Getting your troubled teen professional help is a must, but what kind of facility would best be able to help your child? Many parents start looking at military schools for troubled teens as a way to eliminate antisocial behavior, but they may not be aware of all the different options available.
The truth is that military school is probably not the best option for your troubled teen, and you should question why and get the help you need to figure out what type of program your teen really needs. Many military schools won’t even accept teenagers who have a history of problems, as they are meant not to force teens into discipline, but to prepare them for a career in the military later on. Only special military school programs will allow a troubled teen entry for the purpose of “straightening them out”.
How Do Parents Know If A Military School For Troubled Teens Is The Best Option?
There is a wealth of knowledge about the teen help industry, including information about different kinds of teen help programs. From therapeutic boarding schools and residential treatment centers to wilderness camps, boot camps and military schools, there is no shortage of options for you to consider moving forward.
It is important to start dispelling myths and misunderstandings about teen help programs. For example, military school is not really an appropriate place to send troubled teenagers. It’s common for parents to think of military schools as a place that is strict, structured and staffed with people who will take a hard line on discipline. However, these schools are not designed to help troubled teens, nor do they contain a therapy component to address emotional, behavioral and mental health issues. In other words, experienced advisers would never recommend military school for your troubled teen.
Benefits of Programs Besides Military Schools For Troubled Teens
Military school for troubled teenagers is not the only option for parents of troubled teens. There are all kinds of teen help programs that provide better care and help for those struggling with emotional, behavioral and mental illnesses.
Wilderness camps: These programs are generally 2 to 3 months long and are a good way to get teens to get used to a new life of professional help, living away from home and working on changing their behaviors. As a transition plan, wilderness camps are a good idea, but there are few long-term benefits from it. There’s simply not enough time for much therapy or academics at a wilderness camp, and they are better used as a transition time or temporary solution while a more permanent one is found.
Residential treatment centers: These highly clinical facilities usually require a 6 to 9 month stay and focus on treatment for a range of issues, with more of a medical recovery focus. Usually these types of centers deal more with substance abuse, serious mental health disorders and similar issues requiring a high level of treatment. Academics can be a part of some residential treatment centers and may be implemented at varying degrees, but not all of them do.
Therapeutic boarding schools: These schools for troubled teens are the ideal alternative to teen military schools. They provide the security and safety that other programs provide, yet also have a highly successful school structure including regular classes, specialty classes and after-school activities. Therapy is conducted several times per week, both individual and group.
While typical teenage rebellion is to be expected, when kids become aggressive, defiant, abusive, and irresponsible, it is definitely time to consider that they may need the structure and support of a proven teen help program that is not a military school.
Issues Facing Teens In Need of Military Schools For Troubled Teens
When teens struggle with physical, mental or emotional challenges, they often demonstrate extreme behavior, make poor choices, and can even endanger their own life or the lives of others. They participate in risky behavior that can jeopardize their future with long-term consequences, especially if nothing is done to help them.
Here are just some of the risky behaviors that troubled teens may engage in:
- Alcohol abuse
- Binge drinking
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Drug abuse
- Violence and using weapons
- Risky sexual activity
- Breaking the law
When parents of troubled teens don’t know what to do to provide help, many of them contact the nearest military school hoping that could be the answer. When these schools are willing to take these teens on, they don’t advise the parents of the potential risks, or let them know that they are lacking the proper treatment options necessary to help them get over these issues. You may be putting your teen in a dangerous situation.
This is not just a problem of staff. State laws will often offer a different set of rules for a military school than they will a therapeutic boarding school or residential treatment center. For example, they are under no obligation to deal with the emotional or even mental needs of their students. There is no requirement to have psychiatrists or therapists on staff. There is no law regarding mental health statutes. All of this makes it an ill suited place for a troubled teen needing help.
Research Options Other than Military School For Troubled Teens
All the teen help programs out there, whether it is a behavior boot camp, therapeutic boarding school, wilderness program or residential treatment center, have a similar purpose–to help troubled teens with their current problems. Depending on what your teen is struggling with, one facility may be better than another in leading them toward health and healing. Making that decision is difficult, but having a general idea of your options can help.