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Boot Camps For Troubled Teens
Teen boot camps are correctional programs for delinquent youth in a military-style environment. These programs typically emphasize discipline and physical conditioning and were developed as a rigorous alternative to longer terms of confinement in juvenile correctional facilities. Many, but not all, of these programs are followed by a period of probation or some form of aftercare. Boot camps are generally restricted to non-violent or first-time offenders.
The idea of "shock incarceration" as a tough, low-cost alternative to more intensive programming brought about the establishment of military-style boot camps for troubled teens.
Are Boot Camps Effective? Experts agree that a confrontational approach is often inappropriate. Most correctional and military experts agree that a confrontational model, employing tactics of intimidation and humiliation, is counterproductive for most troubled teens. The use of this kind of model has led to disturbing incidents of abuse. For youth with emotional, behavioral, or learning problems, degrading tactics may be particularly inappropriate and potentially damaging. The bullying style and aggressive interactions that characterize the boot camp environment fail to model the pro-social behavior and development of empathy that these youth really need to learn.
Positive changes demonstrated while in the boot camp may not last when a youth returns to his community. Many juveniles report that the program is helpful to them and they feel more positive about their futures. It is unclear, however, whether these attitudes persist after youth leave the boot camp, or whether they are related to actual changes in behavior once a youth returns to his community. Without significant therapeutic intervention while in the program, as well as specialized aftercare following release, boot camp programs have been consistently unsuccessful in "changing" juveniles.
What are the alternatives? Youth who need some form of treatment care require an individualized approach that takes their strengths and needs into account. Programs and policies should be family-centered, including the family in all decision making about a child, as well as culturally and developmentally appropriate. Research has shown that small, family-centered programs are more effective than boot camps in the long term.
You have made the right choice in seeking help. The next step is to contact us. We have a great deal of experience in the treatment care industry. We have worked in the industry. We have lived in the industry. We have seen what works ...... and what doesn't.
Does Your Child Need a Boot Camp for Troubled Teens?
Often when teens struggle with the numerous issues they face in today's society they become, frankly, quite unpleasant. Thousands of families throughout the country have felt that the best way to get youth back on track is to send them to boot camps for troubled teens. The idea is to both "straighten them out" and to legally punish them in the most painful way possible. However, unreported in both the media and from these programs is the fact that there is very little statistical evidence that boot camps for troubled teens have a long-term impact on the success of the child. In fact, there is mounting evidence that they are both ineffective and in many cases detrimental.
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