Help Your Teen Now No Longer Recommends Youth Boot Camps For Behavior Modification

Behavior Modification

Over the years, we’ve learned more about the psychology of adolescents and troubled teens in particular. Once, the prevailing wisdom was that a teen with behavioral issues could be set on the right course through brief immersion in a program emphasizing military-style structure and authority.

Most experts now agree this tough approach fails to address the root causes of why your teen may be acting out. In many cases, it can even backfire. As a result, Help Your Teen Now no longer recommends youth boot camps as a healthy and lasting form of behavior modification.

Boot Camps Don’t Offer Enough Therapeutic Support

By the time a parent makes the difficult decision to send their troubled teen away, they’ve likely tried every possible way to deal with issues like:

  • Anger, disrespect and defiance
  • Bullying, fighting and violence
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Lying/stealing
  • Risky sexual behaviors
  • Running away
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

At Help Your Teen Now, we recognize that while these behaviors are problematic, they may be masking mental illness like:

  • ADHD
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Because teen boot camps focus on altering behavior, they don’t generally include therapeutic programs. Instead, they aim for transformation through a confrontational style and an emphasis on discipline and punishment.

Adolescents struggling with psychiatric issues are highly sensitive, and can be harmed rather than helped by a boot camp’s authoritarian philosophy. Your angry teen is likely to come home even angrier, with a festering resentment that further fuels the chaos in your home.

Troubled Teens Need Time And Therapy to Heal

At Help Your Teen Now, we believe teens who are floundering need more time to heal than the 4- to 6-week duration typical of teen boot camps. This is just one of the reasons we work to help families find the best residential treatment center for their troubled teens.

We also prefer this form of intervention because a good residential treatment center crafts an individual treatment plan, rather than adopting a one-size-fits all approach to its students. An effective plan includes access to staff members qualified to administer any medication that may be needed. It also includes time with licensed therapists skilled at building trust in angry and defiant teens rather than barking orders.

Residential treatment center typically provide Intensive therapy, including one-on-one, group and family sessions. Through therapy, a troubled teen can learn more positive thought patterns, develop coping skills and repair strained family relationships.

Troubled Teens Need A Brighter Future

At boot camps, the main aim is the quick eradication of problem behavior. A good residential treatment center for troubled teens, by contrast, keeps your child’s long-term needs in mind.

A residential treatment center is far more likely than a boot camp to feature qualified teachers using an accredited curriculum. The aim is for your child to graduate with their peers and matriculate to a brighter future.

You may have already decided a residential treatment center is a better option than a boot camp for your troubled teen. It can be hard, however, to choose among the countless schools and programs out there. Figuring out how to pay for this major investment in your child’s future can be an added headache.

At Help Your Teen Now, we’re committed to helping you find a safe haven where your child can heal, a service we provide free of charge. We can also provide expert advice in financing attendance at a residential treatment center. If you and your troubled teen are in over your heads, we encourage you to contact us today.

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