Tag Archives: brat camps

Boot Camps

What are Teen Boot Camps?

There are several kinds of boot camps out there. There are boot camps for learning, for example, the Disney Boot Camp or the Astronaut Boot Camp. There are adult boot camps for losing weight. We are going to discuss the troubled teen boot camps. These juvenile boot camps usually have a military type structure with a lot of screaming from big men with of marching and exercising. This appeals to a lot of parents with troubled teens because they have done a lot of screaming at their teen and it doesn’t seem to work, so they think that someone bigger and meaner looking will force their teen to straighten up.

Who are appropriate teens for Boot Camps?

Boot Camps for teens are short term, typically 30 days. Teens who are looking to get a good exercise program going during the summer may benefit from a boot camp. Teens who do not have any emotional or behavioral problems, but are just sluffing off a little in school and just need a little wake up call, may benefit from a juvenile boot camp.

Who are not appropriate teens for Juvenile Boot Camps?

Since the juvenile boot camps are usually a hostile environment, a teen who is hostile will only learn that that the louder you scream, the more action you will get. Boot Camps are not designed to deal with the emotional side of teens and their behavior problems.

Why are Boot Camps not appropriate for Behavior Modification?

Teen Boot Camps are short term and do not provide treatment. Because they are short term and because of the environment, you may not even be able to contract with outside private services to work with your teen with emotional and behavioral problems. Thirty days is not long enough to make lasting changes. Boot Camps do not have long-term follow up nor support that is needed for troubled teens and parents.

How much do Teen Boot Camps cost?

Boot Camps for teens tend to charge more then a typical Behavior Modification School because they are only 30 days so they feel that parents are willing to pay more for one month then they are for several months over a year. Boot Camps cost between $5,000 and $10,000 for the 30 day stay.

Brat Camps

The term brat camps is pejorative, condemning either the organizations themselves or the children who are sent there. When referring to a child, it is a disdainful term that blames the child for whatever the issues may be. When referring to an organization that purports to help children, it does not bespeak a professional, licensed and accredited institution, but one at which preteens and teens are treated punitively, without a research-based approach or certified staff overseeing the program.

The term brat camp gained popularity through a reality television show that is no longer produced. On it, teens were treated for a range of different issues, some of which-like ADHD and mood disorders-lead to behaviors that it seems only someone without a true understanding of the condition would callbratty or treat by sending a child to a place with a shape-up-or-ship-out attitude. Other teens were sent to the so-called “brat camps” for issues such as defiance, problems with school, substance abuse, violence, and lying.

In fact, the programs at which the teens on this show were treated aren’t brat camps by any stretch of the imagination and does these organizations a disservice. The truth is that the Turnabout Ranch, Aspen Achievement Academy, and RedCliff Ascent-all in Utah-and the ANASAZI Foundation in Arizona, are all members of NATSAP (National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs), which only accepts licensed and accredited member organizations and holds them to a set of Ethical Principles and Principles of Good Practice. Calling such organizations brat camps is absurd.

The ANASAZI Foundation addresses the brat camp label head-on, stating on their website that the organization “does not consider itself a brat camp. There are no “brats” or “bad kids” at ANASAZI. We help children and young adults (and their caring families) who in some cases have made bad choices.“

Reasons Not To Send Your Child to a Brat Camp

Now let’s summarize the reasons why you should not consider a brat camp if you have a child who needs outside assistance with an issue.

• A brat camp, by its very name, starts off with a lack of respect for the people it is supposed to help. How can a young person be properly diagnosed and treated, assisted to become more mature, and accept guidance and counseling and mentoring from people who reveal before they’ve even met him or her that they have no respect for your child?

• Children who need help need the guidance and insight of people who have been trained and who make decisions on how to proceed based on that training, on research, and on experience. This means that therapists and teachers should be licensed, that the clinical and educational programs should be accredited by a legitimate and well-respected accreditation institution and/or by the state in which it operates, and that the program philosophy should be sound, based on, for example, 12 Step or Christian principles or some other research-based program.

• Punitive institutions, which organizations that disdain their patients tend to be, have been shown to be unsuccessful in long-term results. This means that the whatever issue or issues your child faces will not be well-addressed, and you will be out thousands of dollars for nothing positive.

• Especially for patients with a mental health issue like a mood disorder or a learning disability like ADHD, for whom punishment cannot possibly change their underlying condition, this is a poor choice. Beyond that, for all types of issues, a disrespectful atmosphere and punishment-ridden environment may make things worse instead of better.

• If the underlying cause of the child’s behavior issues is caused by the actions of others, such as physical abuse, incest, or bullying, then the child is only the identified patient: the whole family or whomever is inflicting the abuse needs treatment and sending the child anywhere, even to a reputable, well-run program may not even be able to assist the child properly.

Other Options to Consider

Have an expert, such as your child’s pediatrician, provide a diagnosis if one is possible. Look for a therapeutic environment that advertises itself as dealing specifically with whatever issues have been identified by the expert.

The program should explain its philosophy and approach, identify its credentials and the qualifications of its staff, and provide an overview of the types of issues the staff are qualified to deal with.

Either use a member organization, such as NATSAP (National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs), or get a recommendation from the expert, or work with a consultant from an organization like IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association) to find an appropriate fit, or-if you do the search yourself-check the program’s credentials before doing anything else.

Once you’ve established that the program might possibly be a good fit, scour their website and look for other information about them to confirm that they provide good results for children with issues like those that face your child.