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The Lessons That Are Learned at a Teen Boot Camp

When parents make that decision to send their teenager to a boot camp setting that is always a tough choice to make. There is always the concern that you may be making the wrong decision for your child.  But if the teenager is troubled and it seems that parents are at the end of their ropes, often a teen boot camp option can be appealing. But it is important to make sure the teen boot camp environment is the right next step to put your son or daughter on the right track.

When parents finally make that decision to take advantage of what boot camps for teenagers have to offer, they do so with some expectations. They expect that a boot camp will make a difference in the life of their youngster. They expect dramatic change in behavior and attitude in their son or daughter when the teenager returns from boot camp. Above all, parents expect their kids to learn something from their experience at a teen boot camp. So what can we expect a teenager to learn at boot camp? Well, there are positive things they can learn and negative things.

Positive Things Your Teenager Can Learn at Teen Boot Camp

A teenage boot camp is a carefully designed program to teach a young person through experience. While there may be classroom time during the average day of a teenager in a boot camp environment, much of their time will be given to intense physical training and team building experiences. The values that these experiences instill in young people are not the kind of lessons that are easily absorbed from a book. But the positive values that can come out of such an intense boot camp experience will last a lifetime. Some of those values include…

  • Teamwork. Teenagers often find themselves thrust into stressful situations with other troubled teens where the only way they can ‘”get through it” is by working together. The assignment given by their boot camp instructor may be too difficult or impossible to do alone. In this way, a teen boot camp may be the first time your teenager really understands the value of relying on other people and being reliable as well. It can be a life changing revelation that only an intense boot camp experience can deliver.
  • Friendship – Troubled teens are often antisocial and not skilled at developing friendships. But the development of friendships and social relationships is a critical step in adolescent development. The difficult challenges that a group of teenagers must face together in a teen boot camp experience can forge friendships that would have never happened otherwise. These may become friendships in your youngster’s life that will last well into adulthood. And they are friendships that can change the course of a teenage life toward most positive attitudes and activities.
  • Physical Fitness – The term “boot camp” is apt in the way teen boot camps operate because they do compare to their counterparts in the military. Your teenager will learn physical fitness concepts and methods that he or she may have never encountered before. Getting fit at a teen boot camp is not an option, it is essential to survive the boot camp program. But your teen will learn how great it feels to be strong and fit which will become a lifelong habit of good physical habits that contribute to lifelong fitness as well.

Negative Lessons to be Learned at a Teen Boot Camp

Any parent preparing to send a troubled teenager to a boot camp experience is taking a risk. Even the most effective boot camps will admit that not every teenager does well in a highly disciplined environment such as they provide. Along with that potential downside of using a teen boot camp, there is also the potential of alienation between the troubled teenager and his or her parents.

It would be easy for a teenager to feel rejected or betrayed by his or her parents if the boot camp is not something the youngster wanted to do. A youth can feel like mom and dad “sent him away” or that the boot camp is similar to juvenile detention or prison. The resentment that can come out of that perception can last a long time and hurt the trust relationship between parent and child.

The other side of that coin is that kids who find themselves waking up in a teen boot camp may finally realize that their misbehavior has consequences. Often kids who get in a lot of trouble feel they can get away with it because they perceive their parents as permissive. If the teen boot camp experience teaches them that even to mom and dad, there comes a time when “enough is enough”, that is not such a bad lesson to take away from the camp experience.

But perhaps the greatest skill your teenager must learn to get through a teen boot camp experienced can be summarized in one word – discipline. At first, that discipline will be imposed on the teenagers in the camp. But over the term of your child’s stay in a teen boot camp, that outer discipline will become an internal discipline that the teenager will take into life after the boot camp is long in the past.

That discipline will lead to self respect, self confidence and a greater self esteem. And because your teenager will come out of teen boot camp with awareness that they can overcome just about any challenge laid before him or her, life goals will change for the better. And those are priceless skills and attitudes that will make the expense and effort of putting your teenager into a boot camp experience entirely worth the investment.

Here are additional resources you might be interested in:

What to Expect in Teen Boot Camps

Turning Winds, A residential treatment center for adolescent

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