DEAR HARRIETTE: My youngest son is going into the Army, and I’m scared. He went to college out of state and has now decided to enlist. After he graduated, I tried convincing him that there are other options besides the Army, but his mind is made up. His father is not supportive and ignores my son when he talks about his future. I’m slowly getting used to the idea of him moving again and serving his country, but I am scared that I might lose my child. How can I become more supportive and comfortable with the idea of my son joining the Army? -- Losing My Son, Wilmington, Delaware
DEAR LOSING MY SON: One way to look at your son’s decision is that he is at the age and time in his life when he should be choosing his destiny for himself. It is likely that even if he were making a different choice, you would still be nervous about it because it means that he is choosing to become independent of you. This is hard to accept, but it is part of life.
As far as going into the military, yes, there are risks. Not to frighten you, but there are risks in just about everything, including having him stay at home. Instead of fretting, talk to your son about his ideas. Learn what he’s thinking and planning. Do your best to support him cultivating a sense of agency. Your job as a parent is to help your son become independent.