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My 17 year old son wants to join the Army!!!

(83 Posts)
sunflowerja Thu 15-Jul-10 19:42:20

My son wants to join the army, I'm worried sick.
I've tried for 3 years to try and put him off but I've had to accept that this is what he wants to do.

we have taken him to the recruitment office to start the process off.

Are there any other mums/parents out there who are in the same position as us.

I watch the news and see the fallen soldiers come home in boxes!!! its heartbreaking.

Macforme Thu 15-Jul-10 22:01:10

Not my son, but my DH was in the forces for 22 years and went everywhere, and you do, believe it or not, learn to just put the worst scenarios to the back of your mind. It's hard but the vast majority do come back ok, and it IS a fantastic career..and one to be very proud of your son.

Assuming he does join up, try not to show your fears and just let him know how proud you are of a young man who wants to serve. I'm no big fan of warfare but I did accept that my dh had chosen to serve, and that he needed my support, and that he also needed to be free of feeling guilty about MY worry, if that makes sense. If you can somehow do that, and focus on the good things.. he will have a career, a decent income, he will become a man amongst men...

I'd actually be very pleased (but worried of course) if my own DS1 considered a forces career but he's not remotely interested.

Be strong

southeastastra Thu 15-Jul-10 22:01:50

don't let him

Meow75 Thu 15-Jul-10 22:03:52

I agree with Macforme. My DH is still in the forces - RAF. They go away a lot less, and don't tend to see so much front line action (i.e. being shot at)

Has he looked at the other services? You can still be a "soldier" in the RAF - it's called RAF Regiment.


Meow75 Thu 15-Jul-10 22:05:35

southeastastra - the OP's son will legally be an adult in less than 12 months. Surely she's better off supporting him than ostracising him by "not letting him" do something that's perfectly within the law for a young man of his age - and, yes, I think it's admirable too.

southeastastra Thu 15-Jul-10 22:07:40

i don't sorry and i have a nearly 17 year old.

they are sent out to afghanistan unprepared, too young and are fighting for something that they probably don't understand. i would not let my son join up at that age.

it's admirable sure but misguided

let him join the police instead

pebblejones Thu 15-Jul-10 22:10:33

You should be very proud of him and very proud of yourself for supporting him.

Meow75 Thu 15-Jul-10 22:14:26

But, S E Astra, how would you propose to stop him once he's 18 anyway, so why sour a, by the sounds of it, healthy Mother/Son relationship?

The key is to choose the branch/regiment wisely if his heart is set on it.

MrsTicklemouse Thu 15-Jul-10 22:17:29

I don't know if this will help or not but DH wanted to join the RAF when he left school, Mummy wouldn't let him, 10 years later he joined the Royal Engineers (Army)

If you don't let him now (not that I'm saying that's what you will do) it won't stop him in later life!

If it makes it easier to think about there is a considerably higher number of people killed in road accidents etc in this country every year than have died in Afghan so far.

What is he thinking of joining as?

Of course forces life has it's downside but very few jobs will make you as proud!

southeastastra Thu 15-Jul-10 22:17:31

but not in this climate, kids are dying weekly, kids not real men over 21. it's unforgiveable

phatcat Thu 15-Jul-10 22:20:57

I dread this too. There was an Ian Hislop series a couple of years ago that really nailed the canon fodder theme. I always thought that would be a good one to wheel out if it comes to it.

Meow75 Fri 16-Jul-10 07:11:28

But that's why, if they are set on it, you use any influence that you MIGHT have with them to steer them away from Infantry/cannon fodder type roles.

Remember, the Army send their least experienced, lowest ranked, lowest paid troops to the front line, the RAF send some of the higher ranked, better paid, protected by an aircraft troops to provide those squaddies with back-up.

megsophandemma Fri 16-Jul-10 07:16:33

I joined the army at 17 and remained serving for just over five years. They were the best years of my life so far. Always a roof over your head (unless on excersise) food in your belly, life long friendships were formed and career security. I tried to join back up a few years ago, but due to forming PND after having DD1 they said no.

megsophandemma Fri 16-Jul-10 07:19:29

There are plenty of trades within the army. He wouldn't go to the front line if he decided to become a clark, Port Op etc... By taking on a trade rather than joining infantry he would also have greater opportunities should he leave at any point.

slightlycrumpled Fri 16-Jul-10 07:30:59

It is a real worry. My 19 year old stepson has just signed up and will be going soon. After years of trying to dissuade him my dh and his exw have no choice but to send him off with their blessing really.

He is a lovely young man and I'm sure that if he stays safe he will have a fabulous career. The other just doesn't bare thinking about.

mumblechum Fri 16-Jul-10 07:56:40

I'm in the same boat. DS is nearly 16 and wants to join the army, but as a doctor.

As long as he gets into med school I'm not too worried, as
a) hopefully Afghanistan will be over by the time he's recruited (in 3rd yr of med school)

b) hopefully he won't me too much in the front line

BUT if he doesn't get a place in med school he wants to go straight to Sandhurst, so potentially could be serving as an officer at 20 sad.

I think as parents we have to try to make them see the cons as well as the pros, but ultimately they will soon be young MEN and if that is what they really want to do and we try to stop them, they'll do it anyway but be left feeling resentful that we didn't support them.

MrsTicklemouse Fri 16-Jul-10 16:29:17

As I said before DH is Engineers, which is a great route to go down as they are trained in a trade as well so have something to be if they leave (DH was already over qualified when he joined so got a lovely not so little bonus!!) and like megsophandemma there is a lot more to the army than the infantry

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 16-Jul-10 16:35:23

Encourage him to join the RAF Reg.

My dd is only 14 but she is determined to join the RAF at 18 (is in air cadets, is obsessed with it all).

i have no experience of forces life at all, and was very apprehensive about encouraing/supporting it (and for a while regretted her joining the cadets if I am honest) but the worst thing to do is to put your foot down.

I have spoken to loads of people about it, and everyone in teh know says the RAF is y far the best out of the lot, in that tehy look after their recruits a lot better.

Greensleeves Fri 16-Jul-10 16:36:47

sorry but if one of my two wanted to join the forces I would be devastated

I would do anything in my power to persuade him out of it

noddyholder Fri 16-Jul-10 16:38:42

Agree with SEA and greensleeves.Admirable but misguided is right

inthesticks Fri 16-Jul-10 21:39:36

What Greensleeves said.
I once expressed a mild anxiety about my boys joining the forces and the response on MN was a bit overwhelming.
There are many forces wives and mothers on here.

scaryteacher Sat 17-Jul-10 17:31:14

Sisters too ITS - I am a Forces daughter, wife and sister.

My dh joined the RN when he was 18, did his degree and then became a submariner. He has had a fantastic career, well paid, never bored, learning new skills, got his MA as well, his Off shore Yachtmaster and his gliding instructor quals and has done a spectrum of jobs from Weapon Engineering to teaching to now international/diplomatic. retirement is looming in 3.5 years, and he doesn't want it to end.

My 42 yo db has just come back from 6 months in Afhnaistan (he does logistics) and he also loves his career. You have to choose which service, but the RN has been great for my FDad, my dh and my db. You get such a variety of things to do, and no job is much longer than 2.5-3 years, so you never really get bored.

The pay is good, the pension is too, and the Forces are a great career.

Zoezeebo Sun 26-Jan-14 18:13:33

Both my ds and dd are in the army, if you put them off they will just do it more, I do miss them, but they represent our country and you need to respect their choices not yours, they are not babies, once he's 18 he can do whatever he wants.

scaevola Sun 26-Jan-14 18:15:33

He'll have turned 18 a couple of years ago - this is an old thread.

OP: if you are still here, what did he choose, and how did it turn out?

FifiLeBoo Sun 26-Jan-14 18:31:37

My son told us at the age of 8 that he wanted to join the forces. It was a dream that never wavered. At the age of 15years and 9 months old we took him to the careers office to sign up. I personally have signed all of his consent papers, I'm sure someone will be along to flame me for that.

As it happened he didn't begin his basic training until he was actually 18 and he is doing that now. I'm actually immensely proud of him.

Yes I will worry, but firstly no more soldiers are being sent out to Afghanistan but there will of course be other wars. My son does fully understand what he has signed up for and the amy makes sure that all recruits are fully aware of what they are in for. Anyone not taking it seriously or not up to the job is not allowed to continue training.

For me it was a simple choice, I could sign his papers, support him with everything I have and hide my fears as best I can and know that he will come home to me on leave and keep in close contact with me. Or I could try to stop him, only to have him do it anyway when he came of age and risk that he would resent me and drift away. A no brainer really.

OP support your son, trust that the army will look after him to the ver best of their ability but also trust that he will look after himself to the best of his ability

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