There are many parents who are in despair. They have worked as hard as possible to bring up their son as a caring and well-behaved boy only to see him become a teenager and then go right off the rails. This bad behavior can be threatening and frightening. Where did the parents go wrong?

Well we could discuss each case and even then we may not reach a satisfactory conclusion. The point is some boys get into trouble and definitely need help. There are different types of assistance available and one is the tried and tested boot camp.

But please be very clear about this next point. As good as boot camps are, they are not for every troubled teen. Boot camps are not the answer for every misbehaving boy. As the parent, you need to know the difference between a cause and a symptom and find out exactly what is wrong with your son and why.

Only then can you consider the many benefits which a boot camp can offer to certain troubled teens.

Let's consider several serious issues. Your son may have depression or ADHD. He may have schizophrenia. He could be confused about his sexual orientation. These types of issues are not well catered for in a boot camp. In fact sending a boy with serious mental problems for example, could be disastrous for the young man. He needs therapy and support. He needs understanding.

A boot camp is big on discipline, on physical activity, on giving a lazy teenager a serious wake-up call. These camps do not take young men with serious drug problems or with issues sensitive to their mental health. Any parent who has had their son assessed and found to have depression or some such condition will give boot camps a very wide berth.

But on the other hand if the teen is basically a sound and well brought up youth who has let his study habits slip or got mixed up with the wrong crowd, then a boot camp could be the ideal solution. There are three aspects of a boy going to a boot camp.

1. He is removed from the bad environment

2. His family get some respite from his unruly behavior

3. The boy gets to work hard with experienced professionals

A major element of a boot camp is discipline. It's tough and applied constantly but it is fair. It is not punishment to build resentment but rather to help the boys gain self-respect and appreciate the rewards for hard work.

Just being away from those bad influences is a help in itself. Then as the boys see the benefits of hard work, their self-esteem also rises and they are able to return home a stronger and more responsible young man. The boot camp is not there to help the boys academically although schoolwork is not neglected. The major purpose is to break the hold which has turned the boy into someone who is not doing his best.

For many such teenagers, a stay at a boot camp is the best thing that has ever happened to them.

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