Can a difficult child join the military?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I posted this on the WC, too. Can someone with physical and mental health issues find a place in the military? Here's what I posted:

    Does anyone here have experience with someone who had physical and mental health issues signing up for service in the military? Do they take people like that?

    I'm trying to think of all the different options open to difficult child 1 because he is starting to fall apart again at school -- even the military is starting to look good to me now. But he's got asthma, Crohn's disease, IBS and allergies. Plus he has a lot of anxiety issues and probably is headed towards cyclothymia like his dad. He gets overwhelmed with too many things thrown at him at once, but is very good at focusing and doing a good job on one thing at a time. Right now though, he is feeling overwhelmed by school and the internal panic seems to be pushing him towards depression.

    I'm thinking the military would give him the structure he needs and maybe help him find his passion, but not sure if his health issues would preclude him from being accepted.
  2. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    He would have a difficult time getting into the military. I thought about that with mine. I asked and was told that if they have a diagnosed mental illness, to forget about it. Who knows things change.
  3. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    allergies won't keep him out (mine is allergic to penicillin, milk, trees, mold, weeds and dust). The asthma may, however. And I would also think the Crohn's may.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I think the Crohn's, the anxiety and IBS each individually would keep him out of the military. Put them all together and it's a nasty combination that the army would not want.

    Mind you, diagnosed mental illness can still slip through into the military - difficult child 1 had a classmate, part of the dysfunctional gang the school accidentally formed around difficult child 1, who was one of his friends I banned from our house for a while. The guy was verbally abusive, socially inappropriate, potentially violent and had a diagnosis of ADHD but I think a lot more was going on. The teachers were scared of this guy. All of difficult child 1's gang hated the school and many of the staff; with good reason, I might add.
    difficult child 1 got on best with most of the teachers. A few years after he finished at that school, he met with one of his teachers at the shops near the school (a street fair we were working as carnies). difficult child 1 took great delight in telling the teacher, "Hey, remember [Joe Blow]? He went off his medications, joined the army and they gave him a gun and taught him how to kill. Isn't that great?"

    "Joe Blow" was later on invalided out of the Aussie army. They did their best with him, they really did. They never deployed him offshore, he never left the mainland. He ended up as a driver, then behind a desk, but he just could not do either job to their satisfaction. Having been a passenger in his car (once too often - ie once) I can understand why they canned him as a driver. I believe he's back on medications and drifting, on a disability pension. The army really did the best they could for him, but had to admit defeat. And the Aussie defence forces are very different to the US. Perhaps because we have a smaller population, we try to find the right niche for the range of individuals who enlist.

    You could try talking to the recruitment people for your defence forces, but I think you'll have to look elsewhere.

  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I don't think that is a viable option for your difficult child. If you were residents of Israel it would be doable. I know they make great accomodations for those with disabilities since service is mandatory. Have you hooked up with Voc/Rehab yet? Some areas are more effective than others in helping clients but they do have programs and options that are worth checking out. Hugs DDD
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thanks everyone for the feedback. That's pretty much what I though.

    DDD, I'll check into the Voc/Rehab in our area and see what comes up.

    In the mean time, I think it's time to go back to see his therapist for a bit.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

  8. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    Having been in the [Australian] army I know why the military have health checks on the people they enlist. Marg mentioned Joe Blow the friend of of difficult child 1 who joined up.

    There are a HUGE range of jobs in the military and not all of them front line that can accommodate the otherwise unfit but you do need to be able to hack and produce the goods. Whatever those goods are.

    Many of our kids with their splinter skills in computers and games will be brilliant in the modern forces but I sure as heck wouldn't want be on point during a night patrol with a bloke behind who might get 'twitchy' because I was in front of him at the mess line that morning or who is likely to go 'down' with an attack of severe allergic reaction to those bushes we just had hide under from the enemy. Army food (while on patrol, camp food is usually good) will kill a someone with IBS faster than a bullet and far more unpleasantly.

    The mental issues MAY be a problem depending in his expectations and what the recruiting officers have told him. If they're doing their jobs right they will tell him right off what he not suitable for. He should not go in expecting to join the SAS/Special Forces if he's not disgustingly fit but if he just wants to push papers in the battalion HQ or work a radio spotter's station then he may have a chance.

    The military is very different from civilian life but it CAN be a fit. The very regimentation that drives so many 'spare' can be very reassuring to some types of mind. There are two sides that need to be considered, the mental and the physical. I'm very much afraid that your son will strike out on the physical side - he has just too many problems.