Parenting

Army Hurt Feelings Report: Is Helicopter Parenting Impacting Our Military?

“We, as the Army, take hurt feelings seriously. If you don’t have someone who can give you a hug and make things all better, please let us know and we will promptly dispatch a “hugger” to you ASAP. In the event we are unable to find a “hugger” we will notify the fire department and request that they send fire personnel to your location. If you are in need of supplemental support, upon written request, we will make every reasonable effort to provide you with a “blankey”, a “binky” and/or a bottle if you so desire.” 5 USC 301, Departmental Regulations; 10 USC 3013, Secretary of the Army and E.O. 9397 (SSN)

Is this a hoax? An inside joke? Or is it the only way the military has to deal with a generation raised by helicopter parents?
Someone hurt my feelings. File this report.
After spending some time visiting family serving in the military recently, it became clear that military life has changed dramatically. It’s a kinder, gentler military—at least when it comes to grilling subordinates.
As a government agency, the military has always been overrun with paperwork—in triplicate. So, it’s not too far off to believe that someone made this form up in response to a growing problem: the instinct to treat hurt feelings as an injury.
Whether someone has a great sense of humor, or this is what we’ve come to, this could be the most entertaining Army form you will ever read.
Here are a few of my favorite points.
  • WHINER’S NAME (Last, First, MI)
  • NCO OR OFFICER SYMPATHETIC TO WHINER
  • NAME OF REAL MAN/WOMAN WHO HURT YOUR SENSITIVE FEELINGS

The form requires the “whiner” to check the box, all that apply, of course, to show exactly which ear the hurtful words were spoken into. Was there a tissue required? How many? Is there “permanent feelings damage”? And my personal favorite, did the incident result in “traumatic brain injury”?

Under “The Reason for Filing This Report,” the “check all that apply boxes” are plentiful. Acceptable reasons include:

  • I want my mommy
  • I am a cry baby
  • The Army needs to fix my problems
  • Two beers is not enough, and
  • My hands should be in my pocket.

The Army then offers to allow a narrative for the whiner to explain in his own “sissy words” just what happened.

The irony of this form, authentic or not, is that it illustrates the contrast between the mindsets of two generations of soldiers: one brought up in a Utopian fantasy, and the other, in the harsh world where traumatic brain injury is real—the one we are living in.

The ability to face that world, and overcome it, is a matter of survival. Men and women who crawl into fox holes and curl up in a ball and cry, usually die. Or worse, get someone else killed.

Our job as parents is not to make our children happy or bend the world around them. It’s to prepare them to face adult realities, and overcome them.

It’s important to teach our kids that harsh, hurtful words should never come out of their mouths, but that you can’t keep them from coming from someone else’s.

What helicopter parents fail to grasp is that it is overcoming adversity of all kinds makes life meaningful.