Boot Camp

Help for wayward teens

It's common for adolescents to act out, but if your teen's angst and rebellion are reaching uncontrollable heights, it's not surprising that you may be at your wit's end. If your teenager's lifestyle includes drug or alcohol abuse, promiscuity, skipping school and/or criminal activity, and these destructive tendencies are posing a real danger to your teen's future, a boot camp is one alternative you may want to consider.


Teen boot camps originated as an alternative to sending troubled adolescents to prison for breaking the law. Today, they offer both short-term and long-term programs and are typically sought out by parents who feel that their son or daughter needs a strong wake-up call to get their life back on track. Experts stress that it is a mistake to think of a teen boot camp as a last resort, and that you should instead consider it to be the first piece in the puzzle of putting your troubled adolescent's life back on track.

Most teen boot camps are modeled after military training camps, and requirements include participating in intense physical training, marching in formation and wearing uniforms. They stress following orders, treating people with respect and taking responsibility for actions and choices. The boot camp environment is highly structured and will typically include a rigorous schedule that occupies attendees from the time they get up in the morning until the time they go to bed.

Selecting a Quality Boot Camp

Even though you may want to give your teen a harsh wake-up call to return him or her to reality, health and safety are real concerns when choosing a teen boot camp. There are many cases in which teens have been pushed too hard and have ended up injuring themselves or others, so it is essential that you thoroughly check out the reputation of any boot camp you're considering. Statistics suggest that violent and tragic incident rates are higher in state-run boot camps than in private boot camps, ostensibly because state-run boot camps usually have operational links to the correctional system.

Results vary, but parents are often struck by the dramatic change in their teen's behavior when he or she returns from boot camp. However, to ensure those changes last, it is important that you try to affect real change in your home environment to reduce the possibility of your teen returning to his or her old ways.

Signup and receive a customized newsletter full of tips and information, delivered to your inbox each week.
Enter your due date
Enter your email