How can I convince my parents?

rjy84

Member
It's been a dream of mine to join the military for quite some time. My parents aren't supportive of my decision to pursue military service and they disapprove of me attending any service academy or ROTC in general. I'm just about done with my applications for NROTC and USNA and my interviews are coming up soon. I have my BGO interview, NROTC interview, DODMERB exam, and nomination interviews within these three upcoming weeks, but my parents won't speak a word regarding any of this. What are my options if they refuse to sign off on it? I'm not 18 yet and I won't be until next fall.
 

BoLwife

5-Year Member
It's been a dream of mine to join the military for quite some time. My parents aren't supportive of my decision to pursue military service and they disapprove of me attending any service academy or ROTC in general. I'm just about done with my applications for NROTC and USNA and my interviews are coming up soon. I have my BGO interview, NROTC interview, DODMERB exam, and nomination interviews within these three upcoming weeks, but my parents won't speak a word regarding any of this. What are my options if they refuse to sign off on it? I'm not 18 yet and I won't be until next fall.
I believe you have to have one parent sign their consent if you will not be 18 on I-Day, unless you are emancipated. And before you consider going down that road, I will just say that having been a military child, spouse, and now mother, it can be a hard life if you don't have the support of your family -- harder than say, if you were a doctor and your parents felt it was the wrong career for you to pursue.

You don't say what your parents' reasons are for objecting -- they could be pacifist, fearful for your safety, anxious thinking about you living a life far from them, etc. I imagine you may have already had several conversations with them about YOUR reasons for pursuing the military. Maybe there is a family member or friend of the family with a military background who could talk to them?
 

rjy84

Member
It's been a dream of mine to join the military for quite some time. My parents aren't supportive of my decision to pursue military service and they disapprove of me attending any service academy or ROTC in general. I'm just about done with my applications for NROTC and USNA and my interviews are coming up soon. I have my BGO interview, NROTC interview, DODMERB exam, and nomination interviews within these three upcoming weeks, but my parents won't speak a word regarding any of this. What are my options if they refuse to sign off on it? I'm not 18 yet and I won't be until next fall.
I believe you have to have one parent sign their consent if you will not be 18 on I-Day, unless you are emancipated. And before you consider going down that road, I will just say that having been a military child, spouse, and now mother, it can be a hard life if you don't have the support of your family -- harder than say, if you were a doctor and your parents felt it was the wrong career for you to pursue.

You don't say what your parents' reasons are for objecting -- they could be pacifist, fearful for your safety, anxious thinking about you living a life far from them, etc. I imagine you may have already had several conversations with them about YOUR reasons for pursuing the military. Maybe there is a family member or friend of the family with a military background who could talk to them?
My parents weren't born in the US (my parents came at young age though) so no one in my family has ever served in the US military before. I don't really know anyone with a military background. I appreciate the advice though.
 
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Soldiergriz

Husband, Dad, Soldier
52% of American parents do not support their sons or daughters serving. You are not alone.

My advice - be humble and passionate about your dreams. Stay positive and let them see your passion for service. When they see you succeeding - they may turn the corner.

Best of luck to you.
 

mswmommy

Member
Keep pursuing your dream. If all goes well and you are accepted, maybe your BGO or admissions officer could talk to your parents to answer any questions they have or educate them more about the academy life and options. Maybe your parents could visit USNA with you to see that it's an amazing place and will give you many opportunities. As a parent myself who was initially not on board with my DS pursuing this option, once I learned more about it I realized that my fears were based on lack of knowledge. Now I'm very supportive :). Education and knowledge will be your best tools in persuading your parents eventually. You sound incredibly motivated and organized to be doing this without any family support so far, so don't give up. You could modify that Field of Dreams movie quote "If you build it they will come, " to "If you get accepted they will eventually understand..." - at least that's the hope!
 

rjy84

Member
I've tried explaining to them the great benefits and opportunities and they've done research on academy life as well, but they still say no. I really hope if that if I get a nomination and appointment, they will change their minds. Thanks all for the advice.
 

helmsdown

Member
Do you live anywhere near Annapolis? My wife was not on board until she went on a tour of the USNA. It really changed her mind.

I'm sure you know that once you turn 18 it is no longer up to them. This is a very touchy area and must be approached very carefully but it is true. Good luck.
 

rjy84

Member
Do you live anywhere near Annapolis? My wife was not on board until she went on a tour of the USNA. It really changed her mind.

I'm sure you know that once you turn 18 it is no longer up to them. This is a very touchy area and must be approached very carefully but it is true. Good luck.
I live in California, so unfortunately a tour is not an option.
 

AROTC-dad

Moderator
5-Year Member
You still haven't explained their specific objection over military service. Is it fear of combat, financial issues?

Are they naturalized citizens?

SOMEBODY has to step up and defend that citizenship!
 
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rjy84

Member
You still haven't explained their specific objection over military service. Is it fear if combat, financial issues?

Are they naturalized citizens?

SOMEBODY has to step up and defend that citizenship!
It's a number of reasons....some of my elder family members saw war in Asia (they were conscripted by their respective country), career reasons, and perhaps they don't think I'm suited. My parents would much rather have me go to the same university as my older brother goes to and pursue a engineering or business career. Yes, they are naturalized citizens.
 

BoLwife

5-Year Member
If all else fails, you will always have the option of applying again when you are of legal age to speak for yourself. Right now, probably your best bet is trying to bridge the gap between your parents and yourself with regard to expectations. I counsel lots of college students who are trying to do the same (albeit not with military service) and there is a fine balance trying to respect your parents and living the life you believe you were meant to live. If there is anyone else in your life, and your parents' lives, that they respect, and is willing to help you have this conversation, bring them in.
 
As a parent whose daughter will be doing NROTC, I will say I had some doubts when she was first interested. But as she pursued it, talking to others was a real help to me—and I am proud of her initiative and passion to serve. Good luck to you in pursuing your dream and I encourage you, as others have, to seek out lots of opportunities to tell them you understand and appreciate that their concern comes from love but that you hope they will support you. Best of luck to you.
 
SoCal Parents Club is having a huge Army Navy Game party open to the public (for a fee). If you're in SoCal, see if they'll go with you? Let me know if you do, my son and I would love to meet you and your parents!
 

Snoopy

Member
During Parents Weekend a few years back, I struck up a conversation with parents of a cadet who had completed basic training with my DD. They had done their research and liked that their DD was at one of the top engineering schools in the nation. But what was memorable was when they explained that they had been boat people fleeing SE Asia, and couldn't believe that the US had welcomed them. They were so filled with pride that their daughter had joined with the dream of becoming an US military officer. Good luck to you, don't give up on your dream.
 

peppypea

Member
Mom speaking here:
It was REALLY hard for me to consider encouraging my son to pursue the SA's or ROTC. Between my distrust of old white men who are all to happy to sacrifice our sons and daughters AND experiences my own brothers had being in the Army I was incredibly reticent to accept that my son wanted to actively pursue a career in the military.

We sat down and talked about what's important to him. We talked about the SA's being a different path into the military- the fact that he would come out of school with a world class education AND incredibly strong leadership qualities. He told me how he's always looked up to the men and women before him who gave back to our country and how he admired their dedication and sacrifice.

I'll admit it, I cried about this. I tend to be more pacifistic about the way I have chosen to live my life and raise my children (along with my husband.)

With misgivings, I agreed that he is now a man and making a strong informed decision for himself, his future and our country. This made me proud, a little ember lit in my heart.

Shortly after we started talking about the Academy, we met with an Air Force ALO. His, dedication, passion and understanding of the culture helped me realize that this is an amazing opportunity for my son. That little ember became a small fire.

Finally, in early November 2017 we visited USAFA's campus. Seeing the young people there, hearing from students and graduates, experiencing the settings, I finally realized there was a huge fire in my heart for my son and his plans for the future.

If you can, have your parents meet with your ALO, visit a campus with them, explain to them about the fire in your own heart, maybe give them a little bit of their own ember.

Good luck, kiddo. As a mom, I get it- on both fronts.
 

Old Navy BGO

5-Year Member
I tend to be more pacifistic about the way I have chosen to live my life
One thing to keep in mind, and a talking point for OP -- career military officers are not typically gung ho war hawks -- they have often seen the effects of war and counsel our civilian leadership to avoid armed conflict. However, the Mission of all military services is to be prepared for war, and to defend the country if the need be. A strong military often deters war, so serving may contribute to peace.
 

NovaGrad

Member
I tend to be more pacifistic about the way I have chosen to live my life
One thing to keep in mind, and a talking point for OP -- career military officers are not typically gung ho war hawks -- they have often seen the effects of war and counsel our civilian leadership to avoid armed conflict. However, the Mission of all military services is to be prepared for war, and to defend the country if the need be. A strong military often deters war, so serving may contribute to peace.
A point lost on many who would like to think we are the worlds bullies. Our military branches not only deter conflicts for our country but for allies who would be steamrolled by other world powers if they were not present.
 

DaGrubs

Member
That is a sad statisitic (52%).

As a mom of a son that has always (ever since he was 7) wanted to serve in the military I can say that it is hard to think of not only letting your kids "go", but also possibly them going into a dangerous career. My DS wants to be an officer in the Marines/Infantry so you can imagine my thoughts on that. That being said, I realized a few years ago that I had to support him no matter how scared I was. I thought that he would change his mind, but instead he has become dead set on his dreams/goal. When I talk with him about his goal and why he wants to do this he is VERY passionate about it and I think as parents we want our kids to be passionate about their life and what they want to do in the future, so I support him and will continue to do so. What are your military career goals and have you tried to explain them to your parents? If they see how important this is to you and if you also acknowledge their fears/hesitations about you joining maybe you can meet somewhere in the middle. A service academy or ROTC is a great opportunity for you to see if this is really what you want. I don't believe you have to commit until your Sophomore year (??). If you can convice them to sign the papers for you and let you see how the first year is for you, then maybe it will give them some time to get used to the idea and see how important it is to you. Remember, they are your parents and they love you and don't want anything to happen to you (believe me, it's hard to be a mom and send your child (always will be to me) off to the posiblity of war). Hang in there and good luck!
 
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