How the Parental Perceptions Influence the Military Service of Their Children

What Does the Parental Attitude Mean for Historical Conflicts? Modern times have seen the military as an institution to bring out feelings that range between pride and fear, given how a country has been touched by its own experiences with conflict. The decision of parents to allow their child to join the army, according to clinical psychologist and Gestalt therapist Victoria Merkulova, is complicated in itself and refers to the fact that the portrayal of the military in society is constantly changing. For example, in Russia, by the close of the 20th century, the country engaged in several military conflicts, causing a shift in attitudes towards the army between the perspectives of honor and a place of fear for one’s life. All these show duality and thus lie in the broader global trend connecting collective memory of wars and their consequences with parents’ approaches. The generational memory that many families are given about the war horrors affects the perception of military service. Despite changes in policy, such as not sending the conscripts to the active combat zones, for instance, the fear that one’s child is going to be called up anyway “if deemed necessary by the state” persists. In other words, more frequently than from experience, the fear derives from the positive and negative projections of second-hand information, media images, and societal narratives.

Where is the fear of cutting the umbilical cord to be found in the military context? Olga Kochetkova-Korelova, the transaction analysis psychologist, has paid attention to the vivid case of 46-year-old mother Olga, who, due to her experience with her son’s military training, had a ‘shift of consciousness.’ Initially, the woman was fearful based on stereotypical images of military hardships. But the summer service of her son Daniel gave both of them an unexpected replenishment. The decent conditions of life and the allowed communication with family debunked Olga’s fears, which brought the woman closer to her adult son. That general change underlines the role of a personal experience in questioning and recreation of stereotypes about military service. Olga’s story is a typical psychological process of projection when the hopes and fears of parents concerning their child are projected not on what goes on but on the perceptions they have. These projections can significantly influence their children’s attitudes towards and experiences of military service. Families can, in facing and sharing such experiences, navigate such projections to a healthier understanding and preparation for life in the military.

How to Approach Parental Projections and Support Children in Moving into Military Life?

One will only unmask harmful projective tendencies by opening up and sharing personal experiences. Parents like Olga, who feared the military experience for her children in the first place, can learn through direct exposure to the reality of military life that fear can be turned into supportive understanding. Such a change reduces parental pressure and helps build the bond between the parent and child, providing a sound basis of support. Psychologists believe that parents need help to center their efforts on the upbringing of a child’s boundaries, the interrelation with the surroundings by kind and fair principles, and the adaptation to new surroundings rather than fear. This approach not only prepares children for military service but also for life’s various challenges. This further supports personal growth and resilience in the child so that they pass through the military service time as a time of development rather than a stressful experience.

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In conclusion, the understanding and addressing of parental projections about military service need to be embedded in historical, societal, and personal factors. It, therefore, means that the way through this myriad of complex emotions for families involves open communication, seeking personal experience, and focusing on the individual growth of loved ones as they undergo the transformation that comes with military service. This holistic approach will underscore the importance of psychological insights to help the families traverse the ordeals they experience in military service towards a healthier and more supportive environment for the parents and their children.


How do historical conflicts affect the perceptions of parents about military service?

Historical conflicts determine a complex mix of emotions in the parental views through collective memories and societal narratives about the possibility of their child’s service in the military. These perceptions may range from pride to fear, and very often, they will impact the parents’ attitudes in such decision-making.

What might help parents work through their fears about their child enlisting?

Some help might come from experts in psychological approaches, support groups, and open communication with their children. In addition, the opportunity to identify with other families who have experienced the same and similar offers perspective and encouragement.

How do parental projections fit into the military service experience for the child?

Fears or idealistic expectations projected by parents on a child can influence attitudes towards military service and the whole experience related to it much more strongly. The projections can only be destroyed if they are tackled through communication and personal experience, hence necessary for realistic understanding.

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At what age should parents start preparing their children for the possibility of military service?

Parenting should start early in grooming the child to have resilience, personal boundaries, and relate respectfully to others. It should be done earlier than the age of conscription of a child so that the child is prepared in a holistic way for the military.

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