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Military Schools and Boot Camps Are Outdated Ways for Helping Teens

There was a time when parents thought that the best answer for out-of-control teens was to send them to a military school or boot camp. And teens may have changed their behavior while they were at these facilities in order to avoid the harsh consequences of not obeying the rules. However, the change in behavior was often short-lived, and teens reverted to their old behavior when they got home.

The Purpose of Military Schools and Boot Camps

Military schools and boot camps were originally established to prepare young people for life in the military. They use military training techniques and authoritative structure. They focus on strenuous physical exercise and activity, academic achievement, adherence to rules, strict discipline, and harsh punishment. They were not intended to help troubled teens with behavioral, psychological, or emotional problems. They do not provide therapy. They do not help teens with learning disorders.

What is Locus of Control? Why is it important?

Locus of control has to do with the lens through which we see events in our lives. When someone has an internal locus of control, they view events as being a result of their own actions. While accidents and bad things can happen, they believe that they can still control how they choose to respond to those events. Someone with an external locus of control believes that events are the result of external factors, and that they have no control over what happens to them or how they respond to those events.

Teens with an external locus of control believe that everything that happens to them is the fault of someone else – parents, teachers, police, etc. They don’t believe they should be held accountable for their actions, because they don’t believe they are at fault. They don’t think they can control their actions, their emotions, or their futures.

Military schools and boot camps reinforce this external locus of control. They force teens to obey orders, not to make good choices on their own and accept responsibility for their actions.

What Will Help Troubled Teens?

Teens whose behavior is out of control usually have underlying psychological, emotional, or behavioral issues. They need therapy. Troubled teens need to understand the causes for their behaviors, learn strategies for managing their problems, learn to cope with their emotions, develop healthier habits, make better choices, and accept the consequences for the choices they make. The change needs to come from within. Changes in behavior will become long lasting when teens realize that they have the control to improve their own lives.

How Can Therapeutic Boarding Schools Help Troubled Teens?

Therapeutic boarding schools help teens with psychological, emotional, or behavioral problems by providing individual therapy to help each teen with their unique issues. They involve the entire family in therapy to improve family relationships and to help parents to better understand and help their teen.

These facilities provide a safe and closely monitored living environment where teens are taught to accept responsibility for their actions. They learn social skills and life skills. They participate in physical and outdoor activities. They earn credits toward graduation, with teachers experienced in helping students with learning disorders or who have fallen behind in school.

The staff at therapeutic boarding schools offer a caring and compassionate approach to help teens and their families heal. They help teens to understand and manage their psychological, emotional, or behavioral problems, and learn to change their behavior, and to realize that they can control their actions, manage their emotions, and improve their futures.

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