How Do Teen Bootcamps Improve Behavior?

As a parent struggling with the behaviors of your teen, you may be looking into options that extend beyond outpatient therapies and treatment solutions. Teen boot camps are an option that can often come up once you start to delve into the types of resources that are available for troubled teens and their parents. Boot camps have long been portrayed in a hugely negative light on television shows and in movies. So, it’s not surprising that you may have several questions about them. What are they really? How can boot camps help teens, and do they really improve teen behavior? Getting answers to all your questions is important and can help you to choose the right solution to meet the needs of your teenager. 

What is the purpose of boot camps?

When you think about a boot camp, there are good odds that you’re envisioning military-style camps where youngsters are asked to run across muddy and cold obstacle courses in the dark. With more programs being announced almost daily, it’s easy to see why it’s sometimes difficult to understand just what these programs are and what they are designed to do.

There are certainly several negative aspects of some types of boot camps that have been highlighted and sensationalized. But the right type of boot camp will not treat teenagers poorly.

It’s important to keep in mind that there may be key differences between programs, and not each program is going to be the right choice for your teen. You know what a military boot camp is – also sometimes referred to as basic training, it’s a program that serves to introduce civilians to the structure, rules, and customs of life in military service. It’s highly structured, with little room for flexibility.

Broadly speaking, teen boot camps have several key differences from a standard basic training military boot camp, with the primary being that they are not designed to introduce teens to life in the military. While still highly structured, these military-style programs offer short-term rehabilitation opportunities for teens who are struggling in other areas of their life. Parents also find that boot camps can help to break their teens from their reliance on technology and devices. 

They are designed to partially emulate a military boot camp by using authoritative methods of teaching, physical activity, rigorous exercise programs, and also strict discipline designed to help troubled, defiant, angry, and also destructive teens turn their lives around.

After completing the boot camp, teens should be ready to tackle the challenges that life brings their way. Using the structure and leadership skills that teen boot camps work to instill in them.

Parents who are searching for boot camps should keep in mind that these highly structured programs are not typically the best option for teens who are struggling with mental health concerns that are contributing to poor behavior and decisions. There is no one-size solution when it comes to working to help your teen with his behavioral issues. A boot camp is a great choice for teens who need to learn structure and better behavioral approaches. But a solution that combines this structure, physical activity, and strong boundaries, with therapeutic programs, is often a better direction for some teens.

Why do parents send their child to boot camp?

It’s easy to second-guess your decision to get more help for your teen. Learning more about the reasons that parents send their child to boot camp can help to reassure you that you’re making the right decision for your child and his future.

The reasons may differ between families, as situations can vary greatly between families. But there are some common reasons seen, including the following.

  •       To help keep teens from being arrested if their behavior is out of control and they’re turning to breaking the law.
  •       For substance abuse problems, whether drugs or alcohol. 
  •       To help teens break from gang-related behaviors and activities that may be leading down the wrong path.
  •       To address behavioral problems that are out of control.

You may have tried stricter boundaries and consequences at home. You may have tried outpatient counseling and working with your teen’s teachers and coaches. But nothing seems to be helping you get through to your teen so that his behavior can be turned around again. It’s at this point that so many parents realize that a more structured environment may be the better option for their teen. A boot camp, or a program that helps to directly address the needs of your teen, without the distractions he’s getting at home or at school, may be the best way to help correct the course that his life is currently on.

What is the youngest age for boot camp?

When you start looking into boot camp options for your child, there are several questions you’re sure to have and several you should definitely have. Get sure that you get the answers to your questions so that you feel confident that this is the right decision for your teen and for your whole family.

One of these questions is sure to relate to the age limits or restrictions that boot camps may have. Each program will have its own set of guidelines related to age. That said, many programs accept children between the ages of 10 and 17. It’s important that your teen attend a boot camp or rehabilitation program with peers his own age. This can help him to form positive connections with others his own age as they share experiences.

While it’s understandable that you may want to wait until your child is a bit older, the sooner that you get him the help that he needs, the sooner he’ll be able to get his life back on track.

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