Teen Boot Camps

Discipline. Structure. Reform.



February 2014

Frequently Asked Questions About Boot Camps

by Teen Boot Camps Staff

  1. Would you recommend sending a teen to boot camp?

    Sending your teen away to boarding school won’t really solve his or her problem. But, boot camps are a recommendable option to send your teens to instead. Indeed, most parents seek out boot camps assuming that all their troubled teen needs is a ‘wake up call’. Most boot camps are short-term, however, the long-term camps have also increased in popularity over the past few years.

    Boot camps are known to be efficient when it comes to helping wayward adolescents in improving their overall behavior. Modeled after the military-style schools, boot camps provide military exercises and intense physical training that focuses on respect, reality and responsibility. Since most teens strongly lack these essential qualities, boot camps help instill them. The boot camp experience can help adolescents replace their destructive behaviors and attitudes with a new a perspective of live by pointing them in the right direction.

    Yes, boot camps are a good option as they provide that ‘quick reality check’ that is responsible for turning a child around who has been acting up.

    Boot camps are not recommended for troubled teens who need more then a band aid

  2. Is there a specific age group that boot camps have the most effect on?

    As a parent, sending your teen away to a boot camp might be very hard. Generally, disturbed teens from the age of 13-15 are sent to boot camps, as these are the most receptive years in a child. At the age of 13-15, it is easier to control and direct disruptive children. But, as the kids get older and still continue to show disturbing behavioral patters, then it get a bit tougher to deal with them.

    However, there are special boot camps for kids who are 18 years and over. These special programs have different techniques of dealing with the kids.

  3. What problems do boot camps fix?

    Some boot camps focus on experiential therapy that can positively affect teenagers with certain issues like Autism, Obesity, ADHD, Asperser’s, Behavioral problems and learning disorders. Troubled youth and teenagers with special needs don’t generally fit into the ordinary summer camps. Shoplifters, joy riders, car stealers and tearaways are all sent to boot camps. Parents with teens who are headed down the ‘wrong way’ will always see dramatic changes in their child’s behavior, attitude, and motivation after a visit to one of these boot camps.

    Teens dealing with substance and drug abuse, aggressive teenagers, antisocial children may need long term intervention like a specialty boarding school. The theology behind these boot camps is that if you yell and yell at these troubled teens and discipline, they will generally straighten out. Angry, aggressive, defiant and oppositional teens might improve under the strict, intense, military-style environment of a boot camp.

  4. What problems or for what reasons are most participants in boot camps for?

    A major reason why a teen would end up being sent to a boot camp is peer pressure. The pressure to belong to his or her peers can be quite a strain on your teenager and this can lead to disruptive behavior or hostility and defiance. These traits can influence your child’s actions and decisions to a point where intervention is necessary.

    Many teens are sent packing to boot camps for a number of other reasons that include drug abuse, violent behavior, committing criminal offences, disciplinary issues, and kids who come from broken families.

    However, as soon as you notice that your teen is showing signs of being disruptive and wayward, doesn’t mean you have to send them packing immediately. Troubled adolescents dealing with issues like depression, attempted suicide, self-harm, or other psychiatric problems would be better off in a therapeutic boarding school or a residential treatment center.

  5. Is the staff like the stereotypical drill sergeants who are always yelling?

    A regular teen boot camp is typically military-styled with uniforms and marching in formations and ‘yes sir’, ‘no sir’ tactics. They usually have a structured environment that consists of barracks that are similar to those found in the U.S. Military’s ‘basic training program’. With their bunk beds, footlockers and strict inspections that are conducted by the staff, your troubled teen will have to be on his or her best behavior in order to survive this ordeal, even if it is only for a short while.

    Yes, life in a teen boot camp is very similar to life in the military. The candidates are all up by 5 or 6 am and they have chores to carry out, inspections, marches, kitchen duties, calisthenics, laundry duties, and so on. The teen boot camps include certain ‘in-your-face’ structured programs with drill sergeants, barracks, bunk beds etc.

  6. Can boot camps have negative effects on a teen?

    Whether your child will be able to handle such an environment is actually a very important question that you must consider as a parent. Before putting your struggling teen in the midst of these strict drill sergeants and within such a harsh environment that doesn’t permit any outside contact for a period of time, you must think carefully whether or not your child will be able to survive this.

    Yes, boot camps can have negative effects on troubled teens. Despite the increasing popularity of boot camps, they still remain controversial. On one hand, some people claim that the intense disciplinary actions contribute towards positive behavioral changes in troubled youth, thereby reducing their chances of relapsing into criminal behavior. On the other hand, critics claim that boot camps can actually increase criminal behavior and antisocial characteristics in participants. They also say that the rigorous discipline can reduce any chances of therapeutic programming being successful.

    So, it is very important to think carefully before sending your child to boot camp.

  7. What do teens learn from being in boot camp?

    Boot camps are not designed to handle emotional issues and behavioral elements. But, the programs offered here are aimed to teach kids the importance of teamwork, discipline and appreciation. In many aspects, boot camps have helped teach kids appreciation if at all the kid is not used to following orders. A couple of weeks at a boot camp should just about fix this rebellious attitude.

    Teen boot camps strive towards performing ‘quick fixes’ on struggling teens and this can sometimes take months if not years at a stretch. With its military-style environment, the boot camp with its ‘in-your-face’ attitude can be very overwhelming. The primary theology behind boot camps is that teens will learn to be more disciplined, which in turn sorts out any inappropriate behaviors and problems on their part.

    Apart from becoming more disciplined, the fear of coming back to the boot camp will prevent teens from misbehaving again.

  8. Do teens usually have a life changing experience from being in boot camp?

    Yes, boot camps do have a life changing experience on most troubled teens. This experience could either be a good one or it could even be a bad one. In case of good experiences, teens will learn to be more disciplined and in many cases troubled adolescents learn to regret what they have done and try to make amends.

    However, in some cases, children with emotional problems and disorders are accidentally sent to boot camps instead of therapeutic boarding houses and the treatment they receive here aggravates the situation more than it helps. Nevertheless, sending your child to a boot camp is indeed a life changing experience, an experience your child will never forget.

  9. Do boot camps use physical activities only or are there educational and other non-physical activities that take place?

    Apart from the military-style training and the intense physical activities performed by participants at teen boot camps, there are academics that are taught by drill instructors in ordinary classrooms. Yes, there are other non-physical activities and educational courses with mandatory minimum grades.

    As far as education is concerned, in some boot camps the courses are focused on helping the teens achieve academic success through a specialized educational curriculum under the supervision and guidance of certified teachers. Every student is required to continue with his or her education. So, whether your child is planning on attending college or pursuing vocational training or even entering the work force, he or she will attend classes and work towards getting a high school diploma at the boot camp.

    Apart from this, a treatment team of life skills, education and counseling professionals will evaluate each new candidate. This will monitor the students’ progress, guides them through the program towards graduation and will direct them to return to normalcy and independent living.

  10. How long does a boot camp participant usually stay at a boot camp?

    There are short-term as well as long-term boot camps. The short-term boot camps last anywhere from around 20-40 days. The idea behind a boot camp is to try to instill discipline in most out-of-control teenagers within a 6-8 week time period.

    The duration of each boot camp depends entirely on what kind of a camp the child is going to. Summer boot camps can last anywhere from 2 weeks to all of summer. However, there are many boot camps that last for a year or in some cases more. Usually in such circumstances, when a child is made to stay back at boot camp for such long stretches of time, he or she is not showing any signs of improvement. Nevertheless, most participants stay at boot camps for 6-8 weeks, while the others stay for shorter durations. Most participants are unable to survive this ordeal for long stretches of time.

Teen Boot Camps Staff
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