When a soldier is in basic training, the main form of communication with family and friends is through sending and receiving letters. While some phone calls can be made, they tend to be very short and only occur at maximum of once a week. For this reason, letters tend to be referred to as gold during basic training as it is the main form of support from home.
Many family members are concerned when they hear that soldiers are punished during mail call based on the number of letters they receive. Generally, the form of punishment is push-ups. Some drill sergeants will require multiple push-ups for each letter received before the soldier is able to possess them. Some family members, not wanting to cause additional stress to the soldier, will stop sending mail to avoid this practice.
This is the wrong decision. The soldiers need to receive these letters from home to maintain their motivation and to know they are supported during these tasks in basic training. This training is very hard both emotionally and physically and your support is invaluable as they progress through the three phases.
Many soldiers will gladly do push-ups to receive letters from home. What family members should keep in mind is that soldiers will be required to do thousands of push-ups throughout basic training. At least at the end of this round, he will receive the reward of letters from home.
Attempting to avoid having him do push-ups is not a reason to stop sending letters. Doing push-ups is much better than not receiving any communication from family and friends. Continue sending mail to him and encouraging him through the process. It is very important for him to know that you support him and you are proud of him. He needs that motivation as he endures one of the most physically challenging things he has ever been through to date. Writing letters to him should be one of your top priorities while he is in training.