One of the hardest parenting moments is knowing your teen needs the kind of help they can only find at a boot camp. However, for some troubled teens sending them to boot camp is the best decision you can make for their future.
What Is Boot Camp?
A therapeutic boot camp is very similar to a military boot camp. The living conditions and discipline will be much like that of the actual military which may make a boot camp a good option for some troubled teens. The structure and discipline gives them a really hard look at what life in prison will be life if they do not change their ways. Some kids need this type of reality check. Since boot camps usually lack a therapy component, these programs are not recommended for troubled teens with a history of any type of abuse including self-harm and drugs.
Are Boot Camps Safe?
Every once in a while boot camps get some negative press including management issues and abuse or neglect. However, there are things you can do to ensure the safety and success of your troubled teen at boot camp.
First, make sure the program has been accredited by a nationally recognized organization and fully licensed by the state it operates in.
Second, ask for references or other proof of success.
Third, ask yourself if you really feel your troubled teen is going to benefit from the boot camp experience. That may seem like a silly question but only you know your child best. If your child shuts down when yelled at, perhaps boot camp is not the right place to send them.
Fourth, is your troubled teen in good physical health? This is military-style boot camp so if they are overweight, have asthma, or another medical condition that could be made worse by the intense physical activity perhaps your child would be better served in another type of program.
Fifth, do not expect the boot camp to do all the work. If you send your troubled teen away to the highly structured environment of boot camp, but do not change the structure and expectations at home then you, the parent, are not ready for the boot camp experience.
Sixth, look for a therapy component. Since most boot camps lack this element they can be hard to find.
Alternatives To Traditional Boot Camps
If you troubled teen needs the structure of boot camp but not all the yelling equine therapy programs blend the boot camp type experiences with the hard work of real working ranch. Most parents are not aware equine therapy programs offer the intense structure of boot camp without military theme.