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Can You Achieve Successful Behavior Modification At A Youth Boot Camp?

Parents struggling with a troubled teen may consider boot camp as an option. Putting your child in a structured environment—one that offers challenges and discipline—can seem like a quick way to whip them into shape.

More and more, however, researchers are finding boot camps are merely a band-aid, failing to cultivate real and lasting changes in troubled teens. Experts say this form of intervention may even encourage recidivism, or repeated unlawful behavior.

If you want your son to get his life back on track, you’d do better to look at a residential treatment center for troubled teens. At Sundance Canyon Academy , we provide a safe and thorough program where boys in crisis can overcome their problems with the help of our qualified support staff.

You may still feel the pull of boot camp. These shorter retreats may be cheaper, and your hardline confidants may say your troubled teenage boy needs to be “scared straight.” There are, however, a number of reasons to eschew boot camp.  

Boot Camps Are A Short-Term Solution

Boot camps tend to be much shorter in duration than a teen’s stay at a residential treatment center.

While the length of diversion programs vary, many last 20 to 40 days. By the time you consider sending your son away, he has probably been struggling for some time. It’s unlikely a few weeks is enough time to truly rehabilitate a troubled adolescent.

Your troubled teen boy will spend more time at a residential treatment center. This gives him enough space to understand his issues, rewire his brain with more positive thinking patterns and acquire the life skills he needs to successfully transition into adulthood.

If your struggling teen’s issues have impacted his academics, a residential treatment center can also help him get on track to graduate with his peers.

At Sundance Canyon Academy, the support doesn’t stop after a young man has completed our residential treatment program. We work with students and their parents to craft an aftercare program helping them transition comfortably back to their natural surroundings of home, school, friends, and family.

This long-term focus makes a teen who attends a residential treatment program less likely to relapse than one sent to boot camp.

Boot Camps Rarely Offer Therapy For Troubled Teens

Many boot camps fail to provide the healing environment struggling boys need.

Therapy isn’t usually a part of diversion programs. This means that while there’s a strong focus on the behavior of a troubled boy,  the underlying issues causing him to act out or fail aren’t addressed.

This shortfall is particularly problematic because there may be serious issues spurring your teen’s struggle, like:

  1. Academic or developmental difficulties

  2. Anxiety

  3. Bereavement or other trauma

  4. Depression

  5. Family discord

  6. Low self-esteem

  7. Mental illness

  8. Substance abuse

At Sundance Canyon Academy’s residential treatment program, we provide our students with group, individual and family therapy administered by licensed professionals and qualified staff.

Many Teens Respond Poorly To The Authoritarian Treatment At Boot Camp

If you’re frustrated with your troubled adolescent, you may be ready for the staff at a boot camp to play the proverbial “bad cop.”

The people who run juvenile boot camps typically give participants the same kind of authoritarian treatment you’d find in the military. The thinking behind this approach is that you need to break down a troubled teen boy before he can change.

This punitive approach, however, fails to acknowledge that your child may not be a “bad boy” but instead facing unique individual challenges. What’s more, if your child has issues with anger or authority, these may be exacerbated by harsh treatment from a “drill-sergeant.”

At Sundance Canyon Academy, we don’t berate or badger our students for maladjusted behavior until they reform. We help them learn about consequences naturally in a safe environment. We also work to help them get to the root of their problems.

We do so using empathy and attunement, knowing a teen who feels understood, heard and valued will better develop the self-esteem and buy-in needed for transformation.

If you feel your troubled teen could benefit from the therapeutic program offered at a residential treatment center, contact uswith your concerns and questions.

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