Any parent with a troubled teen has been where you are. At their wit’s end, not knowing how they got here in the first place and unsure of what steps to take next. You know your teen needs help beyond what you can offer, but you don’t know what that help should look like.
What are boot camps for teens?
Summer boot camps for teens are modeled after military training programs and typically include a drill sergeant, strict routine and physical punishments. The first part of the program is designed to break teens down, using discipline and harsh treatment. Through the process, teens are supposed to learn obedience to authority and self-control.
Summer boot camps for teens highlight their ability to radically transform teens from disrespectful and defiant to peaceful and compliant. Their claims are often true. Troubled teens make extraordinary changes in the program. However, the results are deceiving. Though your teen might take great strides in the right direction, the nature of boot camps for teens does not promote long lasting change.
Fear vs. Respect
Summer boot camps for teens teach adolescents to obey authority, which is ideal for any parent struggling with a troubled teen. The reason they obey, though, is out of fear, not respect. As soon as they return home from boot camp, away from the domineering authorities and highly structured environment, teens will soon revert back to old behaviors.
Wilderness therapy: a better alternative to a summer boot camps for teens
Teens will not get the same results from running in the mud carry a 30-pound sack while performing sets of pushups every quarter mile as they would learning to set up a camp with shelter and fire by cooperating with peers. Unlike summer boot camps for teens, wilderness therapy programs provide long-term results by treating the entire person mentally, physically and emotionally.
Summer boot camps for teens do not address the emotional issues of teens. They often make underlying issues worse, by causing the teens to hide their emotions and fears.
Wilderness therapy programs provide the therapeutic element that many summer boot camps are missing. Instead of focusing on a change in behavior, wilderness therapy focuses on a deeper change in the person as a whole. By recognizing there is often a cause for the behavior coupled with a lack of proper communication skills, root issues can be addressed and not simply covered up through obedient behavior.
If you are struggling with a troubled teen and don’t know where else to turn, reconsider a summer boot camp for teens. Though they claim to achieve drastic results, the change is likely to be temporary and could result in further emotional harm to your son or daughter.
To learn more about a better alternative to summer boot camps for teens, call Trails Carolina today at 800-975-7303.