What is a boot camp for teens?There’s nothing a parent won’t do when their kids are struggling. When you feel like you’ve exhausted all of your options and don’t know where else to turn, you may consider a boot camp to help your struggling child or teen. Boot camps for teens are designed with the same tactics used in military schools and boot camps. In most situations, at-risk youth are enrolled in private book camps to work through and stop poor behavior and decision-making. As short-term programs, teen boot camps are highly structured. They take a military-style approach to the programs that they offer. They integrate military training, rigorous physical activity, authoritative teaching methods, and strict discipline to help turn around defiance, anger, and other destructive behaviors. The goal and the hope of these boot camps are to transform the bad attitude into one of a well-behaved soldier who makes the right decisions and respects authority.
How do boot camps work?Boot camps for teens can be effective if you’re looking to instill and build strength and discipline in teens. But they typically do not offer the therapeutic solutions that can help to identify and work through the underlying issues that may be responsible for the teen’s defiance and rebellion. Boot camps are designed to push participants to physical extremes as they learn to cope with consequences and better respect authority. These programs are excellent for teens who need to be more disciplined in their lives, but they are not necessarily the best choice for teens who are struggling mentally.
Is a boot camp right for your teen?For teens in crisis, boot camp programs will not be the most effective option. While boot camps for kids and teens can be significant and genuinely help them turn their lives around, they are a one-size-fits-all program that doesn’t necessarily work for those with mental wellness concerns. With everything that boot camps offer, here are some reasons why they may not be the right choice for your teen.
- As boot camps don’t address underlying concerns, they don’t truly create sustainable change for troubled teens once they return home.
- Boot camps focus on following orders versus teaching responsibility, leadership, and autonomy.
- Families are rarely involved in the progress teens make at boot camps. A broken family dynamic is often one of the main reasons why teens need to be sent to boot camps. Working with each family member is a way to bring the family closer together.
- The average boot camp will use a strict schedule, tight structure, exercise, and consequences as part of their core program. They don’t help teens learn effective coping mechanisms to learn how to address their struggles better.