Is your child consistently disrespectful towards authority? Are they disobedient and could care less about following rules? Are you tired of them being defiant towards you? Have they been in trouble with the law or do you see them heading in that direction? Is your child free from serious emotional and psychological problems?
If you can answer “Yes” to all those questions, Teen Boot Camps may be an option for you to consider. They are modeled after military style boot camps and are centered around structure and discipline, kind of like a “scared straight” tactic. These boot camps are either run by government agencies or privately owned. Many participants in boot camps are either assigned by courts or attend as an alternative in lieu of jail time. Regardless of who operates the camp, make sure it is fully licensed and accredited. Unfortunately, some boot camps have given the industry a bad rap and it’s the schools that are unlicensed that tend to make mistakes. Ask for referrals to ensure the program you are considering has been well received by others.
Boot camps usually last between 6 to 8 weeks. During this time, participants will be taught responsibility, self-control, and respect for authority. They will be required to obey each and every rule and will be given consequences for disobedience. While kids are punished for breaking the rules, they quickly adapt and begin making better choices. These same teens will begin to feel what it’s like to follow rules, complete assignments and challenges, while becoming intrinsically motivated to achieve that same satisfaction again.
Many kids need to operate in “black and white”, meaning they need instructions, procedures, and rules clearly and consistently applied. If your child has difficulty operating in that “grey” area, and it’s difficult for them to make good decisions, boot camps are an excellent choice. Kids know what to expect day in and day out.
Classwork is a major portion of the day and students can continue their schoolwork. Physical exercise and activities are also part of the daily regime that teach teens that hard work can pay off.
Boot camps are short-term programs that many see as a “kick in the pants” or “wake-up call” that puts teens back on the right path. However, because it is a short-term program and often only gets short-term results, many parents may elect to send them to traditional or therapeutic boarding schools after boot camps. Most of these schools work closely with boot camps and have developed ways to transition smoothly from one to another.
Teen boot camps are not designed to figure out emotional and psychological issues. There is very little, if any at all, personal therapy that goes on. Teens that show signs of these challenges are not accepted and will be referred to a more appropriate treatment center.
The cost of teen boot camps can range between $2000 and $9000 a month. Many have monthly payment options, some as low as $200 a month.
Boot camps do work and can lead many teens towards self-respect, discipline, respect for authority, and most importantly, respect for their parents. You must remember though, no program is 100% successful. However, there have been enough success stories to warrant further investigation into boot camps, especially if your child has the characteristics that boot camps are best suited for.
Do you know a teen that has been helped by attending boot camp? Please share your thoughts and help others make an informed decision.