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Ask Amy: Parents worry about son’s SEAL plan

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My wife and I have a son who is 22 years old.

He will be graduating from an excellent college with a bachelor’s degree in economics.

He’s a smart and physically fit young man who has great potential.

He plans to join the Navy after he graduates, and his goal is to train to become a Navy SEAL.

He wants to “make a difference” in the world and is very gung-ho with defending/serving the United States.

Although his intentions are admirable, we are aware that becoming a Navy SEAL is extremely difficult and that the process pushes applicants beyond their physical limits.

He is, of course, aware of the rigors of SEAL training and is preparing himself for it.

We are extremely concerned about our son being sent into combat. If he is intent on joining the military, we think that he can better serve his country by going into an area where he can use his brain instead of his physical abilities.

We have talked to him about this, but he won’t really listen to us (because, of course, we are his parents).

How can we make him realize that there are alternatives to serving his country aside from trying to become a Navy SEAL?

– Concerned Parents

Dear Concerned: As an almost-graduate at his excellent college, your son is surrounded by information about his options. Trust in his intelligence, even if you believe that he is naïve. This is his dream, not yours, and he has the right to pursue it.

You should approach this challenge the way he will – by meeting the future in stages.

According to the Navy’s website, training to become a SEAL (Sea, Air, and Land) is extremely rigorous (they describe it as “brutal”) and lasts for over a year after basic training. After completing that phase, SEAL candidates have another 18 months of “pre-deployment” training. (And … to speak to your concern about your son “using his brain,” intelligence and mental toughness – as well as grit – are key components to success.)

The many stages of training will give your son multiple opportunities to rethink his choice and be presented with alternative ways to serve.

Your job as parents is to be honest with him about your reservations, but to also let him know that ultimately, you have his back.

Furthermore, even though you obviously have concerns, expressing pride in his ambition and admirable goals will likely make this process easier for him.

Not standing in your son’s way may also disrupt the particular dynamic where your opposition essentially strengthens his resolve to defy you.

Love and support him fiercely through this important stage of his life.

Dear Amy: I’ve been with my boyfriend for five years. He has been totally estranged from his mother the whole time I’ve known him. I’ve never met her.

 

Well, his mother started messaging with me on Facebook and she really wants to get back into his life. She wants to apologize for the mistakes she has made.

I invited her over to our house without telling my boyfriend. He blew up when he saw her and now says that he wants to break up with me.

I was just trying to help mend his relationship with his mom! What can I do to get him to come back?

– Devastated

Dear Devastated: What you did shows a serious lack of respect for your guy, and for the boundary he has set with his mother.

Even though you say you meant well, doing all of this behind his back was devious – of both of you.

In my far-off view, it seems that you got “played” by his mother. If she wanted to apologize to him, she could have written him a letter.

And now – you owe him an apology, as well as a promise to respect his boundaries with family members.

An apology might not get him to come back to you, but you owe it to him, anyway.

Dear Amy:“Wondering Employee” was uncomfortable when the boss said he had given up his raise so they could have theirs.

This is why companies should have Human Resources policies requiring salary increases be approved in advance within guidelines.

I once worked with someone who told me she wanted to forgo her raise and give it to her staff.

She meant well, but I finally said, “Whether you want a raise or not, you are getting one!” We both had a good laugh.

– The Guy Who Gave Raises

Dear Guy: I love it.

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(You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2023 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


 

 

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