When looking for a place that will help your troubled teen, one of the common programs which come up is youth boot camps. As these camps are supposedly modeled after the discipline found in military boot camps, it appeals to concerned parents with out-of-control teens. However, researchers have produced studies pointing to evidence that these camps are ineffective in helping troubled teens.
While these studies are primarily concerned with the justice system’s implementation of youth boot camps, it is still applicable to privately-run youth boot camps as they have very similar structures. So, if you have been wondering if a youth boot camp may help your son or daughter, you may want to see what the research says.
Changes Made At Boot Camps Are Temporary
A major study produced by the U.S. Department of Justice made many points about the ineffectiveness of youth boot camps, but one of the key things they found was that changes made when at youth boot camps were temporary.
This fact is keenly disappointing, as permanent positive changes are why most parents send their troubled teens to a boot camp. Yet, over the decade the study covered, the researchers found that teens only maintained their positive changes for a few months at most.
Recidivism Is Not Reduced By Youth Boot Camps
Another study published in the Journal of Criminal Justice noted that attendance and graduation from a youth boot camp did not reduce recidivism—tendency to re-engage in criminal behavior or actions—among teens.
Even if your teen has not been caught breaking the law, you can find parallels between the lack of recidivism reduction and other negative behavior. Namely, the poor behaviors your teen is indulging in is likely to continue even if you send them to a youth boot camp.
Teen Boot Camps Can Instill Negative Beliefs And Feelings
Perhaps even more alarming is the analyzed study published by the National Institute of Justice, which took the time to cover how troubled teens are intrinsically affected by youth boot camps.
Due to their attendance at youth boot camps, most troubled teens develop the belief that heavy-handed discipline set out arbitrarily is the path to power. Some teens react fearfully to the inflexible discipline at these camps, where others become more aggressive and angry.
Here at Sundance Canyon Academy, we emphasize therapeutic treatment combined with academic growth and discipline. We work with troubled teen boys ages 13-17 and may be able to help your son. Contact us to learn more about our program.