Teenage Boot Camps – Just for Troubled Teens?

When one hears the words “boot camp”, one often has a mental picture of frustrated parents sending their spoiled brat children to be fixed. Some parents do send their children to boot camp in the hopes that when they come back, they will be like people trained by the military; has a healthy regard for authority figures, obedient, responsible, neat, and polite.

This probably comes from the fact that the idea of teenager boot camp is to provide a more cost-effective as well as efficient way of dealing with juvenile offenders. Since it’s connected with juvenile delinquency and young people who have run-ins with the law, people assume that a court has to order you to attend one. There are also parents who send their children to a boot camp for teenager to help them curb a mild substance abuse problem.

Boot camps these days, however, don’t necessarily just cater to teenage offenders. It could be a preventive measure for teens who are beginning to give their parents some problems with being defiant and engaging in dangerous or troublesome behavior. It could be a preventive measure that keeps teens from becoming juvenile law offenders. Boot camps’ “in your face”, confrontational style often proves effective for teens who routinely make it a point to challenge authority figures in their lives.

Some people also think that boot camps can help teens with ADHD. In some cases, this could be true, depending on the kind of program the teenage camp offers. If the camp has staff that is educated and trained to handle teens with ADHD, and if some form of therapy and monitoring of medication is involved, such a camp can be beneficial for teens. ADHD teens are often soothed by rigorous physical activities, saying that these activities take the edge off the symptoms of ADHD that they contend with everyday. Most boot camps are also located in beautiful wilderness settings which, according to studies, have a calming effect on teens with ADHD.

Exposing ADHD teens to healthy physical activities in camps can give them a better alternative to other activities that they usually engage in to “take the edge off” their symptoms. Before teens even try dangerous sexual habits, daredevil driving, alcohol or drugs, it would be better for them to get involved in sports, camping, hiking, and other healthy activities. This helps prevent a downward spiral in their lives which could have far-reaching repercussions, even into their adult lives.

It could also be a good way for teens who want to explore their desire to enter military career to see if this is something they can really get into. At times, it’s an interesting experience to have. Not to mention that some form of physical labor can build character in children.

What’s important is that parents consider the reason why they are sending their children to these camps. At times the intention may be well-meant but boot camps may not be sufficient to fulfill their expectations. Boot camps are what they are, and it’s best to have the right idea about them. It’s not reasonable to expect these camps to be like therapeutic boarding schools and provide individual and group therapy for campers, unless the camp staff confirms that it’s something they can do for your teen.