Brat Camp, Boot Camps, and other programs for Troubled Teens
June 14, 2016

Why would a parent want a Brat Camp or Boot Camp for their teen? Chances are their child struggles with behavioral issues either at school or at home.  The solution for many teens is not to go to a camp but to look for a residential treatment center.

The History of Camps

Before a deeper understanding of the teenage psyche was developed parents looked to send their kids to boot camps.  Brat Camps and Boot Camps spawned out of the adult prison system mixed with a blend of military and detention style tactics to motivate teens.  

From A History of Juvenile Boot Camps for Troubled Teens

  • Boot camps almost always include rigorous physical conditioning and other forms of physical labor.
    • An emphasis is placed upon discipline, which is usually enforced through a military-like code of rules and regulations.
    • Teen boot camp participants usually have been convicted of nonviolent crimes, or have been referred to the boot camp by parents in an effort to curb unhealthy and illegal behaviors.
    • Teen boot camps are usually intense short-term experiences (rarely lasting longer than six months) after which the troubled teen is returned to the community.
    • Depending upon the nature of the boot camp, the teen may be required (or encouraged) to submit to a post-camp supervision program or enroll in an aftercare program.

The challenge with a brat camp or boot camp is that it does not help teens find coping techniques for long term success.  They may fall in line while at a brat camp but will not be successful once they return home.  

Parents looking for lasting change want to work with a program that looks to create lasting change through therapeutic services. It is necessary to tackle the challenges your teen faces today but prepare them for obstacles that may become an issue in the future.


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