How much do you know about teen boot camps? Are you curious about whether a military boot camp could be the right choice to help your teen work through the issues he’s struggling with? Boot camps for teens are often highlighted in a negative way when they pop up in the media or on television shows, or in movies. Negativity does, of course, make more compelling storytelling than the positive sides of anything. When considering something like a boot camp for your teen, it’s important to consider all aspects of these facilities so that you can make the best, informed decision.
What is a teen boot camp?
Some of what you may have seen in the media and in entertainment may be accurate for some types of teen boot camps. These facilities are highly structured, typically short-term, military-style programs. They use a combination of methods with the goal of encouraging angry, destructive, and defiant teens to turn their behavior around.
Some of the methods that could be used in a military boot camp for teens may include the following.
- Authoritative teaching methods
- Military training and structure
- Physical activity that may include rigorous exercise
- Strict discipline
The goal is often to help turn around the attitude and behaviors of troubled teens so that they can return home with the positive attitude and behaviors of what would be considered a good soldier.
Military boot camps for troubled teens have been designed to help teach teens how to respect authority figures, abide by the rules and boundaries that are set, and how to effectively cope and deal with the consequences of breaking those rules and boundaries. Many camps have been known for pushing teens well past their physical limits, sometimes with terrible results.
Who is a teen boot camp right for?
A military-style boot camp may be the right choice for a teen who wants to become much more disciplined in all ways. But they are not typically an effective option for teens who are facing serious struggles, whatever those struggles might be. Boot camps don’t generally offer therapeutic treatment programs for those who need them. Teens may learn more about how to be better organized, better disciplined, and learn how to follow and respect orders and those giving them, but if they need mental health help, they don’t get it in this type of environment.
Most military boot camps for teens are set up to be a one-size environment, which is not always ideal for those in need of much more intense help, guidance, and treatment.
Could a military boot camp be right for your teen?
Have you tried everything to help your troubled teen get his life and behavior back on track? It could be that you feel you’ve exhausted all of your options, and military boot camp sounds like it might be the best option. You know your teen and his personality better than anyone, even if it may feel like you don’t recognize him most of the time.
There are a few things to ask yourself when considering a boot camp for your teen.
- Is your teen struggling with something that may be responsible for his bad behavior?
- Have you tried several types of therapeutic solutions for your teen? If he didn’t respond well to one therapist, it could just be that he hasn’t found a good connection with this therapist. Sometimes it does take trying a few therapists and types of therapy before you find the one that resonates with your troubled teen.
- Is your teen angry and violent? Or is his behavior more disruptive than anything else?
- Does your teen struggle in school? Has he fallen behind on his schoolwork, and have his grades dropped?
- Does your teen have a mental health issue? Do you suspect he may be using alcohol and drugs?
If your teen is truly problematic but isn’t struggling with mental health or addiction, boot camp may be what he needs to learn more about discipline, leadership, and teamwork. That said, even teens who aren’t troubled teens may find some benefit in a military boot camp if they are looking to learn more about the structure and the physical fitness that this type of facility can offer. Not all of the teens in a military boot camp will be troubled. But not all troubled teens will be good candidates to go to these types of facilities.
Are there any downsides to military boot camps?
It is important to point out that not all military boot camps designed for teens are going to be the same. Some are going to be better than others, which is something to be aware of if you go down the path of considering this option for your troubled teen. There are some benefits to be seen with a boot camp if it’s a good fit for a teen. They can learn about that all-important structure and discipline. They can also find out more about how to cope with the consequences of their poor decisions. Teens who attend these military styled boot camps can also learn more about how to make life-long friends with others who are facing the same struggles they are. This camaraderie can also help teens learn more about what a future in the military could look like.
The downsides to these types of facilities should be noted. They may include the following.
- Teens with mental health issues will not get the treatment that they need. They may learn a lot, but without treating the underlying mental health concerns, they will not be able to recover, heal, and focus on their future.
- If a teen is struggling with drugs or alcohol, he won’t get the correct type of treatment he needs to recover. He may stop using while he’s at the boot camp but without treating any underlying concerns, he’ll likely just go straight back to using and abusing once he goes home.
- Teens who are struggling with low self-esteem or anxiety may actually see a worsening of their mental health in a boot camp that often pushes teens to their mental and physical limits.
Keep your teen’s personality in mind when you’re looking for options to help him. He may be struggling now and may not be entirely fun to be around, but with the right type of treatment, he can find his way back.
Are you wondering if a teen military boot camp is the right option for your teen? Call HelpYourTeenNow to find out more about the options that you have to get your teen the right type of help. We can pair you with the information and resources that you need to make the right decision for your teen’s needs.