Officer Regular - Parents

I have a couple of questions to ask, the first and most important of which involve parents. I apologise in advance for spelling mistakes and the like, it's taken a bit of Dutch courage to sign up and ask, haha. I actually signed up before but didn't post because I was anxious, my username was Daniel. As you can see, I'm a creative person. Ha. Anyway, I just registered after half a bottle of Grant's. I'm 17 years old and want to join the Army, but my single (recently) mother tells me that she'll disown me if I do. I want to join as an officer, and I've read enough arrsepedia to realise that the squaddies will look down on me. (I actually want to be a squaddie, but this applies to my second question, which I'll post shortly in the appropriate forum) I'd appreciate it if you, the general ARRSE community, could give me a few arguments to persuade my mother that the Army is a decent profession, which is less dangerous than she thinks.

She's a welfare benefits adviser (which means she's smart), but doesn't work for a CAB, but she came from a working class background, if that helps. (Her dad was a taxi driver, her mum was a stay-at-home-Irish ((That makes me 1/4th Irish)) if that helps. Also, she works side by side with Guardian reading solicitors who influence her opinion. Yeah.) (Oh, addendum, I wanted to join as a bootie, but I doubt I'd make the PJFT right now, so it is Army only. She thinks the Army is for failures and suicidals.)

Anyway, tl;dr I'm asking for things to say to my parents as to why I want to join the Army. Help is greatly appreciated, even though I have a good few years (degree) before I join.
Stop underage drinking.

msr said:
Stop underage drinking.

Technically drinking is legal at 14 years of age if in the presence of legal guardians. Also, off topic. Also also, lol, highly regarded forum member takes the piss, so immediately my thread goes to shit. Thanks.
Welcome to the site, don't mind these old crones. They're only bitter about underage drinking cause they all got their tastebuds shot off in the war...

But seriously welcome, you're not alone in being young, wanting to join and having disapproving parents. For mine, so far I've been going with a softly softly approach- they're already well aware I'm interested in the army as a career (leaving recruiting gumph lying around etc), and I plan to do 4 years of OTC at uni (I start next september). Hopefully a gentle acclimatisation to the idea will reduce parental anxiety, should I ever get as far as signing bits of paper and getting shot at.

But telling them why you want to join the army? I'd try and answer that question primarily for you, rather than them. I'd imagine the nice recruiter man might ask at some point.

And I don't have the answers because to be honest, I'm not sure myself. I figure that I'll have worked it out by the time I need to.
I decided to join when I was 17 as well, and distinctly remember being driven through the Lake District by my father and him telling me that the Army would never let me join because I had Irish (step-)relatives and that this would ruin my chances of a security clearance. Now they happen to come from what, based on your post, I believe you would consider a more stereotypical officer's background, but my parents would still have said pretty much anything to keep me a civvie. I politely told my parents to fcuk off. I was never a rebel, but even without all the information available on the internet, I knew that I had to live my life my way, and not for parental approval. They get used to it quickly.

It's selfish of any parent to withhold support when their child pursues a dream career that's readily achievable (if you wanted to be a pop star, that would be another matter).

I'd appreciate it if you, the general ARRSE community, could give me a few arguments to persuade my mother that the Army is a decent profession, which is less dangerous than she thinks.
If you can't think of sufficient arguments why the Army is a decent profession, then you should probably take a hard look at your own opinions of the Army. As for the Army being less dangerous, no it's not. You can lie to her and say it's all daisies, but you'll both know that's a load of rubbish. The Army is dangerous. If you can't accept that, don't join. If your mum can't accept that, there are two options, either a) tough shit, or b) she supports you because you are, indeed, doing something honourable, and she should bloody well treat her son with enough respect to honour his life decisions.

If you're worried about her health vis-a-vis the stress of you joining, stand up for yourself. Afghanistan is a sticky place. Amongst a few silly things, at one point a small convoy I was on got hit by 4 IEDs in 24 hrs. Not a big bother compared to what's possible - I wasn't even hurt - but a few days after I emailed my father with the carefully-opsec-redacted update (he'd been quite keen on news, in a positive way), he collapsed with stroke-like symptoms and my parents blamed me. My response: "I love you. Get better. But don't be a twat and blame me for your problems". That ended that line of discussion, and we're still getting along fine. If your mum is prone to somatising her anxieties, then I suggest you get her to go to therapy down the line but, again, don't let her problems hold you hostage. Man up, etc.

After I got married and moved to the US, my wife was extremely disapproving of me joining the US Marines, because a previous long-term relationship ended after that boyfriend joined the Corps and became a macho twat. I joined anyway, and we're still together, she's proud of me, etc. The bottom line is that people will worry, and your job is to show some balls and do what feels right. There's a clear way how these things are supposed to work: "you do the job that makes you happy, I'll do the job that makes me happy, and if we respect each other enough, our relationship [whether familial or coital] will build itself on a strong foundation".

I tell you though, I've heard the "my mother would disown me" excuse over and over in subsequent years, including from people who should know better, like fitness-crazed private bankers with a macho streak greater than a para's. Don't become one of those people. All of us who stood our ground accumulate more memories every year than most people do in a lifetime. You don't want to live your life wishing you'd done better things, like Prince Edward.
Why stop at half a bottle of Grants? Next time finish that bad boy off and then come and get some.

My view is that starting a career doing something you want to do regardless of what your mum thinks is far less dangerous than doing something as a 'career' just to make her happy.
She won't disown you, and if you pass all the selection, like all parents she will fully back you through all pursuits in life.
DanielM said:
msr said:
Stop underage drinking.

Technically drinking is legal at 14 years of age if in the presence of legal guardians. Also, off topic. Also also, lol, highly regarded forum member takes the piss, so immediately my thread goes to s***. Thanks.
Hmm thought it was age 5.
Hello Daniel, This is Old Rat.

She's your mother, so her natural concern is multiplied every time she sees the TV news. Her threat of "disowning" as the ultimate sanction bespeaks a strong family bond, which makes you luckier than many. Remain firm in your decision, if that's what it is, but give her time to adjust to the idea, just don't continually press it until it becomes a source of friction. At age 17 there's a long haul before you even get near the gate. What to tell Mum? Try "in any career I'll work with colleagues, in the Army I'll have the very best of friends in every respect. Of those friends, if they're representative of the Army, a significant proportion will probably have some degree of Irishness in their background, from either side of "The Pale" and they'll be the better for it. And be certain that, on the day you Pass Out, however you enter, she'll be there in a posh frock and tears of pride.

Good Luck
Old Rat
You need to grow up, as does your mother. Ask us again in four years.
She won't disown you. But that's the least of your worries. At the AOSB you will be grilled on some hard questions, including "why do you want to join the army?". You should use your mothers pesimism to discover the answer to this questions, once you've convinced her, you should be able to stand up and answer at the AOSB.

I won't pretend to be all high and mighty, I'm 24 and my mother was the same, including lines such as "Well if you think you've accomplished everything you want to at 24, fine go to Iraq and get blown up". She didn't appreciate it when I said that we were at war in Afghanistan and Iraq was over. But she will always support me through everything, because that's what mothers do.
You don't come across as a normal 17 year old, i'd guess that this was maybe abit of a piss take or you are yourself unsure what you really want to do.

I'll answer asif i was 100% sure it was for real. No ones mother is happy that they are joining the forces while they are active in what is essentially a war zone, so don't let this come as a surprise. As it is atleast another 4 years before you get the ball moving you'll not be in a position to serve for another 5-6 with the current recruiment times and then the year or so officer training, by which stage the Afghan conflict may well have begun to calm down or be completely over (unlikely but not impossible)

The main thing that you have to worry about is making sure that you actually want to join, four years of Army life can be a long time if its not what you really want.

You are in luck as you have ten years to make your mind up before you miss the officer boat so take the time to read up about it, go on fam visits etc and make sure it is for you. Take your mother down to talk to the ACA and let them show her how the Army will provide you with one of the best careers anyone in the world could ask for.

In the end if you really want it no one will stand in your way not even your mother!

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