How A Boot Camp Strategy Isn’t the Best Way to “Straighten Out” Your Aggressive Teen

For a while it was the latest fad. Unruly teens were sent to a boot camp in order to “straighten them out.” Some of those boot camps are still in existence today. In fact, many exist in several locations within the United States. In recent years, however, professionals have come to think poorly of the boot camp strategy. The notion of scaring the wits out of teenagers in order to curb their aggression is no longer viewed as a viable alternative.

According to a recent report, these boot camps aren’t particularly safe environments into which to send aggressive and troubled teens. Not all of these boot camps are accredited, and even some that are likely shouldn’t be. Lack of accreditation has resulted in the hiring of staff members with criminal backgrounds including domestic abuse and sexual abuse.

The discipline at these boot camps is often unsafe. Discipline measures used in the past have included making teens go for long periods of time without sustenance. Food and water has been withheld. Physical abuse, including electro-shock therapy has been implemented, as have tasing, choking and beatings. This doesn’t teach discipline. It teaches violence instead. No aggressive teenager should be subjected to these means of so-called discipline.

Psychological abuse has also been documented in some of these boot camps. Solitary confinement and humiliation will serve only to increase the aggression in an aggressive teenager. In addition to the aforementioned means of “discipline,” teens at these boot camps have also endured sexual molestation and rape, as well as endless verbal abuse.

In recent years, some parents have been tricked into signing over custody of their teens to these boot camps. No facility worth its salt will ever ask parents to give up their children. Parents must always scrutinize any and all papers they sign—especially where their children are concerned—and consider getting legal advice if anything appears amiss.

Because of hiring unskilled staff members, many of these boot camps mandate “one size fits all” methods of treatment. Aggressive teens may be a unique group, but no two are exactly alike. These kinds of treatment can actually do more harm than good. Troubled teenagers require treatment by trained professionals. They deserve treatment that is specifically designed for their particular needs.

Even if you’ve reached the end of your rope with your aggressive teen, a boot camp definitely isn’t the best way to “straighten them out.” In fact, they probably shouldn’t even be on your radar. Instead, consider troubled teen boarding schools, which have programs that help your teenager understand why he acts the way he does, so he can make safe, healthy changes for a brighter future.

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