In circumstances where teens or children might be considered “out of control” or “struggling”, It is natural for parents to seek out advice, counselling, therapy or alternative solutions like a boot camp program. For some families, a therapeutic boot camp program (also called a “wilderness camp”) can be a very effective treatment alternative for unmanageable and extremely “naughty” children.
The aim of most boot camp programs is to provide children or teenagers with a proper and structured form of discipline. Boot camps are usually handled by an experienced and trained staff specializing in psychotherapy, mental conditions and behavioral therapy. Children who show signs of defiance with the age ranging from 10-18 can already attend these types of programs.
No one can really blame parents who consider such programs, especially when they have already exhausted all other options for their kids. If you are one of these parents, it’s best to make sure you know what you should expect from these types of programs. See a rundown of the pros and cons before sending your naughty kids to boot camps:
- Children will be able to learn life skills that they may apply in their everyday settings to become successful in the future.
- Healthy eating habits and intensive boot camp exercises are prioritized to provide kids with a balanced diet.
- The physical discipline that they will learn from the activities will develop their strength and teach them to live healthy.
- Troubled and disturbed children will be given the appropriate rehabilitation for their mental development.
- There are regular medical treatments and checkups to be administered to help kids with behavior problems and special conditions like ADD, ADHD and ODD.
- Children will learn to adapt with other kids through social activities.
- Being part of the group will enable your child to find comfort in other kids they can relate with.
- Children will learn how to resolve the anger issues and be able to cope with feelings of resentment.
- The extreme strictness and restricted atmosphere encourages stressed kids to become cooperative, friendly, respectful for authority and hardworking.
- Children with existing medical conditions, with deficient immune system or physically handicapped won’t be able to endure the intense physical exercises and extreme weather exposures.
- Boot camps will require your kids to be far from home for a long period of time.
- The kids are expected to keep away from all contacts with family and friends unless it’s very important.
- These types of programs are designed as quick fixes and may help troubled kids to only a certain extent.
The Pros may have outweighed the cons but remember that boot camps are not for everyone. To others it can be a life changing experience for their kids, but for some it might not be as effective.
In a report of Findings from a Multi-Center Study of Youth Outcomes in Private Residential Treatment, which involved a study of 993 students, in 5 different states, across 9 different therapeutic programs;up to 80% of adolescents improve during residential treatment. Therapeutic programs are different to “boot camps” but offer some of the same wilderness therapy elements, alongside structured learning, and counselling.
Kids who are just slacking off might just need a short months worth of boot camp to quickly work them back into shape. But for extremely defiant teens, removing them from the dangerous environment that they are used to and having to go through a boot camp experience for a much longer period may just be what they needed. Eventually this would encourage them to live more healthy and to be more disciplined over time.
A problem child’s complete transformation depends on how the parents would deal with their children as they return from the boot camp. Ideally, parents should ready themselves in changing the unhealthy and hostile lifestyle that they have been adapting to help their kids become more positive even after boot camp. There’s always a reason why kids act naughty and why they usually display a bad behavior. But if parents will find the time to understand their kids, they will be able to have an opportunity to immediately provide what their children actually needs.