G.I. difficult child?


New Member
difficult child has decided he wants to join the army. He has a friend who joined a year ago; the friend is trying to talk him out of joining. I told difficult child that should be a clue to him to maybe give this some serious thought. He says he has given it a lot of thought. He also says his friend's view of the army is due to his own stupidity. He has gotten into trouble three different times since he enlisted, has been demoted twice, and is only getting 1/2 pay; if it weren't for that, he says his friend would probably like the military a whole lot better (okay, maybe we're seeing a tiny bit of maturity, since he realizes his friend's plight is his own fault and not the army's).

The recruiter knows about difficult child's issues, and is dealing with them and not trying to sweep them under the rug, which I appreciate. difficult child has to get a statement from his therapist, from husband and me, and has to write one himself regarding the details of his treatment and how things are now. The thing is, things seem to be going well right now, but he has a goal and wants very much to achieve it (joining the army). He goes like gangbusters when he decides he wants to do something. It started out the same way when he wanted to go to technical school. Then it got hard, and he gave up. If he joins the army, that won't be possible.

He says he's bored and there's nothing here for him (that much is true, but he sleeps all day, so no, there isn't much to do when you're only awake from dusk to dawn). He says he can't find a job (he has put in some applications, but no one is calling, or if they do, they don't call him a second time), and he still wants to go to college. He also wants out of this state, and he says the army will get him all of that. He says he realizes things will be hard-they told him the first three weeks of boot camp will be horrible. He also said the recruiter told him he'll get out of the army what he puts into it; he agrees with that statement.

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say, and I'm rambling now. This has been extremely difficult for me since he told me he talked to a recruiter. I would be afraid for him to go overseas, of course, but even if he stays here, there's no guarantee he would stay safe. And I realize some of what he's feeling is normal teen restlessness. He's saying all the right things, but I'm still very worried this could end badly.


Going Green
Well, I guess it's good that he's showing initiative?? But, in reality, would the Army take him with a diagnosis of BiPolar even if he's not on medications?


New Member
Yes, it's encouraging that he's showing some initiative, but that's part of what worries me. I think he has a romanticized view of what this will be like. As far as his diagnosis, he says the recruiter told him he has to have been off medication for a certain length of time, but the recruiter didn't know how long-he was going to check. He also said the recruiter told him if he's serious about this (and he says he is), they'll work with him to get him in.


Active Member
My brother is in the army. What the recruiters say and what actually happens are two different things. I wouldn't trust a recruiter. And a bipolar unmedicated difficult child with a gun is scary sounding to me. I'm dreading my brother coming home from Iraq. I don't think they'll take him if he has been on certain medications. My brother used that excuse to not take any ADHD medications. He said the army wouldn't take him if he did.


New Member
<font color="blue">my son was told five years....and he checked with-the all four branches. be careful...(some) recruiters have been known to be less than honest with-recruits.

sent you a PM.

kris :princess: </font>


New Member
Personally I don't think the military is the right place for most difficult child's, especially those with mood disorders. Just the fact that the indivitual who is trying to enlist has to be off all medications shows that it is't a good thing for a bi-polar. I am sorry for you. I know what it is like to be a parent who know what is and isn't good for a difficult child and not be able to make him understand and accept his limitations. -RM


Former desparate mom
This is part of the allowing them to grow up that's difficult. At 18, let him run with his choice. As a parent, you decide what and how much you will assist. They aren't ready to have the total apron strings cut emotionally (and usually financially)
Frankly, any time they actually want to do something is a good thing. I doubt the military will take him but do some research with him, offer suggestions and let him run with it. At the very least it's a learning experience.
Isn't this what we want for them to do? To gradually grow up and not be dependent?
As far as romanticized- let's face we all romanticize new experiences. It's the next job, next diet, next lotto ticket that will be the answer to all our problems.
Give him some rope and still be a bit of a net.


Well-Known Member
I have seen the military be a totally wonderful thing for many people. Do I know if they will take your son? Nope...havent a clue. They may. I had an army recruiter tell me they would take Cory if he had his GED and I was shocked. The Marines wouldnt have touched him with a ten foot pole. I have heard that the army is loosening its standards because of the war.

Just because he joins doesnt mean he is going to be toting a gun in the army. Many jobs there dont require it. Its the Marines who have the saying "everyone is an infantryman." The other branches arent like that.

Personally, I would let him try. My own opinion is I wish we had a national service kind of like Isreals where everyone could serve two years in some sort of capacity. You may not be able to be in the actual armed part of the armed forces but there are the other type jobs that go along with running that huge machine....clerical, food prep, drivers, mechanics, etc. But that is my opinion.


New Member
Again our difficult child's are going in the same direction. My difficult child 1 got his hsed in December & has taken his physical for the army national guard. He needs to gain a little weight yet. I'm not involved in any of the details since he lives with-dad now.

The last year he has bounced a lot on what he's gonna do next so i'm keeping my mouth shut on the whole situation. If I give my opinion in any direction he'll go the opposite way.


New Member
as a parent of another military person, I'd say at least let him try.

The ASVAB is a great tool (if used correctly) for telling someone their strengths and finding a career that may match those. After your son takes it (if he hasn't already) see if you can get the scores.

And yes, there are a lot of jobs in all branches of service that do not entail infantry.

NF finally is seeing some sea duty - his ship is out for trials and requalification. He's loving every minute of it, he says it's amazing to watch the jets land and take off from the carrier, and he's FINALLY getting to do some of the work on engines that he's wanted to do since he was 12 years old.


New Member
Thanks, everyone. You've given me some different perspectives to consider, and it has helped just to discuss it with someone other than husband (who just wants difficult child out of our house, and able to support himself, immediately if not sooner, lol). It is kind of silly to worry so much about something that may or may not happen, and that I can't do anything about, anyway, if difficult child decides that's what he's going to do (since he's 18). And it's better than worrying that he's going to jail, which was our big worry a couple of years ago. Corky, I hear you about them doing the opposite of what we say. My son is definitely the same way. I think the more I tell him to think this over, the more he digs in his heels that he's going.

I think for now I'll let him proceed (it has gotten him up and out of the house before dusk, so that's a plus). There are some things he'll have to do first, even if they do end up taking him, so that will give him some time to think with a clearer head (hopefully).


New Member
side note, my bipolar nephew who lived with me from age 11 to 16 did join the Marines in the last few years. He did not graduate HS, but his HS made some "arrangement" with him, UG! that if he joined, they would give him a diploma saying he finished HS? and even being diagnosis'ed bipolar and having spent a couple years at an alternatice school, he was allowed to join. He did 3 tours in Iraq.and then left Marines and went back to Iraq as a civilian to do more.
He followed my husband footsteps into military.....
I wish I could tell you my husband military experience was good- but------several years in Nam......and then 100% totalpermanant mental and physical disability and 10 years fighting for his benefits.......
UG.I would not trust recruiters, I would not trust anyone associated with any part of the military- not after what I heard over at the VA every single day or at the Marine Corps League......
nope, I have no trust.

A friend of mine joined Navy several years ago- it was join Navy or do time in jail.....He chose Navy and within months- was out on medical.

SOmething to consider is------how will how your difficult child behaves impact those working beside him, living in close quarters with them? If he is impossible to be around, those others around him will be just as stuck with the situation as your difficult child is.


Well-Known Member
Its changed a lot since the days of vietnam. Jamie has done just fine during his time in. Has it all been a bed of roses? Of course not. But he has learned a lot and I have met a ton of guys who have lived thru their tours and they have been quite happy. Its all in the attitude a person has about dealing with their situation. If they want to be miserable they will be. But they learn to make friends, they have a whole group of new buddies that become closer than family. Jamies marine friends are his brothers now. They have been through thick and thin with him. I adore those boys and will miss them.

I do think military service is a good thing. It really grows them up.


New Member
My nephew is not Nam era, he is only 22 right now.
Most of the people in my detachment of Marine Corps League are also current duty.....and quite a few of the people at the VA where we go are also currently serving active duty.

My husband benefits just now got on track- we just in the last 2 years FINALLY got what he has had due him for ? decades.

Yes, my nephew did great......tons of promotions etc and he liked it OK enough..just he got better pay going civilian.....BUT then, too-----altho my nephew was active combat- he and his unit had no injuries etc.
Going to the VA so often I see the ones who have been injured and wounded and being MCL yes, I do attend the wakes and funerals of those who were not all so lucky or fortunate. ANd I also see and talk to many many who are still serving beside those guys. (we do honor guard at the wakes and funerals of KIA)

I also do a lot of my shopping, grocery etc on the Navy base here. SO I am always with those living on the navy base. (yes we have commissary priveleges and such- we can eat in the galley if we want...go to the movies on base or use the gym etc......or the beach etc- becuz of the 100% combat related permanant and total disability)


Active Member
had ant gone when the recruiter had him all lined up for officers training in the marines...perhaps he would not have gone to jail??? I wonder.


New Member
My former difficult child is now a drill sergeant in the Army, has spent a tour in Iraq and a year at Pan Moon Jon, United Nations Base in Korea, and has 10 years in...it was the best thing that ever happened to him. It gave him the structure he needed as well as the activity and diverse interests. He has seen the world (not under the best of circumstances always), had had to solve his own problems, has learned to live without Mom to back him up, and supports a wife and child. Pretty successful person also and darn likeable guy. I knew the military would either make him or break him and he was one of the lucky ones who really found his place in life there. I sometimes never thought we would get to here, but he is a definite success story for a not-former-difficult child. He will always be my difficult child. The military isn't for everyone, but nothing is for everyone. We all have to find our own way. Let him see how far he can go. It may be just right for him.


My difficult child is right here, too.
I am letting him try, even tho he has absolutely no goal beyond getting in. Its his neck on the line.
The only thing I've put my foot down on is that I will not sign anything for him or allow him to contact either bio to sign him up prior to 18 (if he does that, he has to find another place to live). I can not get a straight answer from him or recruiters as to his BiPolar (BP) diagnosis, so I'm making sure this can only fall back on him, no one else. Thus its his signature on the line, no one else's.