22 Things Drill Sgts. Want to Say to Their Kids (But Don’t)


If you have kids at home then you know how much they can really test your patience, and we aren’t even talking about the ones that really misbehave and drive you bats-balls crazy. The thing is most of us (at some point — if we’re honest) we’re probably those same madding teenagers we now want to strangle.

My home wasn’t any different. As my daughter stretched into her unique self, she was much like me at her age — stubborn and opinionated. At one point my soldier (a former drill sergeant) so wanted to read her the “riot act” as he did with new recruits. But he didn’t.

… But there was a lot of things he WANTED to say but didn’t.

22 Things a Drill Sgt. Might Want to Say to His Kids

1. The purpose of this counseling is to orient you to the military family you were born into and to ensure that all family issues are resolved easily … until you piss me off.

2. There will be no crying or whining for any reason or a reason will be issued to you.

3. The food provided in this house will be eaten without complaint, if you don’t like it take a knee, face out and drink some water.

4. As your father I have the final say on how you spend your money. Don’t like it? Do some pushups.

5. If you don’t dress age-appropriately, your “new” clothes will consist of my old (altered-especially-for-you) fatigues.

6. There will be zero tolerance when it comes to disrespect, so think about it before you give me a reason to take you out.

7. You getting an education isn’t open for discussion … ever. If your grades aren’t satisfactory, remedial action will soon follow.

8. Treat those around you with respect, however if there’s no other option you are authorized to handle your business.

9. If I didn’t give you an attitude when you were born then you will not have one, EVER.

10. By age 18 you will know what you want to do in life; if not can you say “enlisted”?

11. By age 20 you will be out of the house because I love your mother.

12. You aren’t authorized to have a child before we’re ready for you to be a parent, (but if you do) remember it’s YOUR child not mine.

13. Know that God gave me patience, but only so much.

14. When it comes to dating, remember I am well-trained in the use of firearms and level three combative-certified; and I will shoot first and ask questions later.

15. Remember it can always be worse, don’t make me prove it.

16. I don’t drink alcohol, smoke or do drugs, so guess what? Hello?! You don’t either.

17. You will play some form of sports, and video games don’t count unless it becomes an event in the Olympics.

18. Regarding (paid) chores: if you’re not fired up with motivation, you will be fired with enthusiasm and still have to do it.

19. I reserve the right to an open clause: If you [fill in the blank here] … aka do anything else that I can’t think of right now and break protocol—you don’t have to leave, but you can’t stay here.

20. Plan of action: if there’s anything you disagree with on this form, keep it to yourself until you move out.

21. You don’t need to sign this form, it’s already in the rules and regulations; compliance is mandatory, else I will Article 15 you’re a—.

22. As your Drill Sergeant father, I approve this message.


Can you guess which of these we actually implemented at home? What about you, what are/were some of the rules in your home? And, did you have any hilarious ones that you loved but your kids hated?

About the Author

Corinne Lincoln-Pinheiro
Corinne Lincoln-Pinheiro is a journalist by trade, a blogger, creative writing instructor and business owner. She has a Bachelor's in English and a Master's in Writing. She's written for various newspapers including Joint Base Lewis-McChord's The Ranger, the Airlifter, The Pacific Northwest Veterans, and two online magazines -- JBLM Spouses and JBLM Singles. Corinne writes for the Killeen Daily Herald newspaper (http://kdhnews.com/blogs/health_springs/), and her military blog (http://www.rankandfile.blog.com) profiles interviews, articles and editorials on issues surrounding military life. Her family is currently stationed at Fort Hood, TX.
  • Aissa2

    Priceless! I wish that these could be the prerequisite for ALL parents. There are so many who don’t have a clue as to how to raise their children and really, really need this list!

  • Chappie

    I just have one question – why did he not say those things?

    I think the name of the list should be changed to “22 Things a Father SHOULD Say to His Kids”.

  • Todd Sterben

    Perfect way to incent your kids to do things behind your back, as the enlisted non-coms do a whole lot of the time

    • aka todd

      Rather, non non-coms

  • g55rumpy

    i dunno, i heard variation of some of these in a non-military house. yes, i`m glad i did.

  • James

    Sounds like you Drill Sargent was trained by my Mom (she was never in the military). One addition :Never, NEVER raise your hand to you parent. She raised 8 kids, all boys served inn the US Military, none of the 8 was ever arrested.

    • Dean

      God Bless Your Mother

  • Don

    Wow! those are words to live by.

  • Toni Harbage

    I was raised Army. I understand those rules. I was just 8 years old when my daddy died on active duty, but mom being a military wife, continued in his footsteps. I am 64 years old and I am still marching Army. I sought military life in my married life and still march Army Strong as a Navy widow. It is a discipline that would help many a child today. Children want to know what their limits are. They scream for someone to take the time to care.

  • Homefreedomunlimited

    IMHO, Since all children are different, some only some will spontaneously internalize such rules for life. Some of the rest depend on parents to impose them until they commence/graduate/leave, and then are likely to fall on their face because they never had to depend on their internal fortitude to get it right or even figure it out. Children are not one-size-fits-all. To keep this concept workable for most beginning humans, it needs to allow at least ‘certain’ children to be able to exercise & test their own pre-frontal lobes. This is not an easy answer. It is not easy to get it right.

  • Peter Guild

    Every and I mean EVERY PARENT should provide their children with both love and discipline. Discipline is love. Giving children free rein is neither love nor discipline. It is just stupid and lazy. It is quite important that children, everybody really, know that they are loved. I love my children, their spouses, and my grandchildren. Peter Guild, Quincy, MA.

  • Tom Boring

    I’m a Vietnam combat veteran and a former DI (Fort Leonard Wood ). I have two adult children and two wonderful grandkids. I find the whole spirit of this advise as negative, adversarial. Children are not the enemy. A child is never to cry? What are you raising? A rock? It all sounds so cool. Hey, jerk, I’m in charge! Punish a kid for bad grades? Ever help them with their homework? (No, NOT do it for them.) Not allowed to ever disagree? Keep your mouth shut or get the hell out! That’s not a home, it’s a barracks.

    • Bud6

      You’re boring Tom…

    • the first mel

      I grew up in a house where we weren’t allowed to express our emotions. Now, I still keep a tight hold on my emotions and rarely express how I really feel. My dad was extremely controlling and he made it very clear that everything would go his way. We either conformed or we were made to feel like we weren’t good enough. He was an “I win, you lose” kind of guy and because we were kids we always lost. I don’t see how this parenting technique is effective. My siblings and I aren’t what you’d call well-adjusted people and we all have had to work hard to fix the damage within ourselves. We all reacted differently to his parenting and none of it was positive.

      • Greg

        Those are choices that all of you made, stop blaming your parents for choices you freely made.

        • the first mel

          What are you talking about? What choices did I make as a kid?

    • sabrinacking

      I grew up with the actual Special Forces hand to hand combat teaching ex Drill Sgt. father…it ain’t all its cracked up to be in this article. That’s all I have to say about that.

  • bill

    Ridiculous. A perfect way to lose the love and respect of your children. My Dad (I was one of nine)
    had three rules for all of us. They were (1) If it’s not yours, don’t touch it. (2) If it’s wrong, don’t do it.
    (3) If It’s not true, don’t say it. I brought my two children (one boy, one girl) up the same way.
    They were a pleasure to have around. They both graduated High School, College and Law
    School with honors Retired 30 year Chief Bill A.

  • J Densmore

    As a single parent,my son has grown into a outstanding young man,The Marine Corps took me and molded me at the age of 18,I used the disicpline to raise my son,We are best friends and always have been,We look at his friends today that still have no idea on whats going on in life or what to do.So Its good to have military in the home. SemperFi

  • Tom McClutchy

    Where does one start? My experience as the second of seven children gave me such an incredible insight that I find drill sergeants comments frightening. I too was a DI. But I, perhaps naive as one could be at eighteen, found myself being insistant on training these “boys”,as best we could. Screaming at them accomplished nothing. The louder the mouth, the less the recruits listened. My loud enough to be heard, but never intended to cower. As many of those who wear the Campaign Hat of the real DI, we are there to instruct soldiers(marines) who will work as a unit, protect those to their left and right, and bring success to the mission. At home, as well as at the post, we want those who depend on us, to move us. For those who rely on us to look to us for stability. Drill sergeant relies on fear. Nonsense. That stopped in the 60’s, with the military, it should have stopped before his birth with civilians. TFMp

    • Greg

      As a retired Marine Master Sergeant and Drill Instructor, I find your remarks to be complete B. S. First of all if you were even in the Marine Corps, you defiantly were never on the drill field. We do not have time to cuddle and pamper recruits, we instill in them the hard discipline that is needed to survive a fire fight, not take a stroll on the beach. As far as relying on fear to push recruits, that’s is not part of the training syllabus, professionalism, esprit de corps and dedication are. I never once saw a 18 years old drill instructor, you have to be at least 22 and no older than 37(I’ve known Drill Instructors that were older, but never younger) and have attained the rank of sergeant. So at least get your facts straight before playing pretend.

  • sabrinacking

    This article actually made me ill. But I guess everyone’s mileage varies. I grew up in the household of a single father, who was also an ex Drill Sgt. and who most of my life taught hand to hand combat at Bragg. It ain’t all its cracked up to be in this article. What I remember? Broken bones. Being made to run until I puked. The loveable “dying cockroach”. My friends got money for As, I was on the “get a B and get beaten program”. My two younger sisters and I were terrorized growing up in those houses. But you all go ahead and have collective amnesia about how great it all was….screaming and yelling at children like a Drill Sgt., beating the holy hades out of them (which was not only allowed but encouraged back in the days my Dad was a Drill Sgt.) humiliation, degredation, extreme physical exercise as punishment….yep fun times. Exactly how we should all raise children, truly.

    • Old Chief

      It made me sick to read how you were mistreated growing up. Hopefully you’re raising your kids in a better home.You have my prayers.

      • sabrinacking

        You know, it’s not all bad, that experience that was my childhood. I am certainly strong. I certainly know how to push through, set goals, and expect excellence of myself. But it’s one of those things where I think as with much I read here…people really have no idea what they are glorifying. They are truly clueless. At the end of the day, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, not any perpetrator of ill against you. That’s what it takes to move forward, and maybe that is the only lesson to be learned.

  • guest

    That is no way to raise children.Where is the step that mentions love,affection,respect? Children deserve loving parents,not some drill instructor yelling and terrifying them.

    • Anonymous

      This was how I was raised. I lived in fear for 18 years until I got kicked out. I was terrified of sharing anything about my life with him – my therapy, artwork, difficulty in being close to others, my screw-ups and successes. He treated me like a soldier, never like his daughter.

  • Vanessa

    I grew up with all of these rules. My father wasn’t a Drill Instructor either. Marines are just like that I suppose, since I catch myself saying similar things to my hellions.

  • Grandma Jean

    My father, God Bless Him was Army Air Corps – and became a single parent father. I WELL remember having to follow rules 2,6,7,9,13 and 15. 2 for me was probably the hardest as I was a female without siblings to share with. I succeeded in life, and raised an Army MI Captain daughter. I can remember her saying she did not understand the girls who cried in boot camp or got upset when their superiors shouted at them “nose to nose.” Yep, I raised my daughter as I was raised, and she’s done well. I also now have 2 handsome grandsons who are being raised similarly. Perhaps if ALL children had to go to boot camp and serve some time – either paid military or required volunteer service to needy – we’d be in a better situation without high unemployment etcetera. Handouts go away – a hand UP may be at times needed.

  • K.G.

    That was pretty much me growing up (with a few exceptions) & my mom wasn’t in the military. I’m in the Army National Guard, 18 years old & still ask my mom for permission to do things like go out on the weekends. It’s about respect.

  • Pete

    My father was a DI in the Marines and retired as an old school cop! He tried to raise 6 kids by yelling and berating! I never remember an encouraging word from him. I recall him calling me a “knuckle head” well into my 30’s. He was a self esteem sucker. Don’t know if I should blame the service or the way he was raised, but then again he lied about his age to join the service so I guess he was raised a Marine. I have issues with authority till this day….I’m 58 now.