How to Deal With a Teen Who Wants to Join the Military
The decision by your son or daughter to join the military, can be a shock to you as a parent, or you will feel a sense of pride that your child was mature enough to already think about military service. Military service could be what some teens need, to gain a sense of discipline, pride and some direction in their lives. Are there things better than the military? Of course, there are plenty of options, but you need to find out why your teen chose this one. When your child comes to you stating their intentions, the one this you don’t want to do it panic and then forbid them. How do you manager it? What do you do or say?
If you have never served in the military, this could be a losing battle for you. But why should it be a battle? In many situations, your teen will know more about the military than you (because you never served). Where do you start? Do exactly what you teen did when they sought a recruiter to talk to; ask him/her questions? When you ask them questions, you will get a sense of what they know or what they think they know. This is where you can ask specific questions with them, to the recruiter. Every good recruiter will show you a proof source. What do I average? If the recruiter says, your teen can get a college education, the recruiter can show you programs and brochures of the facts.
Without nagging ( because you will excursion a wedge between you and your teen) and without being overly protective (because they will not tell you anything they feel you might overreact to), ask them are they sure? Then follow-up with another question, ask them why the military or why this branch? observe and pay close attention to the answers your teen gives you and their body language, you will learn a great deal. Are they confident in there answers? If you’re getting a bunch of “I don’t knows”, you need to get your teen in front of the recruiter with those same questions. When you are there with your teen in front of the recruiter, don’t embarrass them and don’t rule the conversation.
Ask questions until you are satisfied with the answers, don’t cross examine the recruiter. A teen who is serious about the military, will demonstrated it with their behavior. They will do whats needed to get themselves ready for the change to military life. When my son decided on joining the military, I asked him questions and I shared my military experience. I shared the good, the bad and the sad. I’ve been out of the military for more than 10 years, I have always managed to meet people, professionals and colleges grads, who wished they would have served when they had the opportunity.
Listening to your teen and asking questions will help you and the teen in finalizing their decisions and feeling confident and good about the choices made. I am proud that my son wanted to serve. He did his research, he asked the hard questions and he made up his mind.