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Dear Dish-It: I Want to Join the Military

Dear Dish-It,


I have been thinking. My brother is in AFJROTC, and I think I might want to join the military. I have also been thinking about being a cop when I grow up, but when I told my mom that she said that she didn't want me to be a cop and that I was too young to be thinking about jobs. I'm 12 years old! And based on the reaction to wanting to be a cop ... I'm afraid of how she would react to me maybe wanting to join the military. What do I do?


Afraid


Dear Afraid,


The good news, you ARE still young. While thinking about what you want to be when you grow up is totally fine, no matter what age you are, the fact that you're 12 means you still have plenty of time to make sure joining the army - or becoming a cop - is really the right choice for you. It also means there's lots of time to talk to your mom about your goals and dreams and, hopefully, gain her support.


In a few years, when you're old enough to really make your final decision, you'll have to to be ready with facts, reason and logic when it comes to letting your family know about it. You also need to be prepared to defend it, especially when you tell your mom. Here are some tips on how you might do that.


Be Calm

You need to be calm when you approach your mom to talk about your future with the army. Choose a time for the conversation when both of you are relaxed and in the mood to talk. Have your reasons ready and be prepared to explain them. Listen to what her concerns are and try to anticipate what they will be so that you have an answer ready.


Present the Facts

At this point you will have done your homework about the army. Whether it's from talking with an army recruiter or active military personnel, visiting the official army website or a combination of those sources, you know why you want to go. So confidently and carefully use the facts to explains the benefits of your joining the military. Some areas to mention might include discipline, training and education benefits. Discuss with your mom the specific job you plan to seek, the training it will require and probable duty stations.


Let the News Settle In

Remember that you have made the decision to join the army over a period of time. For your mom this is all new information and she was probably not expecting it. The conversation that you plan to have is most likely the first in a long series of similar discussions. Your mom may need some time to get used to the idea, think about the information that you have presented and decide how she feels about it.


Also, be ready to answer more questions. After the news has had time to sink in and your mom has thought about it more she is probably going to have some additional questions for you.


The Recruiter

One of your strongest allies for these talks will be the recruiter. The recruiter has a great deal of experience discussing the benefits of military service with the parents of the prospective recruits. Invite the recruiter to visit your mom or take her on a visit to the recruiting station. Army recruiters have been in the service for several years and are able to not only answer questions but they also lend an air of authority to the discussion. They will explain in civilian terms what your mom needs to know about your training, education and what to expect from your enlistment. The leadership skills and discipline that recruiter learned in the military will be clear to your mom and she will be able to see the type of person you are striving to become.


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