So your teen is off to boot camp. Well, apart from wishing them good luck, there is plenty you can do to make their stay successful and worthwhile. Remember simply giving punishment is not enough. You want your troubled teen to come home with a positive attitude and a determination to change their previous bad lifestyle. So how can they be helped?
If possible talk to another teen who has been to that same boot camp. You want a teen who came through the experience with flying colors. One of the things your teen may suffer from is fear. What will the boot camp be like? Talking to a recent resident who can allay your teen’s fears is a great step forward.
Don’t send a slob to camp. Boot camps are not holiday camps. One aspect is the rigorous routine and hard physical activities. Make sure your teen is as fit as they can be or at least is not out of shape when they go off to camp. Give them as much help as possible.
Sleep is important to all of us. Don’t send a tired teen to boot camp. Make sure they are well rested when they leave home as they may get some interrupted sleep on camp.
Give your teen a lesson on how to handle instructors. Tell your child that these adults have dealt with hundreds if not thousands of boot camp residents and have survived. Getting cheeky with the instructors is never a good idea. Show respect, do as you are told and make life as easy as possible for all concerned. Some instructors enjoy cracking down on impolite residents. Don’t let your teen be one of them.
Don’t hide the reality of a boot camp from your child. To be forewarned is to be well prepared. Tell your teen about the shouting of orders and the rigid discipline. Tell them about the heavy physical workouts and the basic meals. The more the teen is prepared for the toughness of the boot camp the better they will handle the harsh environment.
Boot camps are not just tough physically but also mentally. Discuss this with your child. Explain psychological strength and weakness and how a person can be mentally tough. Do not let those instructors break you down mentally.
Every teen can survive a boot camp experience and can in fact come away a better young person. The key is in the preparation before the boot camp begins.
Most boot camps will have a routine. There will be various activities including physical and academic. As the parent, try and find out what these activities consist of and coach or prepare your child for the forthcoming events. Even a broad idea of what will happen should improve your teen’s chances of taking the boot camp routine in their stride.
There are stories of the toughness of life in a boot camp and many may well be true. But there are ways to prepare for the camp and, as a result, your teen can leave a better and stronger person.
Here are additional resources you might be interested in:
What is life like at a typical youth booth camp?