Troubled Teenagers - Behavior Modification for Struggling Teens
Military Schools

Troubled Teenagers' Help

Military schools are most appropriate for children and teenagers who do not struggle from any significant underlying emotional or behavioral problems. Military schools do not generally offer or make available, appropriate therapy or other types of psychological interventions for struggling teens. They are unable to deal with student's that are defiant, manipulative or that might need therapy. In fact, some psychologists would argue that the disciplinary nature of military schools without working on any underlying emotional problems could prove a disservice to troubled teenagers who are truly suffering from an emotional or behavioral problem. Although the child might begin to show an improvement in behavior when under the strict supervision of the school, parents will often see a complete reversal a few weeks after the child returns home for summer break or other vacation periods.

Military Schools are not designed to deal with teens in crisis and therefore internalization (learn more about internalization) which is a critical component needed for making long lasting changes is often neglected. There are Specialty Boarding Schools that have a very satisfactory track record for working with troubled teenagers and many of their students are able to successfully internalize their positive changes in behavior and outlook on life. Parents may needlessly delay essential interventions because they think the military-style discipline is giving their teen help when it is not actually dealing with the issues that underlie his or her behavior.

Troubled teenagers with behavioral and/or emotional problems need an individualized emotional growth aspect so they are able to acquire the life skills critical in becoming a productive, adult. Following orders or obeying rules is only one aspect of behavior modification.

Some characteristics that would suggest your adolescent is in need of a more specialized environment, such as a specialty boarding school (sometimes known as emotional growth schools) or a residential treatment center are:

Signs of ADHD

Signs of Depression

Signs of Substance Abuse

Other Warning Signs:
  • Irritability
  • Extreme Mood Swings
  • Drug Use
  • Defiant or Oppositional
  • Poor Academic Performance
  • Changes in Dress
  • Weight Gain or Loss
  • Fighting and Argumentative
  • Lying and/or Dishonesty
  • Change in Friends or Peer Group

Even with such impressive results, military schools occupy only a tiny niche in the education world. "It's not for everybody. It's for a small number of kids," says Virginia Military Institute superintendent Josiah Bunting. "But it does a pretty good job for kids who lack focus and need discipline." That raises an obvious question: Are these schools living in the past or riding the wave of the future?

Tuition is expensive at all such schools--$15,000 to $20,000 a year at the priciest institutions, as low as $6,500 for instate residents at the New Mexico Military Institute. But if school vouchers become readily available, cost will be less of a deterrent.

More importantly, as secondary education drowns in foolish educational theories, military high schools operate on a winning formula: hard work, loyalty, a sense of community, individual purpose, and personal discipline. Some sophisticates deride that philosophy as simplistic, but many parents hail it as a wise "back to basics" approach now sadly lacking from most public schools.

Military Schools are able most of the time to deliver a much better academic program than traditional public schools are able to offer. Military Schools focus on teamwork and academics and although many in the past have taken troubled teenagers, most military schools shy away from teens with more profuse problems and are not adequate in helping troubled teenagers in need of behavior modification.

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*The phone numbers listed on this website may be answered by a number of organizations that specialize in helping struggling teens.