Modifying Behavior With A Youth Boot Camp – Why It’s A Thing Of The Past

Parents who are looking to help their troubled teens have many programs to consider. Some parents have opted for troubled youth boot camps, hoping it will provide a quick course correction for their teens. But as these parents have found, modifying their teens' troubled behavior is not that easy.

Boot Camps Only Have A Short-Term Effect

When their teens are acting out, boot camps can seem extremely appealing to parents who want someone to enforce military-like discipline and orderly behavior on their teens. However, this discipline and change are short-lived due to a variety of factors.

  • Short program duration - Most troubled teen boot camp programs only last for a few weeks up to a couple of months. For a teen to undergo real behavioral modification, more time is required to unlearn bad habits and to learn how to behave correctly.
  • Lack of buy-in - Part of the changes which are achieved at a military boot camp is because the recruits chose to be there. As most troubled teens do not want to be in a youth boot camp, that lack of program buy-in can affect how effective the short-term program is in changing their behaviors.
  • Underlying issues unaddressed - Boot camps address defiance and other undesirable behaviors by assigning extra pushups, laps to run, and other forms of exertion. However, while this addresses the outward behavior, it does not reach why that behavior exists.

Permanent Behavioral Change Takes Time

Instead of choosing a troubled youth boot camp to help your teenager modify their troubled behaviors, you may want to consider a residential treatment center. These programs offer many of the things which boot camps do not, which are:

  • Structure and therapy - For out-of-control teens, a combination of therapy and structure is needed to enact behavioral modification. Residential treatment centers offer different types of daily therapy and a well-structured daily schedule to help teens reshape their behaviors and attitudes.
  • Discipline, not punishment - Through this structured schedule, discipline is an inherent aspect which leads to natural consequences. Unlike boot camps which punish failures to follow discipline, residential treatment centers allow for natural consequences to allow teens to learn.
  • Time for growth - Treatment at a residential treatment center can range from six months to a couple of years, allowing the troubled teens to build up healthy patterns and behaviors over time.

If you feel like a residential treatment center may be a better fit for your teenage son's needs, you can contact us to discuss your concerns and questions with one of our placement counselors.

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