Future Expectations Today

Choosing a Boot Camp for Troubled Teens


Boot camps are programs for disrespectful and defiant teenagers who have significant problems with authority. They are known for their military style curriculum and can be used to teach a troubled teen structure and discipline through the use of intense physical training and rigorous military exercises. Fifty years ago, many parents chose military schools as a place to send their defiant teens, but as the admission process to those schools has become more selective, many parents are beginning to choose boot camps for their teens, instead.

Boot camps function under the theory that defiant teens need a “kick in the pants” to turn around destructive behavior. However, in some cases, a short-term boot camp stay is not enough for a teen to make a long-term change in his or her life. Therefore, it is essential to thoroughly research boot camp options before committing to one.

Boot Camp Types

There are several different types of teenage boot camps. Some are run by state governments and serve as substitute troubled teen programs in lieu of prison or jail. Others are run by private organizations, and, typically, these programs result in having a greater effect on the teens that attend them. Research has shown that the rate of recidivism for teens that attend boot camps run by the state government is as high as 94%. Although private boot camps have lower recidivism rates, the cost associated with these programs is generally greater than state-run programs.

Boot Camp and Your Unmanageable Teen

In most cases, boot camps managed by the state only allow teens to enter them if they are ordered to do so by the judicial system. Enrollment is easier in private boot camps. Private boot camps may also operate with other programs including military boarding schools, residential treatment programs, and wilderness programs.

Boot camps are not always the best treatment option for a troubled teen. Before selecting a boot camp program, you should first consider whether your teen is out of control. The teenage years are stressful for most kids, and many will rebel from their parents to some extent. However, if his or her attitude toward family and life in general turns negative, then you may have reason to be concerned. You should also try other options before selecting boot camp, such as restricting his or her freedom or privileges. If you have exhausted all possible options and are still dealing with an unmanageable teen, then a boot camp program may be the best option for you.

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