Telling your parents


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Nov 18, 2007
I am the youngest of my family and my parents are very "protective." How did yall tell your parents that you wanted to attend the academy?
I'm the parent but I can give you my input on how I "knew". I saw it in my daughter's face everytime we discussed the top engineering colleges and USNA came up. The more she dragged her feet on on all the other schools the more I realized she was hesitating just coming right out and telling me that THIS is what she wanted. So I brought it up- and we had a long talk about it and I assured her that we were not upset, not disappointed and would be completely supportive. She was afraid to say it- or didn't know how. I think we were more shocked than anything because she hadn't talked to us earlier.

Your parents may be more supportive than you know - give them a chance:wink:

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The best thing is to just sit them down and tell them. Give them your exact reasons for pursuing this path, and make them understand. When I was like 12 I made my mom and dad a "Parent's Guide to the Army". I explained things like rank, salutes, and other goodies I thought were tough to understand. My parents were a little less than thrilled at first, but now that they have a little more information, they're quite excited.
texas_navy2010.....this is a very interesting question you are posing - and even though I'm a parent - let me say that what has surprised me most over the years we have been a part of USNA life is the varying ways families deal with this exact question. There really are families that under no circumstance will they support a child in ANY military career-related decision. There are families that are shocked and hurt by their child's desire- but allow the young person to pursue their own course and as they watch their child grow and mature they come around and support their offspring. There are neutral families that simply don't care...and then it runs the gamut to the hoo-rah parent fanatics who live,breathe, eat, sleep USNA.

So there is no 'one way' to approach this question. IF you have a history of being able to sit down with your parents and discuss things, then I would suggest you plan a time with your parents when you tell them you have something you want to share with them - and once you have their attention....minus the TV, or phone, or siblings around....and share your dreams. Look them in the eye - state your desires as concisely and clearly and unemotionally as you can. Ask them their opinions. Give them some time to digest this. The manner in which you approach your parents - respectfully and tactfully - may be the best thing you have going for you in helping them respond to you openly.

I recall that it was my 12 year old girl, on 9-11-01 who simply announced to me with the greatest of seriousness and solemnity, that she was going to serve her country as a military officer. That epiphany in her heart never waivered. We had 5 long years between Sept. 11,2001 and her I-Day in June '06 - lots of time for her to change her mind or for us as her parents to dissuade her. But the drive inside of her was so clearly self-driven, so cleary HER, that as parents all we could do was stand aside and provide the mental, moral, intellectual, spiritual and parental support we could to allow her to pursue her dream. Even though we are a family with a military background, and even though my husband her father is a USNA grad...I can honestly tell you the LAST thing, the absolute LAST thing that we ever imagined as parents was that our children, especially the last of our 5 children, a girl - would choose USNA. It simply wasn't in our mental framework. And this is from an USNA alum! So even we as parents had some mental adjustments to this announcement from our 'baby girl' when she shared her desire to go military.

I clearly recall a conversation with our family doctor...when our daughter was a high school junior and having a physical in preparation for her application to USNA and he took me aside. This is a dear personal friend we've known for years....have his home families we socialize at each other's homes...that's how close we are - anyway he takes me aside privately and asks, "How can you LET your daughter do this?! I'd be scared sh*tl*ss if my daughter told me she wanted to do what your daughter wants to do." It was an interesting insight into the heart of a father - I replied that since this was 100% HER choice, I simply didn't feel it was my job to prevent her from shooting for this goal - there were still many steps ahead in the process and if she wasn't meant to go USNA, the circumstances would fall in line one way or another.

So this is a long answer, but I share it because I think it might help you see that as parents this IS and CAN BE a difficult thing to hear from your child - and there are no easy ways to approach this if you suspect your parents might have a hard time.

On the other hand - I would encourage you to approach this positively and with some confidence. If you are a young person interested in a Service Academy, you represent the best of our American youth - congratulations young man! So take your great attitude, your heart's dreams, and lovingly expect your mom and dad to end up standing alongside you in this process.

And if they need to connect with a family to answer some of their concerns/questions....give them my and I'd be more than happy to discuss this with them.

God bless you young man! Keep us informed of what's up with you.:thumb:
How did yall tell your parents that you wanted to attend the academy?

"Hey Mom, Dad! I want to go to USNA!"

Think I'm kidding? NOPE!

What you need to think about is not HOW to tell them (after all, that's easy), but what to answer when they ask WHY you want to do this. You should have asked YOURSELF that question, AND ANSWERED IT, before you try to convince anyone else.
well, i have two insights to this, my own and a friends. My dad was the one to suggest to me the CGA, when I was thinking about what branch that I wanted to go into (I was looking into rotc and all with college). It is no surprise to a lot of people that I wanted to go into the military. When my mom heard that my final decision, after 2 years, was the coast guard and the CGA, she didn't worry as much, but still worried. My mom's dad was in the army during ww2, and navy during Korea. My dad's dad was in during ww2 in the navy(i think), this helps a bit. Overall, my dad was fine with it, as long as i fully understood my decision, the results, and how life would be like(i accpted and understood). My mom is nervous and worried, she still sees me as her little one. I don't think I would have any difficulty in going/departing from home in a military academy(3 brothers and 2 sisters while sharing a room your entire life with a brother kindof makes you thankful for any college, I'm sure they agree:smile: )

The other story now is of my friend Neil who is going to the citadel for the class of 2012(was aiming for 2011, let me explain). He didn't really have good family relations, so there was lots of friction between him and his mom. She was "stealing"(i place it in quotes because under Delawares minor laws regarding financial assests and parents this was legal) money from his lawn care business. She also sent a 3 page letter to the citadel how he is nothing and never will be.. yada yada yada.. so he, in his anger, punched a wall, went through, and made contact with a metal support. Broke his hand and had to wait a year before he could go in. So in the meanwhile, he moved out at age 18, got an apartment, sold his lawn care business for 15 K(it was a real business) and works there now as a head manager instead of owner until he goes.

Basicly, it depends on your relation with your parents and your family's history(military etc.). Hopefully, they will sit down and talk and make sure that this is what you want. I was for the army, but got interested way more into the coast guard(backup is air force rotc(interview tuesday wish me luck)). So, I'm happy I talked to my dad etc(I mainly discussed this only with him, my mom is a bunch of nerves). I guess it went from wanting to go to the military, to rotc options, to mechanical eng. and finding out that there is a coast guard academy and they specialize in mech. eng. This slow process allowed my parents to accept it
I had already sent in my nomination applications and I was sitting on it for a couple days. My mom is the guardian of all things concerning us, so it was her I had to tell. And she is the only person in the world that I am deathly afraid of (something I'm sure my cadre will be happy to change for me) so it took me a while to come around, but I ended up just blurting it out on the way to school. She was stunned, but she let me take care of it.

It was the second time that she told me that she didn't want me to. She didn't understand. We were on odds for a while, but she's come around. She's still afraid, I'm her kid, no surprise, but she also knows that in the end I'm going to be standing on my two feet and there's not much she can say to change that.

Surprisingly, my father is probably the most gung-ho I've ever seen him. My mother has no idea why. I appreciate it -- even though it means he calls me at school once a week to tell me he's proud of me.

In the end, I love my parents... They love me.
"Hey Mom, I want to go to USNA!"
"Are you sure about that?"
"Well... you better start keeping your room clean then."


"Hey Mom, I want to choose Marine Option!"
"WHAT?! YOU CAN'T BE A MARINE." :eek::unhappy:

-insert long argument-

"Well, I support you no matter what you choose to be in life." :thumb:
Imagine being a 15 year old girl telling your parents you want to go to USNA with Marine Corps option and becoming an explosive ordinance disposal technician! Well needless to say they were against it. However I let the subject rest and what I did is started preparing physically and mentally. I gained discipline. I started listening better and doing what they asked of me. I started being responsible and ultimately they saw that if I was willing to change my mindset and lifestyle to follow my dream than they could support me.
I am also a 'rent. The boy (as I call him, but I have two of those, this one being my oldest) came up to me when he was all of 13 stating, "I think I want to go to the academy for college." Now, living on an air force base, this is synonymous with USAFA. Thinking my child was just parroting what his friend was saying (his friend's sister had just been accepted to USAFA, his brother was next to USMA and this friend of his eventually wound up at USAFA, their dad being a USAFA grad himself), I wanted to pat him on his head and say, "That's nice dear." However, on the off chance he may be serious I told him to look at ALL of the academies and look at some civvie schools, in addition.

A year and a half go by and he wants to go to "Academy Night." I take him, he talks to all of them, then tells me "Mom, I want to go to the Naval Academy." From that point on, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING was geared towards USNA.

The only weirdness was when he received his appointment(s), one to USNA and the other to USAFA. All of my husbands AF cronies were "Why Navy?" Husband's reply was, "Why not? It is/was our son's choice."

Thus, the boy went to USNA and is happily finishing his plebe year.
My son told me that he wanted to join the Navy. I am retired from the Navy and he asked my opinion. I told him that he needs to go to to college first and go in as an officer (I was enlisted). He thought about what I had said, two weeks later he told me that he was applying to the Naval Academy. I told him that he has worked hard and that his mother and I support whatever path he may choose. End of conversation.

25 more days until "Plebe No More."
Plebe Summer starts July 2.

The comment above references the END of this year's school year.
Yes, I realize.

Back to the main gyst of the thread, my husband (the now-retired military member) was very quiet throughout the entire process. He REALLY wanted it to be our son's decision.
Correct, I was just flipping though the recent posts and at first thought this was the one about "I-day approaching fast". Then I reworded my reply after noticing it wasn't !!!! :)
"Hey Mom, I want to go to USNA!"
"Are you sure about that?"
"Well... you better start keeping your room clean then."


"Hey Mom, I want to choose Marine Option!"
"WHAT?! YOU CAN'T BE A MARINE." :eek::unhappy:

-insert long argument-

"Well, I support you no matter what you choose to be in life." :thumb:

Haha, so true. My parents took me on a tour of West Point at the end of 7th grade, so wanting to go to an academy didn't include any long discussions. Of course, my mom hasn't been to happy when I've mentioned the marine option or special warfare, but she realizes that it is my choice.
[...] my husband (the now-retired military member) was very quiet throughout the entire process. He REALLY wanted it to be our son's decision.

That's one of the reasons I held of telling my parents I was applying for a little bit; I didn't want anyone to sway my opinion. My mom prodded me on it a little through the application process after she found out (Are you suuuuuuure? every once in a while), but my dad was completely silent on the matter.
everytime it comes up, my mother shoots me a disapproving look and informs me that "it's just suuuuuch a big commitment." -measured response- "but it's a really big you realize that?"

as if I'd be bothering if I were trying to avoid commitment.

I think my mom was upset I got into NASS- thinks it's like brainwashing camp or whatever. (Don't get me wrong, she has nothing against the long as I'm not in it.) ;)

good luck to the original poster and everyone else who has to convince more than just an admissions panel.
My parents are both ex-military, but not American. I brought it up when I first went to a college night at my school. The WP guy really impressed me and I couldn't stop talking about him and WP for days. At first my parents seriously made fun of me and they didn't think I was serious, but when I started to list the benefits and reasons of why I wanted to go they saw I was serious and stopped.

My parents support me with my decision to go Navy, although they are not 100% happy. (Dad wants me to go to a better civilian college and mom doesn't like the fact that I will be in uniform 24/7). Overall what you should do is remind your parents that its your choice and that you are the one going to college. Make sure you have reasons as to why you want to go. And make sure you parents see that you are serious, I think that's the most important thing about it.
Here's what sort of worked on me:

*Bring up the Service Academy topic early in your college investigation.
*Prepare your reasoning (you'll need the prep for your BGO and MOC interviews, and your essays).
*Don't fight about it.
*Keep plowing ahead toward your goal.
*Give your parents plenty of time, room, and patience.

By the time my son finally got to the point that he was waiting to hear from USNA, his anxiety/enthusiasm was contagious.

He's finishing plebe year now, and let's just say I'm proud and ... resigned. "Kinder, gentler" works better on most of us than "shock and awe."