enjoy being with him and sharing him at the same time.
     
  13. mombee

    mombee Banned

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    I agree. The priority should be for the plebe to have a relaxing weekend. Perhaps it is the thought of "private visits" and hotel rooms that parents find uncomfortable. We rented a cottage on the Bay with a beach and everything was very informal and relaxed. More of a home atmosphere. Highly recommend it.
     
  14. digitalsailor

    digitalsailor New Member

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    Our son has not mentioned the gf for PW and I'm praying it stays that way. They have been going out a year and a half but she is only 14. He has mentioned that she would like to fly up for her birthday (which is the week of his first break), spend the weekend in the city, then they would both fly home. Her mother (who ran away at 14) is fine with whatever she wants to do. I am flabbergasted that any rational mom would let a 14-15 year old girl fly up unescorted to spend the weekend with her 18 year old bf. Logistically, I think the whole process would be difficult, but I would not put it past her mom to arrange everything for the 2 of them. We have no relationship with this girl and I try not to object too much but I am more than aware of the consequences. I am just hoping the relationship will fall apart before then. Any words of advice would be welcome!
     
  15. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    :eek:

    All I have to say is remember the rule: you can only date the people that are above or equal to the age of this equation:

    (your age divided by half) + 7 yrs

    :)
     
  16. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

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    digitalsailor: OMG, I am with you. She is WAY too young to visit. Or even date.

    Here's some hopeful news: my plebe son at USNA reports that one evening the detailers said "Everyone who has received a "dear John" or "dear Jane" letter stand up!" and quite a few did. Only 4 weeks in to plebe summer. Many relationships do not survive even the first weeks of a SA. There's hope.

    Until then, do not help them facilitate. A 14 year old cannot rent a hotel room (nor for that matter can her 18 yer old boyfriend). Obviously she cannot rent a car. At USNA, plebe cannot ride with anyone except parents, sponsor family and parents of another midshipman. Girlfriend's mom not on that list.

    kp, my boys (age 22 and 18) always say the dating thing must follow by the finger rule: 5 years way. No more than "one hand."
     
  17. dohdean

    dohdean Member

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    14-15 year old girlfriend

    I am the mother of a female Cadet (18) at one of the other Academies. I am also the mother of a 14 year old boy and I can't imagine letting him go off on a trip like this unchaperoned or without an adult along. I understand your concerns and I agree with Jenny -- don't enable this relationship -- it may die a fairly quick death on its own. There are a number of logistical issues that will make any visit by this girl, without an appropriate adult chaperone, very difficult, if not impossible (all the things Jenny pointed to -- the girl can't rent a hotel room, she can't rent a car, your son can't ride in the girl's mother's car, etc., etc.). I also wonder how this relationship would be viewed by your son's upperclass supervisors and his new Academy peers (men and women). I would expect that your son will receive no end of grief from upperclassmen and peers if this "girlfriend" comes to visit him. I think, but could be off base, that most of the upperclassmen and most of his peers will think this relationship is odd (if not inappropriate) and will question your son's maturity/judgment, etc. for dating a girl who is so young. That may be another basis on which your son will decide that having this girl visit is a very bad idea for his advancement at the Academy. I hope this all works out in the best way possible for your son.
     
  18. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    Wow, I hope you've read the article(s) of the guy at the Naval Academy getting in deep trouble for having a relationship with a minor. This is how those things happen...I would take no part in the relationship if I were you and let it die. Out of respect to you, I won't comment on your son for being with a 14 year old.
     
  19. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    Maybe the mom is European? It's nothing for "children" of that age to travel around Europe. It is not an acceptable practice in this country, however. Hopefully this will quickly run its course.
     
  20. digitalsailor

    digitalsailor New Member

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    Believe me, I feel the same way as you and am taking no part in this relationship. I am fully aware of the risks and my feelings about my DS and his GF are the same as yours! My son knows how his dad and I feel, but at the risk of alienating our son and encouraging the relationship we are biting our tongues. We can only pray that time will take its toll. Also Mom3boys... dad is European! GF spends breaks there and went to school there for a year. Go figure.
     

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