Finding Alternatives to Sending Your Teenager to a Juvenile Boot Camp

Living with teenagers is not easy. By nature, teenagers are rebellious and sometimes defy the authority of their parents, teachers or other authority figures. It may be of some comfort to parents who are dealing with an especially hard headed teenager that all parents get exasperated with their teenage sons or daughters and sometimes consider drastic actions to get a difficult youngster to toe the line.

One such drastic action that may have crossed your mind is to send your teenager to a juvenile boot camp for some serious tough love. But it is worth it to calm down and consider the facts about juvenile boot camps. Then when you understand the nature of boot camps for teenagers, you may be able to find a good alternative to “fix” a defiant teenager that is not as drastic as sending the child away to a military style juvenile boot camp.

It is good to educate yourself about the purpose of juvenile boot camps that use a military style discipline to turn the lives of troubled teenagers around. The techniques used at these boot camps for teenagers are often harsh, excessively difficult and uncompromising. The physical training is intense and there is no refusing to participate. The comparison to a real military boot camp is not accidental because juvenile boot camps use “drill sergeants” who are often very tough adults who had years of experience in using intimidation, yelling, verbal abuse and peer pressure to “break” those under them so they can mold them into different kinds of persons.

These boot camps are generally designed for teenagers who are in trouble with the law as an alternative to juvenile detention or prison. The courts will sometimes sentence violent or seriously troubled teenagers to a juvenile boot camp as an alternative to more severe detention as a “last chance” to turn that youth around before he or she descends into a life of crime, drug abuse or worse.

It Takes a Village

Even though many juvenile boot camps are run for profit and advertise heavily, they would never advise parents to send their teenager to this kind of environment if it is not right for the teenager. The drill sergeants at a juvenile boot camp are prepared to deal with some very tough characters. The programs are intense and harsh and the other “campers” are very likely to be tough kids with criminal records. This is no place for a teenager who is not so far gone in their youthful rebellion that they face serious problems with the law.

If you simply want to find a way to get your teenager going the right direction because he or she is disobedient, mouthy or lazy, there are plenty of alternatives you can turn to that will help your son or daughter without using use radical methods that are employed at juvenile boot camps. Many times getting your teenager involved in a worthwhile local teen organization can give him or her focus without excessive cost and without having to “send away” a child that is not “troubled” in the ways that would require the use of a military style boot camp.

The teenager years are a time when youth do well learning from mentors in society other than mom and dad. Youth organizations like The Boys Clubs, The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts or youth groups at local churches provide safe mentoring for teenagers that help instill values while offering healthy social outlets at the same time. In this way, a teenager can learn good priorities, a work ethic and strong community values from other members of their neighbors, adults at their church or parents of their friends. This is a very natural way to turn a teenager around taking advantage of the “village” that all parents can use to help each other raise good kids.

Other Kinds of Camps

The military style boot camps are not the only kinds of retreats or camps that are designed to enhance the lives of teenagers who are in need of some guidance and mentoring. A good example is a wilderness adventure camp for teenagers. These camps are administered by experienced outdoors men who can take youth and a guided adventure that challenges them with wilderness survival situations.

These kinds of challenging camps use the bonding experience of shared adventures to build community and to inspire everyone in the group to become active members to share the work and the fun together. The values taught by a few days in this kind of camp can carry over into life and build valuable friendships for your teenager that can last a lifetime.

If you have a need to provide focus for your teenager in specific areas, there are camps that provide a great setting for academic discipline, to build skills for a future in sports or for religious retreat to enhance a young person’s sense of spirituality and understanding of their faith. These alternatives to military style boot camps use the value of letting teenagers “get away” for a little while with discipline, counseling and shared experiences to help focus a youth on good priorities in life.

If your young person seems adrift, is rebellious or without focus, there are a wide variety of youth camps that can help get your son or daughter on track. By researching your options thoroughly, you can find the perfect alternative to a juvenile boot camp that provides the same value of turning around a youth without the potential damage and expense of a harsh boot camp experience.

Here are additional resources you might be interested in:

How are Kids with Behavioral Problems Disciplined in Juvenile Boot Camps?

Things to Think About When Selecting a Tough Love Boot Camp

Getting Your Troubled Teenager Ready for Boot Camp

How Long Can I Expect My Teenager to be at a Juvenile Boot Camp?