Guidance

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by Overwhelmed, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Overwhelmed

    Overwhelmed Member

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    My 17 year old son has never been 46 years old but I have been 17. How much input should a parent have in their child's final college decision?
     
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  2. A1Janitor

    A1Janitor Member

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    As much input as you want.

    It’s his decision though. ;)
     
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  3. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

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    My approach: You can tell your kid what to think about, but you can’t tell them what to think. In other words, help them parse the criteria, but let them make the final decision. (Of course, certain issues such as affordability may trump all, in which case I believe it’s ok to pull rank — or let your kid offer up a solution.)

    (Not saying this is your situation, but...a leading reason [the leading reason?] that mids/cadets leave in plebe year is because they didn’t want to be there in the first place. It was Mom’s or Dad’s decision, not theirs.)
     
  4. A1Janitor

    A1Janitor Member

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    I just want this kid out of my house. Wherever. I’m thankful he might get in to the USNA.

    He really wants it.
     
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  5. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

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    Six years ago when DS was a junior in HS, he told us he was going to skip college and enlist into the Marines and become a Recon sniper. My wife and I looked at each other and said we need to discuss this. That began the process of educating and enlightening DS with the alternative options of going in as an E-1 and the benefits of getting a degree.

    Fast forward to today, he is about to commission and graduate college in May, on an Army ROTC scholarship and begin the process at ABOLC of becoming an Armor Officer.

    Like others have said. The final decision is your DS or DD's, but parents have an obligation to make sure that they examine all the options.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019 at 11:02 AM
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  6. FMHS-79

    FMHS-79 Parent

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    In addition to helping set a firm moral foundation, I often thought of parents as being the equivalents to the bumper guards at a bowling alley - we can try to keep our children heading in the right direction and out of major trouble, but the end result is in their hands.

    After 18 years of signing permission slips for almost everything my DS did, I received my wake-up call when he signed his acceptance of his appointment to the USAFA. It was the largest single decision he had made in his life and my approval was no longer required. The bumper guards have been removed and I love seeing the course he is setting for his self.
     
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  7. Humey

    Humey Member

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    My friend son graduated HS last May. He is smart, had great grades and great test scores and was taking community colleges courses. He didnt want any help from his parents when applying although they offered. He only applied to the Ivys, MIT, CAl Tech, Stanford, CAl Poly and Tulane. Of course he only got into Cal Poly and Tulane. Tulane although a really nice school didnt have the major he really wanted so he accepted Cal Poly which is probably his last choice. He is leaving the school and transferring at the end of the year as he doesnt like it. As everyone says, in the end it will be his decision, but he was a 17/18 year old boy who thought he knew what he was doing. In fact he had no idea what he was doing and it wound up biting him in the butt. There were plenty of top tier schools like Univ of Virginia and such who probably would have accepted him. Instead he only applied to school where plenty of 4.0 gpa and high test scores get rejected. At his age, parents arent their to dictate, but they are there to guide because what most kids seem to forget is that both parents applied to college also in their day. In one sense he got what he deserved and he had to pay the price. Luckily he is doing well in college so transferring may not be an issue for him. Unlike my son who we always say has more luck than brains. He could have done better in high school and yet got into his first choice.
     
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  8. UHBlackhawk

    UHBlackhawk Member

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    You need to let them make their own way. While you may get more gray hair, you might be surprised at what strong adults they turn into.

    My DD walked away from a D1 sports scholarship and ROTC scholarship after one semester in college to enlist. To say I lost sleep would be an understatement.
    Today she is a yuck (sophomore) at West Point. It has been an... unusual trip. But we couldn't be more proud of her.

    There is a book called "The Joy of the Skinned Knee". Sometimes, letting our children fall and skin their knees is a valuable lesson. Or as it's written in the Talmud, "Fathers, teach your children to swim."
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  9. Devil Doc

    Devil Doc Teufel Doc

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    My son’s first priority was playing football. USNA made a hard run at him but it didn’t work out. During his travels to graduation among five schools, he wanted to throw in the towel and enlist. I was ready to drive him to the recruiter and welcome him aboard. My wife said no. Told him to graduate and go in as an officer. He did. Didn’t have to of course but listened to mama. It was a struggle. It took a couple extra years. But, he’s now a company commander in charge of a hot shot unit in the 1st Marine Division. His is a story of parental involvement that worked out well.
     
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  10. Blessedmom

    Blessedmom Member

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    If I’m paying 100% of his/her tuition, I choose the school:)
     
  11. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    I like to suggest parents don’t choose the college instead let the child choose. But should give clear guidance and support on choosing the brand, campus culture, curriculum strength, ROTC Programs, and majors that impact their decisions. But I would as a parent not do the choosing. The choice should rest on your son or daughter. Even if you pay 100% of the tuition you don’t choose the school! But help to make informed decision so they don’t make naive decisions.
     
  12. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator 10-Year Member Founding Member

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    My wife and I provided a stable environment and the best elementary and secondary education that we could. Once college decisions came around we were completely hands-off and let them know we were available for questions but would not be a part of the final decision. I wouldn't tell my adult children what kind of car to drive or where to shop for clothing. Why would I tell them to go to a university for 4 or more years if it was not 100% their decision? My three kids have all done exceptionally well and have successful careers with no regrets because they made the choice themselves.

    Stealth_81
     
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  13. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Interesting thread, and timeless.

    Though this was many years ago, my parents did a great job of setting realistic expectations for me with what they would be able to contribute, starting at about 6th grade, with age-appropriate discussions. Over the course of those regular and gradually more complex discussions, they taught me how to estimate costs, including travel and all the other ancillary costs to attending college. We boiled it down to a few scenarios:
    - live at home, work, attend local community college, then 4-year state college, with some help from them
    - attend state college with some help from them
    - work hard, get scholarships from every possible source, save money from own summer jobs, and out-of-state well-regarded private and public colleges could be attained

    They created a range of options, ensured I understood what they could contribute and how my own actions could expand the possibilities. They included me in their Sunday afternoon family bill-paying discussions and family money chats, invaluable lessons. I understood they were not buying me a car from the get-go, but they helped me understand how I could do that on my own.

    My dad also taught me to change the oil on a car, change tires, start a manual shift car in 2nd, service a gas lawn mower, do basic carpentry and household repairs. Mom never lost a penny from her checkbook and kept impeccable accounts, and had a flair for math, and could beat Marie Kondo in a one-round bout.

    When we went to look at colleges, they used open-ended questions to help me evaluate and think through the tangible and intangible aspects of each college, and to see how it might fit me.

    Their eventual contribution to my college education was buying a meal plan and the student health plan each year, and help with the gas money for the long drives home at holidays.

    The older I get, the more I realize how many valuable lessons they taught me, and I wish they were still around so I could tell them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
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  14. UHBlackhawk

    UHBlackhawk Member

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    We taught both of our kids how to drive a manual transmission. This came in handy for our daughter when she enlisted. She purchased an old Jeep Wrangler with a manual transmission. She never had to worry about anyone in the barracks asking to borrow her car once they found out it was a standard.
     
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  15. VelveteenR

    VelveteenR Just gathering dust in the nursery...

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    How funny! Our son bought his first car this past summer -- an old mustang stick. He didn't know how to drive it, but thought he should with the added benefit that probably no one would be borrowing it. He and his dad got some great bonding time and had a lot of fun together with those lessons. Hubby commented that it was probably the last time he'd be able to teach kiddo anything useful.

    To the OP's point, though, I'm with those who say guide and advise your children, but college is one of their first adult decisions, and they should be allowed to choose where they spend the next four years of their lives. Even if you don't like it. ;)
     
  16. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily 5-Year Member

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    From the time our children were little, we told them they would need to pay for their own college, one way or another. It didn't matter to us how they did that (i.e. do well enough in school to earn academic scholarships, go the military scholarship/academy route, go to community college while working, enlist and get the GI Bill, etc.) As they got older and they were high performers in school, we knew they would go the college route. At that point, we told them they could go to any college they could get into where they would get the scholarships to cover the costs. We truly didn't care where they went, as we were not paying for it. We did support them in helping with scholarship and college research to find the schools that would offer full tuition scholarships, taking them on many college tours, etc. Once they decided ROTC/Academy route was their top choice, we still made sure they had several courses of action in case they did not medically qualify for DoDMERB In the end, it worked out for them and I believe they would have been happy with any of their final options they had available to choose from. Now, I know many parents don't feel the same way we did and would do anything, including mortgaging their homes or derailing their own retirement plans, in order to allow their children to follow their dreams in going to any college they wanted to go to. Some of our friends were critical of our viewpoint on this, but I admit I was judgemental (although I didn't voice it) of them co-signing on $200k of school loans for their kids to go to their dream liberal arts colleges pursuing degrees that could result in low paying jobs that could take decades to pay off those loans. So every family needs to make their own decisions on what works for them.
     
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  17. bookreader

    bookreader Member

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    My youngest had one plan - apply to West Point. There were no other schools on his list. So I felt that it would be the responsible thing to do to expose him to other military options. We drove to VMI (his best friend's brother loved being a rat, so that seemed like a good option) and he decided that would be a good plan B. Ok, so now there are 2 schools on his list. Then I told him to talk to a ROTC rep. Well, that didn't end well, as the rep focused on aspects that did not interest my son (She focused on all the benefits of ROTC for the student - free tuition, free this and that. My son only was interested in the serving his country aspect of military service.) So, I asked him to speak to a different ROTC rep - I actually pulled the 'Mom card" on this because I felt it was important for him to get a second opinion/view point. This time, it went much, much better. The rep spoke my son's 'language' and he was now open to consider other school where he could be a ROTC cadet. So, in the end, he applied to 4 schools. When the WP acceptance arrived, he looked at me with eyes that said 'Ya know mom, all those extra applications were a waste of time.' But to his credit, he never said it out loud. :)

    With our other children, who had no interest in going military, we told them that the college they chose had to be within driving distance since there was no money for tuition and room/board. We are fortunate to live near a number of excellent schools, so this really didn't put too much of a damper on their options. Money was absolutely a factor since we had several children who we planned to send to college (our dime) and incur no loans/debts. Basically, they needed to find a financially viable option. All did and in the end, each one ended up at the school that worked well for them.
     
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  18. jl123

    jl123 Member

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    My opinion:
    • Elementary School: Parent choice, period. Explain why when child complains.
    • High School: Parent choice, child input.
    • College: Child choice, parent input.
    • Grad School: Child choice, period, Explain why when parents complain.
     
  19. Day-Tripper

    Day-Tripper Member

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    I think we (meaning all humans on earth with kids) can agree that our children would have wonderful lives if only they'd let their parents make all their decisions for them.

    The idea of arranged marriages, which I once derided as backward, doesn't seem so terrible anymore.
     
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  20. A1Janitor

    A1Janitor Member

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    I bet your cousin would disagree. ;)
     
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