Can Boot Camps Be Effective for your Troubled Teen?

Troubled teens who are disrespectful, rebellious, failing in school, under substance abuse or in trouble with the law can cause a lot of stress to their parents. Parents who feel that they have exhausted other avenues may opt to consider boot camps to rehabilitate their teens hoping that it will provide a means for their teens to have a positive transformation. The question is, are boot camps really effective for these troubled teens?

But first, what is a boot camp for teens? Teen boot camps are correctional programs intended for troubled teens. There are two popular types of boot camps:

  1. Military Boot Camps- They are usually set up in a military style environment which primarily emphasizes on the importance of physical conditioning and discipline.
  2. Wilderness Boot Camps- Teens are mainly sent out into the wild to learn the importance of self perseverance and be able to develop coping skills within oneself.

These programs are generally an alternative to longer terms of detention in juvenile facilities for troubled teens or teen offenders. The routine of a typical boot camp are usually structured and disciplined. The physical training can be rigid but at the same time providing teens with learning programs, and training them with correct hygiene as well as doing chores as part of being disciplined.

Most kids enter a boot camp mainly because they lack the discipline and are showing signs of being troubled. While there may be other alternatives to boot camps, the discipline, the sense of worth and accomplishments that these programs provide makes these teens more responsible. Boot camps often force teens to examine themselves and be able to reflect on what they have been doing with their lives. Possibly making them realize the wrong behavior that they have shown and the mistakes that they have done in the past.

The association between troubled teens and other teens who have similar issues is also one contributing factor to why these types of programs are effective. Teens are able to share the same life experiences and problems to their peers and by seeing the direction of which other teens have gone.

It’s always a collaborative effort between the parents and their teens. Even if a teen can change a hundred percent inside the camp, their behavior can easily go back to their negative ways if the parents themselves are not willing to provide a positive environment for their teens when they go back home.

There are different views about the effectiveness of boot camps from experienced teens and parents who have been involved in such programs. There is really no dependable proof which actually supports that boot camp programs are indeed effective. Some teens have benefited from its existence while others have negative experiences wherein the effects have been irreversible.

In truth, the effectiveness of a teen boot camp, ultimately differs from teen to teen. It’s a mistake for parents to expect their teens to have behavior modification for such a short period of time while being in a boot camp. The result is always dependent upon the attitude of both the teens and their parents, particularly the teen’s willingness to change.

There are teens who shows behavior development under the pressure of tough love. While there are teens who just needs to feel the natural love from a parent or from the people who matters. Most troubled teens are purely looking for love and attention because they do not get it from their own homes. Parents should be able to fulfill this need for their children so that possibilities of sending a troubled teen to a boot camp will be unlikely.