Boot camps form part of the correctional and penal system of some nations. It was originally modeled after military recruit training camps wherein the programs are based on shock restraint rooted on military techniques. In the past couple of years, boot camps have been incorporating a number of rehabilitation-type programs such as education, guidance and counseling, vocational training and other specialized programs specifically designed to address the needs of drug dependents and to modify and improve behavior of defiant teenagers.
Boot camps aim to remove teens from negative influences that produce obstinate, reckless or self-destructive behavior. It was started as an alternative to prison for adolescents. There are several types of teen boot camps from state run to privately owned where the teen will be psychologically and physically challenged. Typically, privately owned boot camps have a greater effect on troubled teens. Surprisingly, the decadence rate of teenagers who attend state-run boot camps has been reported to be as high as 94%, while privately owned boot camps have a much lower rate overall. Boot camps can also be long-term as in the case of military-based boarding schools or they may be short-term boot camps such as summer camps.
Short term boot camps are more common. However, long term boot camps are increasingly becoming more popular owing to their ability to help defiant teenagers improve their behavior at home, in school and during social functions. They are conceptualized based on military-style, military demeanor, and rigorous physical training which centers on reality, respect and responsibility. Many teens lack these sterling qualities, yet they definitely need them for a smooth and successful transition to adulthood. The training and experiences provided by boot camps can help troubled teens to redirect destructive behaviors to a new outlook and direction in their lives.
Participants in the program cannot go home until they finish the entire course. The teen is on his own, with no contact with parents, family, or friends. A traditional teen boot camp will include uniforms as well as a ‘yes sir’ and ‘no sir’ mentality. They will be subjected to a very structured environment which includes the trainers getting right in the face of the teen. Whether a participant would be able to cope to such type of environment is actually a question that must be taken into consideration before parents enroll their struggling teen in the midst of these stringent setting and intense drill instructors and within a confined environment that does not permit any outside contact for a specified period of time. They should take into account whether boot camps are the appropriate choice for their troubled teen. It is important to note that teenagers with behavioral and attitudinal problems that are beyond the scope of these environments should not be considered for teen boot camps.
There are advocates of boot camps but there are also those who oppose the entire concept. The philosophy behind most boot camps evolves around the premise that if you scream enough at teens and discipline them, they will eventually learn to follow. Defiant, oppositional, and troubled teenagers may learn to follow suit while in the overwhelming, military-like environment of a boot camp. However, those who oppose such practice claim that in most cases these short-term camps do not produce lasting changes among troubled teens. It is said that this type of setting will more likely create animosity and resentment toward authority figures. Adolescents who are grappling to find their place in the world need to learn how to act in the world with as much leeway as possible. The world is no where near a boot camp. It may be a tough place at times, and does require camaraderie, kindness, responsibility, and other socially acceptable behavioral qualities
Boot camps may prove helpful to some troubled teens, while for others it may result into additional problems and do more harm than good. The final decision will ultimately depend on your assessment of your teenager’s needs. After all, it is you as parents who know them better than anyone else. Take time to examine your options, and in case you are not definite as to the right course of action, then you may seek the help of an expert to sort things out.