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What if Your Child Wants to Join the Military?

I have a hard time envisioning my chicken-legged four-year-old as anything but a little boy. Maybe it’s the Thomas the Train underpants. Maybe it’s that I just can’t fathom him holding a job instead of playing with Matchbox cars on his bedroom floor.

So it’s hard for me to even think about what I would do or feel if he proclaimed a desire to join the military.

On the one hand, I imagine I would be very proud. We make it clear in our household that we are in the military to serve. We are not here because we lack other options. We are not here because we really enjoy moving. We are not here because we think the Army’s current uniform pattern is fetching. We’re here because we love our country and we want to be helpers. I would hope if my son wanted to join it would be for that same reason.

And I would be beside myself with pride.

On the other hand, I would be nervous. I know first hand the challenges of military life -- not just the emotional ones, but the ones that include risking life and limb. Some of the strongest women I know are Gold Star mothers. Their sons' decision to serve became their sacrifice, too.

Since joining the military requires your child to be an adult (or, at least, get your permission if he or she is 17-years-old), there's not much parents can do in the way of keeping their child from joining. But our attitudes, regardless of what we think, can be a great influence on our children.

At Military.com's recent Spouse Summit producers with Lifetime TV's Lifetime Moms asked attendees "what if your child wants to join the military?" How would they feel? Here is what they said.

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What would you say?

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