Dear Ms. Vicki,
I'm just looking for some resources for my son, who is six months into a six-year Air Force commitment. He will be stationed in the Washington, D.C., area for two years, and then somewhere else after that. He is not sure if he will be stateside or not.
The problem his, he broke up with his girlfriend and then learned that she is pregnant. We are sure that the baby is his, but he's been told that the military requires paternity tests to ensure medical coverage for the child. Is this correct?
My son is at a complete loss. He thinks his life is ruined. I've been a good listener and encouraged open and honest dialogue between him and his ex, so they both know how each other feels and what they are thinking.
He wants to continue his military career, and he does not want to marry his ex just because of the child. He will not be physically involved much with his future child because he won't be living near the baby, and that's another stress factor for him.
I've suggested counseling for him, but he's worried that counseling would show up on his military record and make him look unstable. I'm looking now for online resources or books that might help him. Any ideas or suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.
Sincerely, Grandfather in Waiting
Thanks for reading the column and for writing me. The Military and Family Life Counselors are a great resource for your son. They are a group of licensed counselors and therapists with masters' degrees or higher from a range of different disciplines, such as social workers, psychologists, and marriage and family therapists. They provide brief, solution-focused strategies for stress and coping and relationship concerns like the problems your son is experiencing. Best of all, they can meet you anywhere except in the barracks or your home and they don't keep records or a file.
Your son should be able to locate one of them in the Airmen and Family Readiness office on base. In the meantime, I think he should wait and do a paternity test. I don't think there's anything his ex should expect from you yet as a potential grandfather. After all, you didn't ask her to hook up with your son and get pregnant.
I understand that it takes two to tango, and that your son did have sex with her and the baby could be his, but you don't know that for certain yet. Don't let this be too overly stressful for you and your family. It will all work out. Let me know if I can help further.
Sincerely, Ms. Vicki