As an Army wife and mother to three young boys the prospect of my children one day joining the military obviously makes me proud. It would, however, be a lie to say it doesn’t scare me as well. As someone familiar with the ins and outs of military life I can only imagine for parents of new soldiers who are unfamiliar with the military it can all seem even more daunting.
Here are five things to keep in mind if your child joins the military:
1. Be Proud. Less than 1% of our nation’s citizens currently serve in the military. Be proud that your child is one of the select few that has volunteered to serve our nation.
2. Prepare for Change. The military will test your child both mentally and physically. They will learn, grow, and be challenged. Be prepared that they will mature and become a new version of themselves. Again, be proud of their accomplishments and share in their achievements.
3. Communication. Make it easy for your service member to stay in touch-send phone cards, prepaid cell phones, paper, envelopes, and stamps so they can write or call.
4. Stay Positive. Be their biggest fan. Be aware that communication can be dodgy during certain military schools or training courses they attend. When you are able to talk, let them know you are their #1 fan…support their decisions, let them vent about the challenges, give advice when asked, or just listen. Don’t complain about lack of communication or distance, be a source of positivity in your conversations.
5. Let go. Your child is embarking on a noble profession and must make their way the same as generations before them. Support them but do not interfere in their chain of command over trivial matters (obviously this does not apply in cases where abusive behaviors or suicide are suspected). This is their time to be independent and self-sufficient.
Congratulations on becoming a Blue Star Parent!