Parents

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by ClimberGirl, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. ClimberGirl

    ClimberGirl Member

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    I know this is not the situation for many, but I have some questions about how to involve my parents (all 4 of them) in things like R-Day, A-Day, etc.

    My parents are divorced and both remarried, and I know they all want to be a part of the big events at USMA, but the problem is that they don't really get along. Does anyone who has gone through a similar situation have any advice about how I could include all of them without making it very uncomfortable for all of us? I think for A-Day we only get two tickets, right? This is another thing that worries me. Thank you for your advice and insights!
     
  2. FLboy

    FLboy Member

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    Kinda same situation with me. Although I'd love to see mine get along, I know that it just won't work out. So I asked one to see me go on R-day and one to come to A-day. There may be better options but that is what I'm doing.
     
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  3. ClimberGirl

    ClimberGirl Member

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    I was thinking about doing that too, but how did you decide which to ask to which? If you do not mind sharing @FLboy
     
  4. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Wow, tough situation. Couple of options. 1 is to do what FLboy is recommending. The other is to sit down with both your parents and say you want them there, you want them to be a part of this, but that last thing you want is bickering or issues between them. Tell them what you want and if they can't do that, then they will miss out on significant events over the next few years while at WP. They don't do two R Days or two A Days for divorced parents, you and they only get one. Tell them how much it would mean for you to have them all there and if they can't agree to that, then they are going to miss out on some key moments of your life. Obviously this is easier said then done, but are becoming an adult and time to life in your own hands. Set the ground rules now to prevent future issues. You shouldn't be stressed about these things, but unfortunately many kids face this. If you can't say it face to face, maybe write a letter, sit down with a grandparent you trust, etc. Good luck.
     
  5. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    Ask them first who wants to make the trip for R-Day/A-Day/Parents Weekend in October/Plebe Parent Weekend in March (do they live close by, will cost/airfare be an issue, etc)? It may be that one set wants to travel to A-Day, and another set is willing to go for Parent Weekend in October. Two different experiences though. Or both sets of parents may want to do everything, in which case they'll just need to be adults and suck it up and get along. You don't need any tickets for A-day, but you will for the banquet at PPW. You can get extra tickets for the banquet (likely 2-4, don't expect 10) as some cadets won't have any family members attending and will give up their tickets. You can also suggest that one set of parents visit during a home football game weekend. There will be plenty of opportunities for everyone who wants to visit. It can be done, and you aren't the only cadet in this situation.
     
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  6. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Navy Hoops is exactly right. I saw this so often as a USNA BattO and still see as a midshipman sponsor. Battling parents putting the burden on their mid to referee what their problem is to fix, yuck.

    Hard to tackle as a young adult.

    Provide them schedules, approach as NavyHoops suggests. If they can support you and get along for your sake, all welcome. If not, you will be forced to flip a coin (literally) and make choices for them. Stand by for guilt trips and emotional blackmail. You will learn to say "I love you, mom/dad, but I cannot listen to this." They both want you in their lives. Leverage that. Sadly, many mids/cadets end up acting like parents to parents acting like children.

    Best to start managing it now. Commissioning Week, everyone wants to do everything, no trade-offs or taking turns. Get them used to managing their personal issues and they should be in shape for that special week a little over 4 years from now.
     
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  7. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    You can avoid one situation right off the bat and take the travel package for R-Day and travel alone to West Point. That way you could have a generic send-off at the airport on neutral ground.

    ca2midwestmom has a good idea for divvying up A-Day and the October Parents Weekend. Especially for A-Day, everyone needs to understand that this is your chance to recharge and reconnect before the incredibly busy semester begins and you expect everyone to be on their BEST behavior. You should not be expected to mediate and soothe hurt feelings that weekend---the grownups need to act like grownups.
     
  8. ClimberGirl

    ClimberGirl Member

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    The thing is, I really do want to have them involved in this. I will go alone if I have to... but I would much prefer have the support of my parents there.
     
  9. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    Of course on R-Day, once you report, you won't get to speak to them again. You can be with them prior to that but they will be on their own after the Ike Hall assembly until they head home. They can tour the post and get to know West Point, shop, and hang around and wait for the Oath Ceremony around 6:00, but you won't be with them again. If you think everyone will behave for your sake prior to reporting and not add to your nervousness, then go for it.
     
  10. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    It's not your job to keep them happy and involved. You'll have enough to do just keeping your head above water.

    Those days aren't about them, they're about YOU!
     
  11. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Tough conversations to face.

    Saying exactly what you said above, and following up with "I will have some stress and apprehension. Do you think you and Other Parent can choose to get along for my sake that day? Will you promise? I love you both, and having you both there would be very special. If you decide you can't, I will be sad and miss seeing you both there. I am starting a special journey, and I need you both to have my back, regardless of what is wrong between the two of you. Please don't make me choose."

    Asking for their best behavior is reasonable, acknowledging it will be uncomfortable for them but very reassuring to you.

    This is something they have to learn to do, or every family occasion in the future that centers around you will be a stomachache-inducer.

    I have had this same tearful conversation with many a USNA sponsor midshipman in our house, whose battling parents have placed an unfair burden on their son or daughter. The saddest thing of all is when parents fail to resolve their civility issues, forcing the mid to choose - and they choose to spend less time with either parent, refusing to be a game piece on the hate chessboard. The reverberations from this can affect the relationship for years afterward.
     
  12. mom4boys

    mom4boys Member

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    My DS's dad and I are divorced and remarried to others (for many years) and can handle public appearances but the four of us aren't friends. DH and I took DS to R-Day - halfway across the country. We also returned with siblings and grandparents on A-Day. His dad was invited to both but declined. They went to October Parents weekend, we are going to PPW. A-Day and PPW are the stickers, because A-Day your time is so limited and PPW there are only two tickets per cadet (not sure if you can get two more from someone whose parents aren't coming).

    We have also made the trek to WP on a regular weekend, to get some individual time with our cadet. Money and time will limit your parents' visits, depending on distance.

    I definitely agree with the advice to talk to your parents as "I love you all, please come if you can behave." You won't have two graduations, two weddings, two births of children, etc. Figure out everyone's abilities and comfort levels now and establish good boundaries and expectations.

    FWIW, at family events, we either stick to our own side of the room or end up talking to extended "ex" family we miss and ignore the other parent to the greatest extent. It really works out fine. As a parent, I would do anything to not miss my kids' life events, including smiling and sitting next to my ex if I have to!

    As another poster said, you are now an adult, this is your life, and it is about you. Gently, lovingly, and repeatedly remind your parents of those facts when necessary.

    Best wishes.
     
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  13. parentalunit2

    parentalunit2 Parent

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    As sponsors at WP we too witnessed this all too often. In one particular case, graduation was the first time the divorced-now-remarried parents had seen each other in years. We felt so badly for ‘our’ graduating cadet, but their family business and history was theirs to manage. It was icy and steely, but everyone seemed to get through it.

    ClimberGirl – You will not be the only cadet in this situation. Not by a long shot! You will find others in the same type of situation and you can bond with them for support.
     
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  14. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    Plebes are usually able to acquire a few more tickets by working within their company.
     

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