Boot camps came into being as an alternative to jail for juvenile delinquents. Research has shown that the recidivism rate for juvenile offenders who have attended a "boot camp" is very high, as high as 90%. Why would a parent want to send a troubled teen to a program that was originally intended for adolescents who have been prosecuted for criminal acts? It is not an environment intended to modify behavior through self-understanding. It is an environment that seeks to scare kids straight, a method that has proven time and again to have on short-term results. Whatever program or therapeutic approach you choose for your struggling adolescent should take into consideration the long-term impact of the choice. If a child undergoes significant behavioral and emotional changes in a therapeutic problem, the long-term success rate will be much higher. Many times parents want a "quick fix" for their troubled teen. How many years did it take to end up with a sullen, belligerent, hostile child? You won't fix it overnight. Focusing on a long-term plan in which the intervention is therapeutic and emphasizes behavioral change through the acceptance of personal responsibility will improve the outlook for your child. Bootcamps are rarely the best choice for a truly troubled teenager. They need to face their basic emotional and behavioral issues as well as discover and be taught behaviors and positive interactions that will improve their academic performance, personal relationships, and personal success. It is change that occurs through self-revelation that has the longest and most permanent effect on any human being. Give your child the opportunity to learn more about himself or herself, and then discover that he or she can be a positive part of the community.
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