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Juvie, Boot Camp, Or Therapy? Figuring Out What Will Help Your Teen Boy

Teenage boys can be incredibly difficult for parents to handle when they choose to act out. Many times they have already outgrown one of their parents and may be acting out aggressively. So, many of these parents turn to options like boot camps, therapeutic boarding schools, and youth detention centers in more extreme cases.

Each of these options has distinct pros and cons which you should know before you send your troubled son to one of these institutions.

Youth Detention Centers And Teen Boys

Parents cannot enroll their sons in youth detention centers, also colloquially referred to as juvie, a crime needs to be committed first. Many times juvenile court judges will offer several options to young offenders such as community service, monetary reparations, and/or time in a youth detention center. If parents aren’t willing to work with the other sentences, their son will be sent to a youth detention center.

Pros of juvie

  1. Son is confined and limited in ability to create mischief

  2. May scare him back into good behavior

  3. Family is given space to recover from teen son’s bad behavior

Cons of juvie

  1. Son will have a record, which may be public

  2. Can be a long process sealing juvenile records

  3. Son may be exposed to worse behaviors in juvie

  4. Risk of recidivism

  5. Poor academics so your son may fall further behind peers

Military-Style Discipline At Boot Camps

Juvenile boot camps attempt to mimic the military discipline seen in the armed forces. Many parents find this appealing when dealing with a seemingly impossible-to-discipline son. The out-of-control behavior is dealt with by high physical activity and strict structure. Boot camps also can be one of the least expensive options when dealing with a troubled teen. However, due to poor regulation, boot camps can greatly vary in quality.

Pros of boot camps

  1. Variable duration, from weeks to years, depending on your son’s needs

  2. Works defiant behaviors out with intense physical exertion

  3. Give your son strict structure

  4. Can be more affordable than other options

  5. Many locations available

Cons of boot camps

  1. Does not include actual therapy in most boot camps

  2. High abuse statistics

  3. No academic component so your son may fall behind

  4. Your son does not learn how to transition back into regular society

  5. High potential for injury

  6. Excessive physical stress can make your son more resentful and defiant

Therapeutic Options For Teenage Boys

If you want to reach the root issue of your son’s troubles, we would recommend residential treatment. This type of therapeutic option requires your son be boarded away from home to be immersed in a therapeutic program. These programs bring therapy together while helping your son with his academics and self-discipline.

Pros of residential treatment

  1. Regular individual therapy

  2. Regular group and family therapy

  3. Can help build positive relationships

  4. Has built-in educational program to repair grades and catch up with peers

  5. Strong physical aspect to help channel energy

  6. Generally has more trained staffers

Cons of residential treatment

  1. Can be one of the more expensive options when looking to help your troubled teen

  2. May require your son stay at least 6 months to have deep effects

  3. Not a locked facility, so your son can potentially leave the treatment center

If it is important that your son addresses the root of his troubles, then we recommend you a residential treatment center for your troubled teenage son.

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