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Helping son keep positive outlook at BCT

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  • Helping son keep positive outlook at BCT

    My 17 year old son is in week 2 of BCT. I never served, so the advice I can give is general in nature. He's extremely homesick and aching all over. Of course he's questioning if he made a mistake joining. I trust he'll make it through and be better for it. But, i know it's easy for me to say. He's the one that has to suck it up each day and move forward. Any ideas on what I can share with him are welcome......truth be told...maybe me writing this is to convince myself he'll be ok...just feel very helpless for the first time in a very long time.

  • #2
    Re: Helping son keep positive outlook at BCT

    BCT is a huge adjustment for anyone, especially for teenagers who aren't used to change at all, much less to this degree. I briefly questioned weather or not I made the right decision while I was there, and I am sure a lot of people do. He will get past it though and eventually he will adjust, some people just take longer. One of the hardest parts of BCT for me was the exhaustion and feeling like I was never rested. Also, never having a moment to myself was very hard and stressed me out a lot. The most relaxing part of my day was when I would find ten minutes before lights out to write my Mom a letter.

    The thing that would probably help me the most was a reminder that BCT WILL end, it won't last forever. When he goes to AIT, it'll be more about learning your job than it will be about learning the basics of being miserable. He'll make it through just fine and it'll probably be the proudest moment of his life.

    And try not to feel helpless, this training is all about learning to become a soldier, and it isn't a walk in the park. Your son is okay!

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    • #3
      Re: Helping son keep positive outlook at BCT

      The best thing you can do is write him letters filled with (1) positive reinforcement and encouragement, and (2) details about what's going on back home. The fact that you have a new mailman is suddenly interesting to him when he's homesick. Mail is gold at Basic Training, so a letter per day (whether from yourself or other friends/family) would make a big difference. Remember, all your correspondence and telephone communication must remain POSITIVE, even if he's bummed out.

      Basic Training is something that he won't like doing, but he will like having done.

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      • #4
        Re: Helping son keep positive outlook at BCT

        Share his mailing address with family and his friends if you're able to.

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        • #5
          Re: Helping son keep positive outlook at BCT

          Tell him I started at 17, 30 years ago and still serving. They beat us back then. Now, it is a piece of cake.

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          • #6
            Re: Helping son keep positive outlook at BCT

            As many letters as you can muster, keep it positive and avoid any "bad news" from home. Tell him how proud you are and send pics.

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            • #7
              Re: Helping son keep positive outlook at BCT

              Telling him what is happening at home, but not necessarily what all of his friends are doing. Sometimes saying that you saw his best friends at the local pizza joint or movie theaters just reminds him of what he is missing at home. Telling him that you saw his best friends and they all said hi and wish him the best of luck (or something to that effect) can be really good.

              Can't say it enough, send as many letters as you can. When mail call comes and you get a letter it is a great feelings, but when it comes and you don't get one for days on end then it can be a little disheartning.

              It can also help to send pictures. It doesn't have to be a lot of them, but I always liked it when I got a few in my letters.

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              • #8
                Re: Helping son keep positive outlook at BCT

                Originally posted by Portree228 View Post

                Can't say it enough, send as many letters as you can. When mail call comes and you get a letter it is a great feelings, but when it comes and you don't get one for days on end then it can be a little disheartning.
                THIS +1,000,000

                When I went through, getting mail made even the crappiest day better. Not hearing your name called at mail call was so disheartening sometimes. My husband posted my mailing address on my Facebook wall so that all my FB could drop me a line. ANY mail was appreciated, even from people I normally didn't talk to often.

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                • #9
                  Re: Helping son keep positive outlook at BCT

                  Thanks to all for your ideas and your service.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Helping son keep positive outlook at BCT

                    Just remember that this is a part of the training. An important part. The first few weeks at BCT are supposed to be depressing. Letters are good. But there may be times in his career that he cannot hear from family. This is the initial training for that. My father is also in the Army. He understood this and sent letters only when important issues arrived. He will be fine. It is all part of the process.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Helping son keep positive outlook at BCT

                      I am sure BCT can be a big adjustment for any kid just coming in, but I am not sure how hard it is nowadays, but in any case, I would suggest three things, do what they tell you, when they tell you and how they tell you, if he can do these three things, he should be fine.....

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