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Teen Bootcamps: Can They Transform Your Child?

Teen bootcamps are designed to create a radical change in the behavior of troubled youth. These programs can help even the most disobedient, defiant teenager turn their life around and and learn how to follow the rules and respect adult authority.

Many parents feel guilty about turning to a boot camp and only do so as a last resort. You may feel as though you have tried every tact and strategy available and are at your wit's end. You don't want to give up on your child because you realize that doing so could have dire consequences for him and for you as well, especially if the authorities end up knocking on your door. Before sending your child or teen to a boot camp, you might want to consider the alternative discussed later in this article as one last attempt to help your child get his behavior under control.

Before we talk about this possible solution, it's important to understand that most teens rebel at one time or another, but certain kids take defiance to an extreme. For instance, if you are dealing with a teen who has been arrested and is facing legal troubles or a teen who has been expelled from school, is using drugs or worse yet, a teen who makes you feel unsafe in your own home, then you need to address these issues immediately.

Of course, other kids' defiance may be more subtle. Although they may be angry and disrespectful toward authorities (especially teachers and parents), they may follow the rules for the most part. Even though teen rebelliousness may be a normal part of child development, it is important to consider the effect this behavior has on younger, more impressionable children in your home. For such teens, you may want to consider an at-home behavioral program. Behavioral programs have proven most effective at turning around the lives of troubled kids.

For those kids who need a transformative experience outside the home, teen bootcamps can teach many things, but the most important lesson is the discipline aspect of the experience. At boot camp, your teenager will be one of many and like everyone else, he will be expected to follow the rules or face the consequences. No one will feel sorry for him, make excuses for him or enable him. This may be just what the teen needs to learn to control his impulses and learn to think about the consequences before he thinks or acts. Accountability is encouraged and enforced and once your teen learns to take responsibility for his behavior, he will have taken important steps in the right direction.

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Although the majority of experiences of boot camp are positive, you will want to thoroughly check out the program. Make sure you know their philosophy and the tools and experiences they use to turn kids around. Understand the rules, how they work and the consequences for inappropriate, antisocial behaviors. Make sure to check out the track record of the boot camp to discover if there have been any injuries or tragedies to teenagers under their care.

Since teen bootcamps can be a drastic measure for parents to take and can also be quite expensive, I recommend that first you try the Total Transformation which is an at-home behavioral program designed to teach parents the simple techniques to turn around defiant kids. Developed by a therapist who was once a troubled youth himself, these techniques have helped countless kids and teens transform their lives.

If you are determined to find your teen a boot camp, make sure to see if you can find comments posted by other parents to find out how the program worked for their teens. Although the majority of experiences for these camps are positive, make sure to check out the staff and anyone who is going to be responsible for the care of your child.

Any teen bootcamp worth its salt should have a friendly, knowledgable staff that is willing to answer all your questions, concerns and objections about their program.

About the Author: Laura Ramirez is the award-winning author of the parenting book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting which teaches parents how to raise children to develop their strengths to lead productive and fulfilling lives as adults.

Copyright © 2009 by Laura Ramirez. All rights reserved. This article may not be copy or distributed without the written permission of the author.



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