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Subject: Parents These Days: Tales of Army Woe rss

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David Dixon
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Sigh.

It has been another trying day for me and my troop, with regards to drug and discipline problems. (See my previous post for context: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/413968 ).

Several of my soldiers who had already come up positive on a urinalysis and were enrolled in a drug treatment program came up positive again, and two of them will be arrested tomorrow for involvement in organized crime pertaining to dealing drugs (and violence) in the local area.

They should never have been allowed in the Army in the first place, which is our fault, institutionally, and I'm aware and will fully admit, but my an area of particular frustration with some of these guys is their parents.

These are the parents who call me up as their son's commander and ask me why I've "failed" their son, because he did drugs. These are the same parents who call up my NCOs and tell them "we sent him to the Army so you would fix him and make him shape up."

This blows my mind.

As if I, and my NCOs, who are tasked with defending the nation from external threats and whatnot, are somehow also supposed to undo eighteen plus years of bad parenting and "fix" their kids. How in the world am I supposed to have enough time in my day to train and handle the legitimate issues of my good soldiers and still have time to fix their spoiled, indisciplined, lazy, selfish, kids who they've failed to raise?

To top it off, those same parents that have the audacity to call me and tell me I've failed because their child is a terrible soldier (and a terrible person in general) are the same parents that call me and threaten to call their congressman or my commander when their children are given punishments. (To which I respond, quite levelly, "Ma'am, that is your right. Would you like my commander's number? I will respond to any congressional inquiry within 24 hours.")

These parents don't seem to get that I can't "fix" (or try to fix) their kids without discipline, and that if I were to give them the type of discipline it would take to fix them, I'd be in jail myself, and that they as parents would most certainly object to it.

One mother, for instance, called me to complain that it wasn't fair that her son was restricted to the Squadron area after he failed a urinalysis and admitted to doing cocaine. This is despite the fact that the punishment was a) legal, and b) actually an attempt to look out for the kid, since by his own admission, he was getting his drugs off the installation. She said that it wasn't right to do this to him, and that he was a good kid, and that he had never been in trouble before (doubtful, that), and that her son would never do anything like that again.

This kid, by the way, came up hot for cocaine again, and is one of the ones being arrested tomorrow for violent crime. I expect a call from his mother. I will be polite and courteous as always, and tell her that the police are telling me he's looking at twenty to forty years.

She'll cry and complain and threaten, but she's got only her son (and herself) to blame.

Anybody else run across this silliness in their job? How do you deal with the parents, aside from telling them the obvious (that's my NCOs usual route).

Diis
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Society of Watchers
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Yep. Agree with you 100%.

They like to blame education and teachers too. But, it's the parents or whoever is raising them or not raising them. As teachers, we can often see a child in Kindergarten and depending on his behavior and personality then and knowing the parents, have a good idea the outcome. We try to change it, but the odds are against us.

No matter how much teachers teach children. Most of what a child learns is from the parents and by what the parents do and don't do. Whether they spoil the child or abuse the child, both are really child abuse in my opinion.

There are occasional victories, but not very many. By the time they get to you. It is way, way too late. And at that age, they are now responsible for their own actions and must be accountable for them - finally.
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Samuel Sol
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Diis wrote:
Anybody else run across this silliness in their job? How do you deal with the parents, aside from telling them the obvious (that's my NCOs usual route).

Diis


Far from your experience mate, as it is quite heavier compared to my tame teaching time in a high class school.

I used to teach computing while I was in high school. I was teaching where I used to study, and those were kids from 8 to 13 years old. The 13 were the worse ones, specially with that were 16 at the time, and dating a girl from the class. So I had 0 to none moral with them but still had to do my job. During my tenure I realized how spoiled they were, and from the parents I had to endure the crap they threw at the school for hiring someone so inexpirent.

The best I could do, was chalenging one of the parents in front of everyone during a teacher's-parent conference. He was screaming at me because I gave a D- to her precious baby, as she called "a gift from heavens that is much smart than me". HE said it was my fault for her kid not learning (and of course she didn't believe me when I said the brat spent more time hitting on his classmates than paying attention to class).

So, in a fit of anger (that almost cost my job), I challenged her to do better. I said she had 2 weeks to teach her son (or hire someone to teach him private) and he could re-take the test. If he passed I would not only change the grade but quit my position. If he failed though, he would have to apologize to me in front of everyone, I was going to expect a formal retrect from her words on the meeting, and something else I was going to think about. He accepted and went her merry way.

2 weeks later he came to take the test, and not surprisingly he failed, hard. Next teacher-parent conference I sat there waiting for her apologies, knowing full well that she wouldn't. So I decided, still pissed, that I was going to have my revenge (and that almost cost me the job). I rose up, and loudly went to her sit and congratulated her for her son failing again, and even worst than before, and for been a terrible parent, teaching her son that there was no such thing as honor and one has to keep her world, she need to pretend it never happened. She fumed at me and scremed from her lungs teaching a whole new group of cursing to her son. I got the respect of other parents later, for the ones that were on both, and the kids started behaving a little better.

"Remember , this is high school, you are judge by your looks and how much shit happens too you. Your parents can embaress you, almost like it happened with ****, don't give them that chance."

Basically is, there is nothing you can do about spoiled kids, they usually come from spoiled parents and you won't have luck there.
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Walt
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Unfortunately, sending bad boys into the military has a very long history--over 200 years in Britain. It makes a lot less sense since we went volunteer.

On the previous THC post, I wonder if testing included attempting to induce a false positive with cocoa: "Brain cannabinoids in chocolate," Nature, August 22, 1996, p. 677
http://www.ndsn.org/oct96/chocolat.html
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I work at a university, and we commonly get students' parents making threats and demands. One lecturer I know of had this conversation:

PARENT: How dare you fail my daughter?
LECTURER: I'm terribly sorry. Let me call my mother and perhaps the two of you can sort this out.
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午餐先生
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I teach middle school.

I've been "called" on things. Once a kid had answers written all over his arm. I failed him on the test. The mom asked if this was the proper response because he had forgotten to wash his hands from a previous class and was using his hands to take notes on and he had said there was really only one word on his hand. I told her he was lying (he was) and he deserved it. Sadly, this boy's dad teaches at the same school. He since moved on to a different institution (of learning).

I had a dad ask me what I thought his daughter could do to improve. I laughed and told him she was lazy, she just needs to do the work. Never asked me again.

I had a boy tell me his mom wanted to know what he owed me for work. I told him when he wanted to know he could ask. I chewed him out later for sleeping in class and letting his mom do all his work. His mom called and told me he was on pain-killers from a tooth extraction and how dare I mention her in such context in class? I told her I had no such knowledge of his need of pain-killers, and it should be common knowledge if he's on drugs. And if he has the issue why isn't he coming to me instead of you?

I had another boy demand everything he owed me from the beginning of the year, so he could make it up. Seemed nice the first time. Strange the second. And downright annoying all the times after that. Even worse when his dad came asking why his son was still failing. "You know all that stuff I said he owed me? He still hasn't handed it in."

And the wonderful response... "They said they had all their work handed in."
um, "No. If they did, they wouldn't be failing."

hm... makes me wonder if I should find another line of work.ninja
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Dan Edwards
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Part of the problem, IMHO, is with today's US military.

Young soldiers should live in barracks. Liberty should be in uniform.

It won't happen, because to make the military look like an OK alternative to civilian careers, housing standards went up. Used to be a senior NCO could walk in to a Squadbay with a fair chance of catching idiots in the act. Now, dorm style rooms have closed doors. More crap goes on. Go figure. Even worse, many young servicemen live off base.

Once apon a time, liberty was in uniform. Guys in uniform stand out, and when they are doing crap they aren't supposed to be doing, it's just a little more obvious. It also gave the NCOs a tool to curtail liberty with. Do not pass inspection, stay on base.

The reason a lot of these knuckleheads join the military is for the structure and discipline it offers, and there should be more of it, not less.

It was getting worse in the Marine Corps when I retired. I can only imagine what it's like in the Army now.
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Stephen Dunne
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Christ.

Not surprising really. For many parents, it is never their fault, it must have been the teachers/minister/aunt/uncle/guy next door that didn't make sure the kid came out right.

Too bad you can't just find a nice room to put the moron in a room with a couple of NCO's and give them 20 or so minutes of what we liked to call "Wall to Wall" counseling for every offense.
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Welcome to the modern culture of 'It's not my fault so it must be yours.'

Everyone is so damned eager to pawn off responsibility for every problem in their lives. Not only that, but they all walk around with this misguided sense of entitlement.

You owe me bitches! You owe me because YOU screwed up my life!

You owe it to these parents to fix their kids. It's not their fault little Timmy is doing crack, they were too busy watching American Idol and trying to nail that hot secretary to be worried about what Timmy was up to for the past 17 years. So they pawn Timmy off on the schools, colleges and military and just assume that they will at some point be mailed back a productive member of society.

This is modern parenting! Plug in the TV, point the finger of blame and wait for your much-deserved rewards!
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Erik D
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Yeah, I never got any sympathy from my parents when I had a grievance against a teacher. If I got in trouble for something, usually my parents told the teacher they could punish me in any way they'd see fit, my folks wouldn't object.
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CHAPEL
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Diis wrote:


Anybody else run across this silliness in their job? How do you deal with the parents, aside from telling them the obvious (that's my NCOs usual route).


Not in my industry. Everyone here are consummate professionals. I haven't had that kind of working environment since I was working in the Navy, or Taco Bell.
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MWChapel wrote:
Not in my industry. Everyone here are consummate professionals. I haven't had that kind of working environment since I was working in the Navy, or Taco Bell.

You're not sure? Did it have big floaty things or fake adobe?
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Andy K.
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The smartest thing I've read all year goes something like this:

A mature person is like an archer. When she misses the target, she looks within herself to remedy the problem.
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Proverbs 13:24 (ESV) -

"Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him."

Today's generation of kids (or young adults) grew out of that blame someone else society/thinking. The lack of personal responsibility, discipline in the home, and even homes that are dysfunctional due to divorce, etc.

It's amazing how knowledge from a couple thousand years ago still pertains today...

I was disciplined plenty of times when I was bad as a kid - switch, paddle, belt, hand, wooden spoon, spatula. And to think I'm not scarred for life. My parents disciplined me because they loved me and needed to correct wrong thinking and behavior. After a few years of spankings it's amazing how you think before you act...



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Echo2112 wrote:
give them 20 or so minutes of what we liked to call "Wall to Wall" counseling


good luck. i have met about three NCOs in my time in the Army that would do this. one of the Army's points of failure. also: sergeants major should be the scariest people in their units. that would help.

bottom line: ignore the parents. they are not in the chain of command. they relinquished a say in the matter when the kid signed the dotted line.

Bloodybucket wrote:

Part of the problem, IMHO, is with today's US military.

Young soldiers should live in barracks. Liberty should be in uniform.

It won't happen, because to make the military look like an OK alternative to civilian careers, housing standards went up. Used to be a senior NCO could walk in to a Squadbay with a fair chance of catching idiots in the act. Now, dorm style rooms have closed doors. More crap goes on. Go figure. Even worse, many young servicemen live off base.

Once apon a time, liberty was in uniform. Guys in uniform stand out, and when they are doing crap they aren't supposed to be doing, it's just a little more obvious. It also gave the NCOs a tool to curtail liberty with. Do not pass inspection, stay on base.

The reason a lot of these knuckleheads join the military is for the structure and discipline it offers, and there should be more of it, not less.

It was getting worse in the Marine Corps when I retired. I can only imagine what it's like in the Army now.


hear hear!
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Don't you have guns in the army?
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Steve Vondra
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Yes they have guns in the Army...
But the parents have lawyers
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David Dixon
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u_2_guy wrote:


bottom line: ignore the parents. they are not in the chain of command. they relinquished a say in the matter when the kid signed the dotted line.



Sadly, it isn't quite that simple. Sure, I don't pay any attention to what their parents say when making my decisions--I'm the commander, and their kids are full grown men (or should be), and we've both got to live with our decisions and their consequences.

The thing is, I can't just ignore them, as they will go to the press (got the call today) and part of my job is representing the U.S. Army in a good light. If I'm dismissive of someone, or rude, etc., they've got a good story to tell about how their poor innocent son was railroaded, and when they called to complain, they got yelled at, blah, blah, blah...

And the press eats it up.

Diis
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that's true. i guess the main problem is that most of society doesn't understand the military and how it works. it makes perfect sense to those of us who have seen it transform the screw-ups into solid people, but to everyone else it just seems mean. (lol, even patton had to deal with this one!)
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u_2_guy wrote:
that's true. i guess the main problem is that most of society doesn't understand the military and how it works. it makes perfect sense to those of us who have seen it transform the screw-ups into solid people, but to everyone else it just seems mean. (lol, even patton had to deal with this one!)
It blows my mind that people can't see that the military shouldn't be a cakewalk. You've got to get those boys following direction, orders and not doing stupid shit, else they'll get themselves or someone else killed, should they end up in combat. shake
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z morgan
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spearjr wrote:
u_2_guy wrote:
that's true. i guess the main problem is that most of society doesn't understand the military and how it works. it makes perfect sense to those of us who have seen it transform the screw-ups into solid people, but to everyone else it just seems mean. (lol, even patton had to deal with this one!)
It blows my mind that people can't see that the military shouldn't be a cakewalk. You've got to get those boys following direction, orders and not doing stupid shit, else they'll get themselves or someone else killed, should they end up in combat. shake


but see, we don't want them in combat. we shouldn't go to war at all!

are those parents rational enough for you to explain these things to them?
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cooler king wrote:
Yes they have guns in the Army...
But the parents have lawyers


That's what the guns are for.
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