Exhausted Doolie Parent

boboo

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Sep 14, 2021
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1
I am exhausted by the stress and crying and "I hate it here, I want to come home, I am not doing well." I listen, and I hear some shining moments, but honestly, I am getting 95% negativity. It is affecting my mental health too. The rollercoaster is no joke. My Doolie feels totally unsupported there; I continue to listen and have been getting two phone calls a day full of negativity. I think I have left no stone unturned in trying to figure out what to do from asking if paperwork should be filed to saying stay focused on the shining moments (which get shot down too now) to small talk to make the conversations more positive. My Doolie said everyone in her squad is depressed (C3Cs included) except the leadership. Three Doolies want to file paperwork :( along with roommate also saying same things about hating it although that roommate is IC so gets to escape when traveling. I know there is no easy answer just like I know this is not easy. I know these feelings are common too. I am happy to keep on keeping up with this, but I need some hope or some thought about how to tackle this that I have not figured out.
Tell them to be an athlete.
 

Wishful

"Land of the free, because of the brave..."
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(Athlete-specific)
Every time the squadron is assigned a task, seems the IC's coach calls a meeting/training/etc...for 4 years...statistically amazing...Should be a Math PhD dissertation.
 

Korab

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(Athlete-specific)
Every time the squadron is assigned a task, seems the IC's coach calls a meeting/training/etc...for 4 years...statistically amazing...Should be a Math PhD dissertation.
And every time the non-IC cadets are off for a weekend and have time to study, the athletes are on the road and trying to do homkework or study for an exam in the back of a plane. Be careful what you wish for.
 

BBBRRRTT

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Jun 25, 2018
Messages
257
Some of this process is good for the parent as well. Considering it developing some calluses, it will serve you well in the future. Here's another bit of advice that works, suggest your doolie sleep extra when there is any down time, it helps in two ways: 1. Better restores for daily demands, and 2. makes graduation seem like a shorter duration:)
 

greentrees

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There is no one solution to the adjustment - each person finds their way, eventually. For DS it was finding "his people", 2 of which were his roommates (they had gotten to choose their roommates after basic), but it was also his SPIRE group leader (SPIRE was program through the chapel - and he went on the Doolie retreat sponsored by the chapel), and then ultimately the triathlon team. In the winter he escaped the hill by signing up for some ski trips. His sponsor's house was a great place to recharge.
I might get flamed by people but I emailed him EVERY morning (time difference worked in my favor) -- just a few lines to discuss our favorite baseball or football team, update on the dog. Email was our way to communicate as his squadron didn't give the Doolie's their phones except on weekends. I rarely got a response to my email, even if I asked a question -- but if I forgot to email him -- oh boy -- he'd email "are you okay, you didn't send me an email"
Hang in there
 

TLR2025

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Dec 23, 2020
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There is no one solution to the adjustment - each person finds their way, eventually. For DS it was finding "his people", 2 of which were his roommates (they had gotten to choose their roommates after basic), but it was also his SPIRE group leader (SPIRE was program through the chapel - and he went on the Doolie retreat sponsored by the chapel), and then ultimately the triathlon team. In the winter he escaped the hill by signing up for some ski trips. His sponsor's house was a great place to recharge.
I might get flamed by people but I emailed him EVERY morning (time difference worked in my favor) -- just a few lines to discuss our favorite baseball or football team, update on the dog. Email was our way to communicate as his squadron didn't give the Doolie's their phones except on weekends. I rarely got a response to my email, even if I asked a question -- but if I forgot to email him -- oh boy -- he'd email "are you okay, you didn't send me an email"
Hang in there
I get 2 words about 9am EST from my doolie every day: “Good morning”. I respond just as quick but it gets us through until the next time we are able to talk, which is only once or twice a week. So bittersweet.
 

Falcon A

Just a Proud Dad
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I typed this last night and then deleted it … lots of good advice above … I assume you are Mom? … Mom you have done your Job … USAFA is supposed to be difficult… The stress is on purpose for a purpose… it is not for everyone… IF you have the GRIT to make it through it is a LOTTO ticket to a different type of life … BUT USAFA is not for everyone and that is OK … DD needs your guidance BUT don’t give her permission to quit … needs to be HER decision…
 

HOPE0204

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Sep 8, 2021
Messages
36
I typed this last night and then deleted it … lots of good advice above … I assume you are Mom? … Mom you have done your Job … USAFA is supposed to be difficult… The stress is on purpose for a purpose… it is not for everyone… IF you have the GRIT to make it through it is a LOTTO ticket to a different type of life … BUT USAFA is not for everyone and that is OK … DD needs your guidance BUT don’t give her permission to quit … needs to be HER decision…
Yep Mom here. She was told by one of her TOs that she should leave, she feels the pressure of not being able to keep up with minutes, has been super sick this week so is behind in school. I told her to stand up to the TO, and tell her that they have to make her leave, but she said she doesn't have the strength.......sigh.
 

HOPE0204

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Sep 8, 2021
Messages
36
There is no one solution to the adjustment - each person finds their way, eventually. For DS it was finding "his people", 2 of which were his roommates (they had gotten to choose their roommates after basic), but it was also his SPIRE group leader (SPIRE was program through the chapel - and he went on the Doolie retreat sponsored by the chapel), and then ultimately the triathlon team. In the winter he escaped the hill by signing up for some ski trips. His sponsor's house was a great place to recharge.
I might get flamed by people but I emailed him EVERY morning (time difference worked in my favor) -- just a few lines to discuss our favorite baseball or football team, update on the dog. Email was our way to communicate as his squadron didn't give the Doolie's their phones except on weekends. I rarely got a response to my email, even if I asked a question -- but if I forgot to email him -- oh boy -- he'd email "are you okay, you didn't send me an email"
Hang in there



As a 3/C mom of a MIDN I empathize with you. Our DS had a lot of negative things to say his plebe year during Covid. Turns out I was his safe space to vent.

Most days I just let him vent and then redirected to positive points or things on the horizon. It's hard to complain about a roommate to that roommate. But, at the end of the day I reminded him how hard he worked to get there, how much he wanted it and how time would fly and he would look back on the challenges and know he met them, some he might excel at, some he might barely clear the bar. But--they would be in the rear view mirror.

I concur with the mention of Chaplains, and a state parent group for mom and dad. Our local parent group has been amazing for me, and now, as a 3/C mom I am helping and mentoring the new parents. It helps to know you are not alone in this.

You are on one rollercoaster ride. Your DD is on another. They both have ups and down, just not at the same time. Different tracks. Hang in there, you have support, and your DD does, she needs to seek it in the Chaplains who are experienced in handling all the ups and downs.
She finally talked to chaplain yesterday, but today was having another anxiety attack. She is saying the minutes, yelling, and the negativity from Training Staff is getting to her the most.
 

Heatherg21

USNA mom Bacon Lover Dog Lover
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Yep Mom here. She was told by one of her TOs that she should leave, she feels the pressure of not being able to keep up with minutes, has been super sick this week so is behind in school. I told her to stand up to the TO, and tell her that they have to make her leave, but she said she doesn't have the strength.......sigh.
Ugh, first, Mom, I'm sorry. What a tough thing to hear. I wish strength for both you and your DD. Also, what she is hearing, may not be what they are saying. I know that sounds nonsensical, but I mean it. I had that experience with another parent with a different SA and their kid's experience. What they were hearing was twisted by their own insecurities and challenges. It wasn't word-for-word indicating that they should separate. Just a thought. Hugs to you!
 

HOPE0204

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Sep 8, 2021
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I had two colleagues come see me today and both vented about their kids in college.

The first brought me batteries for our CPR manikins and I made the mistake of asking how Lulu was doing. She had been a student of mine and I knew what was about to hit me. "Oh, she hates it. She's depressed. She has fallen behind already." Lulu, not her real name, is in her first year at our state's lowest ranked university. She was a lazy high school student and had a flat, kind of apathetic affect. I'm happy she didn't ask me to write her recommendation letter.

My next visitor was a teacher wanting me to diagnose his headache. I knew he had been having issues with his son who is a third year at West Point. Yes, that West Point. I asked, how's the boy doing? "Still has girlfriend trouble. He missed practice the other day. Etc." I took his blood pressure and it was through the roof.

I had no advice for them. All parents worry about their kids in college regardless of which institution or grade level. I get it. First year at a service academy is tough I've heard. I would do the usual shoulder to cry on thing parents have to do but also ask the kid to remember why they went through the process to get to where they are. The prestige of an academy education? The resume entry from an academy education? A career in the military, maybe? At that time they can reevaluate their reasons for wanting to attend. As mentioned above, it gets easier. If a few months of misery isn't worth the benefits of life as a military officer then it might be time to punch out.

But, I'd bet you, OP, are taking it harder than the situation calls for. That's what parents do.
Heading into LIFE is hard after high school. Thank you for the comments from your colleagues. Many kids struggle at an SA or civilian college. She is not sure she wants to serve anymore, but we are not sure if she is letting the emotions get ahold or her.
 

HOPE0204

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Sep 8, 2021
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Doolie year is very hard. My C3C went through ups and downs last year but stuck it out to see the light shine this year. This past summer was the best he ever had. He would find things to volunteer for, he joined clubs, and tried to get out of room. Keep encouraging cadet. Break is coming up and that is a good focus. Hang in there mom. It gets better.
Thank you for the encouragement.
 

HOPE0204

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So sorry you are feeling at wits end, fellow purple H!

If you haven't gotten a call from leadership, then she is actually doing awesome! It is completely normal and every parent has gone through this - listening to your DD/DS in their Moments of Despair. She's going through both normal college-ing and missing the comfort, security, and the Known of Home. That is a good thing - it means you raised her right, and that is her safe place! So pivot and give yourself a pat on the back!

Another big thumbs up for your state/regional parents group. It is a great way to channel your energy - they always need people for spiritwear, club officers, state night, military ball, you name it! The upperclass parents have been so helpful with information and perspective - they are SO WISE!!!! If not be geographic area, there are also squadron groups and maybe your class committee needing officers and help.

Agree with all posters above. Doolie year is very difficult; there is a steep learning curve, tough academics, getting used to military things, physical training, and college-ing. Hang in there through Thanksgiving and winter break, and then a push to Recognition!
Thanks @HCopter. Good to know on not getting a call yet. I still need to reach out to Parent Group. Hoping she can hang in until Thanksgiving. She's in rough shape.
 

Heatherg21

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Ugh, first, Mom, I'm sorry. What a tough thing to hear. I wish strength for both you and your DD. Also, what she is hearing, may not be what they are saying. I know that sounds nonsensical, but I mean it. I had that experience with another parent with a different SA and their kid's experience. What they were hearing was twisted by their own insecurities and challenges. It wasn't word-for-word indicating that they should separate. Just a thought. Hugs to you!
And, to add to that, the young person made it through the tough hurdles and found a new mental head space and is doing very well.
 

HOPE0204

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Sep 8, 2021
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I appreciate the situation you are in. As @Devil Doc mentioned, "ask the kid to remember why they went through the process to get to where they are." I would remind them that they are an adult now, and they can make their own decisions- but also remind them that they will have to live with those decisions for the rest of their lives. A SA, and the service commitment thereafter, aren't for everybody- and maybe it is not right for your DD, and if so then she'll very likely succeed elsewhere (I wouldn't tell her that, IMO, but it's the truth). I would most likely re-direct to the positive, re-direct to what's to come (holidays, major events, spring break, the end of her first year, etc). I am 100% confident it will get better if she has the personal awareness to honestly ask herself what she wants and then sticks to it, whatever path that might be. Good luck.
Thanks @WolfPackGrunt. Time will tell. She's pretty down.
 

HOPE0204

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Ugh, first, Mom, I'm sorry. What a tough thing to hear. I wish strength for both you and your DD. Also, what she is hearing, may not be what they are saying. I know that sounds nonsensical, but I mean it. I had that experience with another parent with a different SA and their kid's experience. What they were hearing was twisted by their own insecurities and challenges. It wasn't word-for-word indicating that they should separate. Just a thought. Hugs to you!
I literallly just told her that she should not listen to the nonsense and that we all negative talk to ourselves. She needs to not do this to herself or allow TO to do this to her!!
 

Heatherg21

USNA mom Bacon Lover Dog Lover
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Messages
2,611
I literallly just told her that she should not listen to the nonsense and that we all negative talk to ourselves. She needs to not do this to herself or allow TO to do this to her!!
To be honest, I don't think TO's should say anything like that. Can she continue with chaplains and can she find a positive? At this point, you can only encourage her, redirect to positives and handle one day at a time.
 

HOPE0204

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All good advice already.

Yes, being the sounding board can be exhausting. Stressful. Tiresome. And none of that is necessarily unique to a SA. But it is to parenting.

If you are able to listen, nod, and say ‘I’m so sorry’, or ‘that IS difficult’, then keep doing that. For them to vent. But if it is too much for you, maybe try having her talk to DH instead of you? Or find yourself a battle buddy (PM someone here, or via parents club, or class pages) to vent to yourself.

I HIGHLY recommend her speaking with chaplains. I’m a HUGE fan, as they are boots on the ground, familiar with all things USAFA, and are trained and able to identify real problems. Bc those DO exist. They can get to the root of the issue and maybe it’s something as easy as changing roommates. My own went through some iso/Covid stuff back in the day and they were instrumental in his successfully getting through his stuff (gf dumped him too…but he is thriving now!). And I also chatted with them (with DS’s permission, but nothing private).

What I’m getting at, if for you to also find some healthy coping mechanisms. It’s great to be their sounding board, but also a curse. My experience with becoming an adult, is soon this part will end. They will be confident and have the skills to manage their own lives. And/or a significant other/peer group that will become her sounding board. This took a little longer with my DD than with my DS’s, but it has happened with all of them.

Hang in there! And know that the worst thing that can happen, isn’t the end of the world. No matter what, we all get through our STUFF. She won’t be able to actually quit without a long, reflective process. And if that ultimately happens, y’all move on. Not the first time it’s happens and it doesnt happen quickly or without discernment.

This is her journey. She will need to own it. Work through it. And the outcome will be even sweeter bc it was HERS.
@justdoit19 - thank you very much. She at the chaplain again today and going in completely sad so hopefully some positivity will come of it. training staff is the roughest part right now as she is buying the bs they are selling, but also feels like she is letting her squad down by not keeping up.
 

Devil Doc

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Heading into LIFE is hard after high school. Thank you for the comments from your colleagues. Many kids struggle at an SA or civilian college. She is not sure she wants to serve anymore, but we are not sure if she is letting the emotions get ahold or her.
I'm sure she is. I wrote about the low performing girl at the low ranked school and it sounded like I was making light of her situation or it might of just sounded made up. I assure you the story is true. She isn't going through the BS your daughter is, I know. I also know she is nowhere close to being capable of going through what your DD is going through. She doesn't have the IQ or EQ. There's no way the U.S. would ever trust her with the keys to a Minuteman missile or F-16 fighter jet. Your daughter however will someday be handed those keys. She must first pass through these dark days. Hopefully she can find some light to lead her to that point.
 

HOPE0204

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To be honest, I don't think TO's should say anything like that. Can she continue with chaplains and can she find a positive? At this point, you can only encourage her, redirect to positives and handle one day at a time.
No trying to blame the TOs, but two them are very very heavy handed, critical, and negative. If she can survive these TOs, they will have made any future superiors easy to deal with so that will be the upside. Instead of pancake breakfasts and talking about the day during minutes, they have to memorize squad names, do PT etc.....never a break with these TOs. Again if can survive, things will be much easier for future trainings! I think she does not think she has time for the chaplain, but if that is what it takes, that is what it takes.
 
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