What Kind of Kid Should Go to a Juvenile Boot Camp?

Most parents face challenges in raising teenagers. The teenage years often bring with them issues of rebellion as youth strive to find themselves and become independent people that can step out into the world on their own when they get out of high school.

Normal teenage rebellion is part of growing up and parents can usually handle it. But when a teenager become defiant, angry, violent or he or she runs away and gets involved in dangerous or illegal behavior outside the home that is when a parent starts to need help. When a youngster is out of control, one option is to turn to teenage boot camps to try to turn your teenager around.

It is natural when considering something as extreme as sending your child to a juvenile boot camp to have second thoughts. To put them in this kind of facility almost seems like you are having your child institutionalized or that you are sending him or her away.

This is where it can help a lot to learn more about how teenage boot camps work and what kind of kids can benefit the most from the programs they offer. Juvenile boot camps are not for every troubled teenager out there. So educate yourself about teenage boot camps and about the specific juvenile boot camps you may be considering to make sure that the methods they use to turn a teenager around are the right approach for the problems your son or daughter are having.

A Dramatic Change for the Better.

Part of the reason it is so difficult to get through to a troubled teenager is they seek out friends who are also rebellious and they develop a culture of defiance. That culture often takes everybody in it down a dangerous road toward drug abuse, violence and crime.

All teenagers feel a little alienated from their peers and from parents. But kids who “go bad” experience that alienation more dramatically and they seek out other alienated kids to commiserate with. That means bad friendships and a negative peer group that will set an expectation of further unacceptable behavior and rebellion from parents, school and society.

The value of putting your teenager in a juvenile boot camp is that those associations with other alienated kids are broken. Boot camps for kids generally will keep a troubled teenager away from his or her old relationships for anywhere from a couple weeks to several months. During that time, your teenager will go through some very challenging experiences with other youth who were put in the camp. While the other kids in your son or daughters “squadron” will also be there to correct bad behavior, they will be transformed into a supportive team that has to bond with each other to survive and finally win out against difficulties none of them could conquer alone.

During the boot camp experience, your youngster will come to value other teenagers who he or she can count on when things get tough. Reliability, real friendship, mental toughness and an unwillingness to give up will become values that a teenager will carry out of a boot camp experience.

Your child will value these traits in his or her peers and the teenager will strive to be that be that kind of friend to others as well. That transformation can radically alter how your teenager views his or her peer group forever. Often, it will be the other kids who make it through a boot camp experience with your son or daughter who will come a new peer group that will hold each other accountable in “civilian” life as much as they supported each other in the tough setting of a juvenile boot camp.

Cracking that Tough Outer Layer

There is a good reason that many kids that end up in a boot camp for teenagers are ordered there by the courts. A boot camp experience is an outstanding way to crack the tough exterior of a youngster who has run afoul of the law. The harsh treatment by drill sergeants, the tremendous strain of physical challenges and the strictly enforced rules can break down even the toughest youthful lawbreaker and open his or her mind and heart up to change.

Kids who have become hardened and oppositional to parents, teachers and even the law are perfect candidates for juvenile boot camps. These are the kind of youth who have anger control issues, demonstrate no respect for authority and who may be involved in illegal activates like drug abuse or corrupting other kids.

Many times it takes a very tough drill sergeant who is not afraid of tough street kids to get through to a youth who is that defiant and unwilling to give in to authority even under the threat of prison. Many teenagers have been turned around by juvenile boot camps that would have otherwise began a lifelong career in and out of the prison system. It is far better for these kinds of kids to go through a few months of “tough love” in a boot camp and see their lives changed than to go to incarceration where the chances of genuine reform are much worse.

Not for Every Teenager

The reasons a teenager might become troubled or get in trouble are diverse. Boot camps for teenagers are a good resource to jump start a youth who has become difficult, defiant and whose behavior may be taking him or her to some serious trouble. But if your teenage son or daughter is going through anxiety, depression, dealing with drug issues or has serious self esteem problems and that is causing him or her to act out and become alienated, disobedient, unresponsive or rebellious, you are well advised to leave a boot camp for teenagers as a last resort.

It is always a good idea to try to build relationship and establish communication through less drastic measures than a teenage boot camp. By having your teenager talk to trusted counselors at school, church or through a professional psychologist, you may get a clearer picture of what is going on in the mind and the emotional system of your adolescent.

With that insight, you can find ways to help your youngster turn things around and put those negative thoughts and feelings in perspective. That solution might be a small group counseling session or another kind of camp or retreat that focuses on rehabilitation or inner healing. There are numerous such camps that use many of the good ideas of juvenile boot camps without the physical duress that a hard core boot camp environment can put on your child.

By being informed and finding the right solution for your particular child, parents will be the ones to be able to make an informed decision about whether their troubled teenager is the right kind of kid to go to a juvenile boot camp. And when that decision is based on thoughtful research and discussion with the teenager and his counselors, the chances the solution you pick will be the right one will be very high.

Here are additional resources you might be interested in:

Achieving Your Goals When Selecting a Juvenile Boot Camp

The Lessons That Are Learned at a Teen Boot Camp

Does Your Troubled Teen Need a Juvenile Boot Camp?