According to Mental Health America, teen boot camps are not effective treatment method to help troubled teens. They are not cost effective, they don’t reduce recidivism, and the confrontational approach employed by teen boot camps is not appropriate as an intervention for troubled kids.
If you are a parent looking for an intervention that will help your teenager, you should stay away from tough love programs. In Massachusetts, there are alternatives that have been proven effective as intervention for troubled teenagers.
Therapeutic boarding schools
Therapeutic boarding schools, also known as emotional growth boarding schools, are private residential schools that offer, aside from an educational component, a long term therapeutic treatment component for the purpose of providing emotional, mental and academic recovery to its participants. It is a holistic education, designed primarily to help troubled teenagers with mental, emotional and behavioral problems with a long term therapeutic treatment, with a typical duration of one to two years.
Therapeutic boarding schools rely on structure, supervision and therapy in order to rehabilitate youths. Schedule is structured and predetermined, aside from regular classes, there are activities, sports, recreation, study period, outdoor trips, etc that follow a predetermined schedule. As part of the rehabilitation process, interaction to the outside world is limited and closely monitored. For example, internet is severely curtailed and some personal items, such as cell phones, game gadgets and pocket computers, are regarded as contraband and will be taken away for the duration of the program.
Therapeutic boarding school is noted for their usage of “experiential therapy”. Methods that are widely accepted as effective are also used by prominent therapeutic boarding schools, such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Therapy sessions and counseling are held regularly, occurring several times in a week. Depending on the program, there are also other lessons aimed to give a positive learning to the teenagers, such as leadership and confidence classes, life skill classes, self confidence building activities involving other students, and also outdoor activities such fishing, swimming, hiking, camping and so forth.
Private Christian schools
Private Christian schools are educational institutions operated by religious organizations and share the same benefits of private schools, such that they have the authority of selecting their students and charge tuition to their students. While some religious Christian schools have mandatory religion classes to impress their particular faith onto the students who attend, some Christian schools are non denominational with optional religion classes. Although they are usually exempt from most educational regulations, most private Christian schools follow the state regulated content of courses to offer an educational quality par or better than that of public schools.
Private Christian schools also provide additional programs depending on their mission, such as college preparatory program, instruction for gifted students, as well as services for very specific needs of students, such as troubled or at risk youth, or special assistance for academically failing kids. Private Christian schools offer a learning environment better than public school due to low student to teacher ratio, small class sizes and better facilities, such as computer laboratories, libraries, science laboratories, etc.