Dad's opposition to son's desire to join military tearing up family
Q: Our son wants to join the military and his dad is vehemently against it. It is causing a lot of anguish in our household.
Our son agreed to attend college for a year and postpone talking about it. That school year is up and he still wants to join. He is a legal adult now and we all know it.
I know my husband's attitude is rooted in fear for his child, and I share that fear. However, I think my son should be able to make his own choices and live his own life. It is very stressful for his siblings (he is the oldest) and it is straining our marriage. How do we get across this bridge with our family intact?
Torn Between Husband and Son
A: Why hasn't your son just enlisted?
If your husband would be willing to consider it, I suggest marriage counseling, or a reputable marriage seminar, for you two. While I can understand any parent's strong feelings about what's best for a child, and certainly strong fear of harm, this fight — about a kid who is committed to an honorable path and is no longer a minor — is in its second year. That I cannot understand, because it has become a serious boundary problem.
One thing you can do, while marital help is pending, is explain the following to your husband: Husband had his say and secured Son's cooperation with a cooling-off year. The only emotionally healthy response for Husband at this point is to thank Son for waiting, reiterate any remaining concerns and assure Son that Husband will support Son's right to make his own choices, even if Husband objects to the choices themselves.