Is A Youth Boot Camp A Good Idea For My Troubled Teen?

When your child is struggling with discipline issues and rebellious behavior, you would do anything to help them bring their life back on track. Youth boot camps are often mentioned as a potential option to herd an acting-out teen back onto the straight and narrow. However, youth boot camps do not have the tools to help a troubled teen overcome their struggles.

What Youth Boot Camps Have To Offer

Youth boot camps are marketed to parents as a crash course in discipline for their deviant teenagers, but these programs lack the ability to offer real change. What these programs do offer are:

  • Short program length – Often, youth boot camps will offer various short-term program lengths for parents, starting around four weeks. This flexibility in program time can be highly appealing to families who don’t want their teens gone for long.
  • More affordable – Due to their shorter length and few services, such as the lack of therapy, youth boot camps are more affordable than other troubled teen rehabilitation programs.
  • Focused discipline – The idea of having a drill sergeant-like person get their teen into shape appeals to many parents, though it often reinforces the belief that power is gained through aggression.

Also, boot camps are not like military schools. Over the years, military schools have moved away from accepting troubled teens, instead focusing on teenagers with academic excellence who are looking to join the military in the future. The most prestigious military schools can even send their top students to military universities such as West Point, now that they are not cultivating a troubled teen program.

More Effective Programs For Troubled Teens

Rather than choosing to send your child to a youth boot camp, there are other options to choose from when it comes to programs dedicated to helping troubled teens.

  • Therapeutic boarding school – As the name implies, a therapeutic boarding school emphasizes therapy while having teens attend their school. Unlike a regular boarding school, every teen has a tailored care plan, which covers their therapy as well as academic, social, and other applicable needs.
  • Residential treatment center – The most immersive therapeutic program for struggling teenagers is attendance at a residential treatment center for troubled teens. These programs often take in fewer students so that they can provide a high staff-to-student ratio.

To help you sort through the various troubled teen programs available, contact us. We have over 20 years of experience helping families find healing places for their troubled teens, and we do this completely free of charge.

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