Having a child in America’s Navy isn’t without its challenges. If this is your child’s first time away from home it can be tough on him or her – and on you. Luckily you’re not the first parent to weigh the risk and to walk this road – in fact, you can learn a lot from those who have at sources like NavyForMoms.com.
NavyForMoms.com is a great place to go to learn from other parents. You may want to get started in the Forums section, and especially check out the Misperceptions About Navy Life discussion or some of the Boot Camp discussions. The site is sponsored by America’s Navy, but parents are free to express their opinions and share their stories. It’s truly a site for them to share with others in the same situation.
Coping at Home
Your child enlisted, and now he or she is at Boot Camp. Everything seems unfamiliar. It may help to arm yourself with information, support, friendship and advice from other Navy parents.
Again, NavyForMoms.com is a great resource for you.
The US Navy Life page is yet another place to view discussions and connect with others who’ve been where you are and felt what you may be feeling. There are even specific fan pages for specific communities in the Navy that you can find here and join.
Staying in Touch
With the exception of the eight short weeks spent in Boot Camp (if an Enlisted Sailor), your child will typically be just a phone call – or text message, email or instant message – away while serving in the Navy. Sailors have access to many forms of communication most of the time. These services are offered anywhere your son or daughter might be stationed (even while underway at sea).
And it’s not just a one-way street. Sailors look forward to hearing from home, so be sure to keep in touch with them. And here’s a parent-tested tip: Make it easy on them by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope along with a few sheets of stationery. You’ll be amazed at the results.
And don’t worry about your son or daughter getting home for visits. Sailors are eligible to fly on a space-available basis on many United States military flights — free — whether it’s to take a vacation abroad or to come home. If there’s a flight going where they want to go and there’s room aboard, they’re welcome to fly.
Feeling the Pride
Approving of your son or daughter’s decision to serve in the Navy. Using the resources of support around you. Negotiating the logistics of seeing and hearing from your child. The process is different for everyone.
But there is something that is inevitably shared by parents everywhere. It’s the pride of seeing what young people can become and be part of as members of America’s Navy.