Boot Camp, Military School, or Boys Ranch?
If you are reading this, you have already considered that you may need help and the obstinate, defiant, and inappropriate behavior of your teenage son has probably gone beyond where you can handle it without help.
Juvenile boot camps, military schools and boys’ working ranches are in business to help with adolescent behavioral management. When parents consider that they can no longer cope with the anger and hostility, the inappropriate behavior of their out-of-control teenager, what do they consider? Psychological care? A juvenile boot camp? A military school? A boys’ ranch? A combination of something? Making any decision that drastically changes the way a family lives is one of the toughest situations a parent faces. However, if the end result could be seen, the decision would be so much easier. When a family includes a teenager with chronic behavioral or emotional problems, changes do have to be made, and it is often difficult to know what type of intervention is best.
What is the difference between juvenile boot camps, military schools, and boys’ ranches?
Juvenile boot camps, military schools, and boys’ ranches have grown in popularity and need in the past couple of decades. Juvenile boot camps were originally started as state correctional facilities, in place of detention and incarceration. Most are private now with a majority of teens being placed by families—not by courts. There are almost no state-run juvenile boot camps left.
Military schools, which are at the other end of the spectrum, were originally founded to provide a specialized education for those seeking a future military life. Parents now use them to help straighten out their problem teenagers. The student body at a military school is still largely those seeking military life or parents seeking a private school setting for better and more disciplined academics.
Working ranches, regularly require training and working with animals as part of therapy. They provide some hard-work chores to do and tasks to overcome in addition to academic excellence in education. (Educational Advantages) Boys’ ranches also provide for psychological care and counseling by employing professional clinical therapists who do both individual and group therapy.
Why is it different than just adopting these methods at home?
Each environment offers a superb place to recover academics when these troubled teens are failing school, to learn structure and to follow discipline, all of which are often absent from a young boy’s life. The new environment also takes the teen away from those familiar triggers that set off bad behavior or emotions at home. In short, they remove the boy from his comfort zone. The home environment has become the defiant or troubled youth’s “home court advantage.” (Ranch Living)
Does this mean parents have failed at parenting?
It is difficult for parents to relinquish what they see as their obligation and responsibility to persevere with their son, but there actually is a limit that a parent can achieve in the mind of a developing adolescent. Juvenile boot camps, military schools, and boys’ ranches can provide much needed change in environment that allows new learning to take place. But parent involvement is necessary for success.
Skilled “strangers” are able to accomplish what dedicated parents are unable to. In the world of human development and developing adolescent psychology, defiant teenagers discover that there is no one in the world who is more stupid than their parents. As far as they are concerned, even your friend’s parents, who are idiots, are still smarter than your parents. A parent trying to teach appropriate responses and manners quickly become “the enemy” where a stranger in a neutral environment can be perceived as necessary to please in order to make survival comfortable.
Which is best for my child—juvenile boot camp vs. a military school?
Juvenile boot camps and military schools provide a strong model to deal with discipline and responsibility. They also teach the consequences of not cooperating with others, especially when engaged in team-dependent tasks. The downside for boot camps and military models, in general, is that they often depend on hazing, scolding and embarrassing boys into performing. Hazing, scolding, and embarrassment do not work when there are multiple behavioral problems involved such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or abuse. Juvenile boot camps and military schools focus heavily on discipline and sometimes consider deeper behavioral problems a little too “touch-feely” to address in depth within the military discipline model. About Behavioral Therapy
Military models vs. boys’ working ranches
A condition called Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) ODD is one condition that favors a working ranch environment. This is mentioned because ODD is present in ten percent of teenagers. Believe it or not, statistics show that one out of every ten teens, male or female, is afflicted with ODD! Two of the hallmark accompanying conditions of this particular disorder is low self-esteem and depression. Low self-esteem and depression do not respond well to hazing, scolding or embarrassment. Your son has a one in ten chance of suffering from this, or a combination with, ODD no matter what other problems they have.
Arivaca Boys Ranch addresses these differences where juvenile boot camps have difficulty. Arivaca Boys Ranch has a greater realization that the individual boy must remain a distinct individual and solutions need to be tailor-made to make that happen for each boy. Arivaca Boys Ranch is a real, working horse ranch. Each boy has a responsibility for a horse and that responsibility teaches personality attributes and responsibilities that might not be addressable, otherwise.
Another feature of the professional staff that favors Arivaca Boys Ranch is that basic therapy includes counseling and behavior modification that is not often part of the military discipline. Arivaca Boys Ranch provides professional, clinical mental health services that help teens cope with thinking and reacting errors.
Hard work with the horses (equine therapy), teaches through on-hand experience that some things cannot be controlled until the boys’ own emotions and frustrations are brought under control. Equine therapy works. It is a very effective way to permanently modify behavior aimed at lifelong success. Success through equine therapy contributes to the building of self-esteem and greater self-confidence, and a lifting of spirits and self-worth. See also “Ranch Living“
Defiant, argumentative and destructive behavior in teenagers needs to be addressed as early as possible. The tough part of this challenge is for parents to let go of the idea that they can do it alone because that is what parenting is about.
Actually, successful parenting is about successfully raising well-adjusting children. A parent’s responsibility is to see that gets accomplished, but sometimes that requires professional help. A parent’s active involvement is still part of success. Arivaca Boys Ranch succeeds in addressing those problems and can return your precious son to you better prepared to meet life and life’s challenges.