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Teen Boot Camps - Why They Don't Work

Updated on September 25, 2011

I have no doubt that dealing with a drug or alcohol abusing, or behaviorally troubled teen, is very tough for parents. My kids aren’t yet teens, and so although I can imagine, I have no experience, and can't yet know just how hard it might be.

I think I can understand how some parents might get desperate, and in the face of enough abuse or defiance, feel that nothing short of an extreme solution meets the severity of the problem.

And the toughness of a boot camp drill squad might seem just what a defiant and disobedient, but still very much loved teen, needs. Parents might hope that a little tough love is all that is needed.

Unfortunately, studies seem to indicate the boot camp style facilities don't tend to work any better than flat out jail time at changing children's behaviors, and that the only kinds of boot camps that work at all are those that incorporate a heavy regimen of therapy into the programming.

It seems as though the therapy kids get when they get sent away can make a lasting difference, but that having a drill sergeant yelling at them, and forcing them into pushups and lap running, does very little to change things once they are once again back at home.

I don't know. I think I can understand why parents send their kids off to boot camps – but when you watch videos, like the one that shows the chain of events that led to the death of 14 year old Martin Anderson in a Florida prison boot camp last year – it's pretty hard to imagine wanting to put your kids in that situation.

This video is tragic, and watching it knowing the outcome, his death from suffocation related to the ammonia capsules they were forcing him to inhale – makes it hard to watch.

But before you send your kids off to a program that needs to "tear them down" and that demands submission, look at what you might be sending them into, and make sure that it's what you want.

Boot Camp Death Tragedy


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    • profile image

      Yukon Cornileus 

      4 years ago


    • profile image

      Mr. Hat & Clogs 

      6 years ago

      I feel a bit skeptical about this. Studies have repeatedly shown that Boot Camps do not work and that the death rates are a realistic thing that has to be taken into consideration when choosing a, "camp" to go to. You don't beat your kids into submission. It will only grow resentment in their hearts and make them grow more irritable. The human mind isn't that simple. Your emotions that stem from your mind are even more complex. Simply yelling at the person all day and demanding physical labor isn't the way to go. Also, has everyone forgotten what military training is for? It's for training people for an even greater amount of violence which is combat and fighting. Except this is given for professionally trained soldiers who consent for the training. What good is giving someone who now hates all forms of authority (after being yelled at and demanding labor and showing no remorse) a nice new pair of abs and muscles for pummeling anyone they don't like into dirt? Rebellion can be hard I know parents. You should probably let life take it's course and let life teach your children the harder way and let them experience the consequences it gives. Also you don't want to take all the rebellion out of them. From rebellion stems a form of individuality that you are discovering through disagreement. Everyone on here at one point in their lives was a teenager who rebelled against some sense of authority. It's because your mind has reached a point of being able to think on it's own and is now capable of developing it's own sense of individuality. Don't crush that. Don't crush their identities even if you don't like what their identity has become. You should try to steer their identities into a better direction and try to hone up to your parenting and try to teach them better yourselves and let life take it's course. You should not leave parenting to some unregulated military camp that strips your children of their identities crushes them.

    • Paige Halliwell profile image

      Paige Halliwell 

      7 years ago

      "Teens can benefit greatly from the type of focus and self-confidence that military training can provide for them. While military schools might not be the best choice for them, having the chance to go through a military regiment and receive the type of guidance and forceful leadership they provide can make a huge difference in keeping them from making poor decisions that could undermine their ability.

      For teens like this, military camp is a great option. Unlike military schools, these are part-time camps -- often held over the summer -- that are designed to give teens a swift introduction into military training. Think of it as a teen version of boot camp for adult soldiers. While not requiring the commitment as military school for kids, military camp helps teens who are beginning to show a lack of focus and discipline to turn their lives around before it’s too late. "


    • profile image

      teens bootcamps 

      7 years ago

      I can not understand that why numbers of teenagers are engaging in this type of causes whether he knows very well that this is not good for them, well after becoming addicts teens get a bad result in the end so that parents take a decision for sending their child to comeback from addiction. Boot camps might be risky but where is risk then there is a hope also.

    • profile image

      Camps for Teens 

      7 years ago

      Yes...the video is tragic and warns the parents to be conscious of making a choice of boot camp. Of course they are your own kid and you love them so how can your send them to a jail like camp. I am not against military training but i feel like parents must be aware of the endurance capacity of the kids and must send the kid to a trusted therapeutic military boot camp rather than one shown in video. Visit the site to receive the best guidance in choosing the camp for your child.

    • profile image

      Youth camps 

      8 years ago

      This is really an informative article that provides valuable information related with teenagers boot camps and their programs. Parents can get help from this article in understanding the values of camping programs. Boot camps are well structured and disciplined centers where boys and girls get proper guidance and training classes by the skilled trainers and coaches. Training programs are designed in such ways that remove all the poor habits and stressing issues from the kids life and develop behavioral, emotional, and social skills in struggling adolescents. Certified counselors are there to provide best solutions to families.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Why wright an article about teenagers and what their parents should not do when you have not raised any teenagers yourself. This like telling someone how to have better sex and your a virgin.. Get a life


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