Adolescent years are some of the most trying years for both children and their parents. It’s a time when children are struggling to make their own choices and sometimes, making bad ones can really define one’s life in a profound way. Out of control teens can often get involved with drugs, experiment with sex, violent behavior, lying, stealing, and more. Parents who have teens who are acting out in such dangerous and self-destructive ways are often at a loss at what else to do.
It’s likely that the atmosphere at home is too charged to make a positive impact on the teen, and that relationships at home have been strained to breaking point. One of the possible interventions that parents may think of using is teen boot camp for out of control teens. Some parents who have teens that have serious issues resort to making their teens choose between going to boot camp or juvenile facilities. There are mixed opinions about teen boot camps because they do have varied results for different cases.
One reason why some teen boot camps don’t work is that parents don’t check if they’re enrolling their child to a licensed boot camp or what the license the camp acquired is for. Not inspecting the license, who issued it, and the details or provisions of the license could mean that you’re not getting your teen the right kind of help he/she needs.
While these boot camps for out of control teens can help get your teens’ attention and force them into submission in a military-based environment, there are a lot of issues that came up because of the approach. Initially, teen boot camps received a lot of support from parents and from political groups. However, as issues and questions about their methods and results piled up, support for teen boot camps began to wane. There have even been reports of accidental deaths occuring while teens are inside the camp due to the brutal nature of punishments that were enforced.
There are a few benefits that teens can get from such a rigid structure that aims to “break the kids in order to bring them back to the family”. Some kids learn to fear authority figures, they benefit from the rigid structure run inside teen boot camps, with days starting out as early as 5am and a continued barrage of calesthenics and other physically taxing tasks until night. However, the question is whether these teen boot camps are really addressing the issues that are driving kids to do bad things.
Teen boot camps, because they are based on a military school model, do not inherently have clinical therapy included in their program for struggling teens. In a sense, what it does is to use confrontation, negative punishment, and rigid routines to treat the symptoms rather while all the while ignoring what is causing the symptoms. Most teens will do their best to survive the camp and when they get back home, they try not to let their parents know about their struggles so that they will not have to go through that again. However, it doesn’t guarantee real and sincere change.
There are other forms of intervention that could help your child attain a real change in their life. You can try sending your child to wilderness camps. In these camps, there’s a good amount of physical activity and emphasis on healthy lifestyle which can cultivate a real sense of personal responsibility. However, the wilderness living and activities only provide a groundwork for what could be a more important component in your child’s journey to wellness, which is an intensive amount of therapy. The wilderness is the vehicle that takes principles of clinical therapy to your struggling teen.
Teen boot camps could probably be beneficial for certain kinds of teens who do not have underlying learning challenges (such as ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, et al.) or deeply ingrained behavioral problems such as depression. There are teens who do well in teen boot camps, and there are those who come out of it worse than when they went in.