Boot Camps: Are They Good for Troubled Teenagers?

As a parent, the last thing on your mind is sending your teenager away to a boot camp for behavior issues. Unless of course that teenager is acting out, troubled, and seemingly irrational. The thought of sending your child to a boot camp can be scary but it doesn’t have to be. There are many different types of boot camps and they can be very beneficial. But how can you be sure? What things should you, as the parent, be looking at to make sure you’re making the right decision?

First and foremost it’s important to get references. References are great because you can ask other parents how their child’s experience was or is at the camp and what their opinion of it is. You can find references through local troubled teenagers programs and online reviews. Don’t be afraid to call them to ask any questions you have. You want to be sure you get as much information as possible from a reliable source so you can know you’re putting your child in the best hands.

It’s also important to get in contact with a local program for troubled teenagers. They can give you contacts for the boot camps you’re researching, proof of success, and the accreditation and licensures. These things are all important because it wouldn’t work if a child goes to a boot camp that hasn’t had much success or doesn’t have the proper credentials, there could be no progress made.

Along with getting references and contacts to help with information, do your own extensive research. Research things such as: Has the camp been known to be appropriate? How does it handle children and teenagers that have been victims of abuse? Is it personal? Sometimes camps can fail because they have a reputation for being inappropriate or worse for victims of abuse. When a camp is inappropriate, it usually means the leaders have their own ways of discipline or teaching/learning tactics. For instance, at a wilderness camp a child may be left to sleep in the rain if they’re being defiant and won’t build a shelter. And at a military boot camp it could be bad for victims of abuse because the child(ren) might not be able to handle an environment with increased stress.

Remember sending a child or teenager to a boot camp to try to change their behaviors will only work if everyone is willing to make changes. Many times the child will return home and still have the same tendencies. As the parent you’ll need to work on how you can help them improve and get better each day. Going away to a camp is extremely difficult on everyone involved but coming home can sometimes be more difficult. Making the decision to send your child to a boot camp for troubled children or teenagers is a personal decision and should be made only by you or maybe with the help of a professional who knows the situation.

Deciding to send the child you love to get help is going to be hard. But it doesn’t have to be scary and you don’t have to do it alone. Do your research and know you are doing the best you can.

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