troubled teen- boot camp??? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 25 Old 06-29-2005, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My cousin is 15, going into the 9th grade and her parents are talking about sending her to boot camp. She's got a terrible attitude with her family, acts out violently towards her sister, talks back to her parents, and smokes pot and cigarettes (so do her parents, so I don't know why they're surprised about that). Here's the thing: she's always been a wild one around her parents and siblings, but when she's around me she's calm and respectful. I have always seen her treated badly by her family. They are the opposite of gentle parenting. They spank, hit, yell, disrespect, etc. So my thought right now is: send her to me, instead of boot camp! I haven't talked to my dp about it yet, so I don't know what his thoughts would be. I plan on talking to him about it when he gets home.

What are your thoughts on this? What would you do?
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#2 of 25 Old 06-29-2005, 02:18 PM
 
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I think those teen boot camps are evil. Personally I would offer to take the young lady for awhile if the parents would go for it.

-Angela
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#3 of 25 Old 06-29-2005, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna
I think those teen boot camps are evil. Personally I would offer to take the young lady for awhile if the parents would go for it.

-Angela
I may have a hard time getting her parents to agreed to it, her sister tells me they want to send her there to punish her
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#4 of 25 Old 06-29-2005, 03:36 PM
 
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I'm not sure if it was Sally Jesse Raphael or The Maury Show, but one of them had a show where they sent "bad" kids to a boot camp....one of the kids died at boot camp. They were not fed if they did not listen/obey, extreme physical activity, constant bantering, and military like discipline. I would suggest telling the parents you would love to have her come visit for a while and see how things work out.
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#5 of 25 Old 06-29-2005, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OMG that's really scary!
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Originally Posted by Starr
I would suggest telling the parents you would love to have her come visit for a while and see how things work out.
Actually I plan on telling them I could use her help with the baby
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#6 of 25 Old 06-29-2005, 05:08 PM
 
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There was an expose of teen boot camps in the New York Times several months ago, and I know there's been other media attention. You may want to do a search. They're pretty scary - physically dangerous, elements of brain washing, very challenging to 'earn' the privilege of getting to leave. Generally they tend not to have qualified teachers either. Kids just read the textbooks and get tested. Massive potential for physical and sexual abuse going beyond what is authorized, too, I would expect, given the power differential.

If you think this type of information would sway your cousin's family, present it to them. If you think they would just figure it's what she deserves for her behaviour, it may not be the most effective approach. In that case, I would emphasize anything you can find to suggest these places (a) aren't effective, (b) will hold back her education, (c) are expensive - and say that coming to stay with you will be effective, will get her on track with her education, and will be cheaper for them.

Good luck!
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#7 of 25 Old 06-29-2005, 05:11 PM
 
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sounds like this girl needs a lot of love.....maybe a therapeutic boarding school, but a boot camp! No way!
My DH has a cousin who went to one of these places. She is from a very wealthy suburb of Chicago, and comes from somewhat of a high-pressure family- her dad is a well-known bankruptcy attorney, and her older sister (only one year older) is a "top"kid- very pretty, brilliant (just turned down Harvard Law), etc....her school was filled with kids like that: wealthy, high pressure...I don't really know the details, but after DS was born, she came over with a gift- a stuffed animal that she knit herself! (She's now a junior in college).She told me she learned to knit when she was at boarding school in Montana. I didn't ask her for details, but after she left, DH told me that she had some sort of drug issue in high school, so they shipped her off to some place where rich kids go to recuperate/rehab. Now, she's a great girl with a very positive self-image, successful in college, friendsm etc
I hope you can make her parents understand.
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#8 of 25 Old 06-29-2005, 05:21 PM
 
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Have a search here, I think there have been other threads on boot camps, might be more info there.
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#9 of 25 Old 06-29-2005, 09:43 PM
 
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I personally think it is a good idea to sent a child here if it calls for it.
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#10 of 25 Old 06-29-2005, 09:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CryPixie83
OMG that's really scary!

Actually I plan on telling them I could use her help with the baby
I had my DD help me with the baby, and I ended up in the ER many times because of her neglect...

...The SW told me it was all my fault for trusting my DD; that I should know better than to let my DD watch my son...she was fifteen.

Be prepared to have two babies in the house if you decide to take her in.
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#11 of 25 Old 06-30-2005, 12:26 AM
 
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If she's a troubled kiddo, even real boot camp wouldn't help. I don't know why people think that treating a kid even crappier will help them at home.
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#12 of 25 Old 06-30-2005, 01:09 AM
 
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Well, if you'd like a very good argument against it, my sister was sent on multiple boot camps and boarding schools. At each one, she just learned more tricks for getting around drug tests, the best places to get high, how cool cutting (school, your skin, other people) was, trading stories of mouthing off to parents (the best things to get under their skin), and other super-cool tricks of the angry teen t(i)rade.

Uh, I dunno. I wouldn't recommend it. I suppose they're not big book-readers, huh? Neither was my mom. If they'd consider it, Love and Logic for Teens is good, as is their videotape series. It appeals to the "stern" approach yet is all soft and mushy underneath. I worked with many, many troubled teens at a previous job and found these strategies to really work for me. I imagine these parents aren't too into examining their own strategies? Neither was my mom... : Good luck to you.
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#13 of 25 Old 06-30-2005, 01:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by applejuice
I personally think it is a good idea to sent a child here if it calls for it.
You obviously know nothing about those camps.

Yes, there were threads about them in the past on MDC - do a search and you will and :Puke when you read about them and what they do to those poor kids.

There's a good reason why many are located outside of the United States.

PLEASE do whatever you can to prevent her from being sent to one of them. If she is that way with her parents, she'll get worse with the worse treatment she'll get at the camp.

Early intervention specialist and parent consultant since 2002.
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#14 of 25 Old 06-30-2005, 01:16 AM
 
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There are plenty of other places your cousin could go to. I went to a teen program when I was in high school and it turned my life around. I was NEVER hit there, nor was any one else. There are other options; I find that when a child goes to live with another family member they will just find trouble in a new area. Instead of trying to take on that huge responsibility maybe you could help them to consider more reasonable options:
http://www.teenrescue.com/html/index.htm
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#15 of 25 Old 06-30-2005, 01:18 AM
 
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Boot camps don't work but I don't blame parents who feel their kids are out of control for feeling like there must be something. Therapy also doesn't work much. And all the love in the world doesn't help much... sometimes. I believe for some kids, being a kid is just horrible, no matter what you do. If you can take her for a while for her sake and her parents, that might be the best thing for everyone. It took me 9 years of hell with my oldest and now he is a fantastic adult... the best support I ever got was those people who hung in there and loved us both, supported us both. I am sure that if I had enough money, I might have considered boot camp. I felt so powerless and was afraid that his behavior was going to get him killed. Even my craziest was about loving him and wanting the best for him. The media makes parents feel like they have to escalate, to prove who is in charge.

Maureen
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#16 of 25 Old 06-30-2005, 01:23 AM
 
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it kinda sounds like the parents are the real problem. i'm not a boot camp advocate but it would probably be in her interest to be away from her toxic parents (another family member, etc.).
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#17 of 25 Old 06-30-2005, 02:21 AM
 
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I think that before her parents send her to one of those camps they should read this:

http://www.63days.com/

This is a first person account of what happens in those camps. I would never, ever ever send anyone there and I think that doing so ought to qualify as child abuse.

Some really really scary and tragic things can happen to these kids. I would ask those parents to really do their research, because not only do kids die in those camps, they are raped, humiliated and treated worse than we treat prisoners.

What's wrong with some therapy?
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#18 of 25 Old 06-30-2005, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by applejuice
I personally think it is a good idea to sent a child here if it calls for it.
How is it ever a good idea to send a child (or any person) to a place where they will be humiliated and abused???
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#19 of 25 Old 06-30-2005, 04:53 PM
 
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Don't know much about boot camps but they sound horrible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
Boot camps don't work but I don't blame parents who feel their kids are out of control for feeling like there must be something. Therapy also doesn't work much. And all the love in the world doesn't help much... sometimes. I believe for some kids, being a kid is just horrible, no matter what you do.
I agree for the most part. My dh and I took in our 16 yo niece and she lived with us till she was 18. She came from a similar background to the op's cousin in that her mother treated her with no respect, no consistency, and lots of mental abuse, and then expected her to be a well rounded child.

It was really hard raising our dn for 2 years but we are so glad we did, she is a mostly responsible adult now and is off on her own, supporting herself and working hard. She still has her issues but stays out of trouble.

Therapy helped, psych meds helped, love and understanding and support helped, but none of these things were complete saviors, there were still many bumps in the road. However, I shudder to think of how our dn would have made it to 18 without therapy, respect, and prozac. I don't think she would have.

So, if you do decide to take in your cousin, don't discount the good that can come from therapy etc but know that you are in for quite a ride. My mantra was to just get us all through it alive and in the best mental state possible and screw always having rules be followed to a T (we did have rules and consequences but they didn't always get followed!) Things turned out better than we could have hoped for in that she graduated from high school (just barely).

Quote:
The media makes parents feel like they have to escalate, to prove who is in charge
This is so true and dh and I had quite a time balancing how to treat dn because dh wanted a tough love/authoritarian approach and I leaned more towards just keeping dn on the right track in general even if she wasn't a perfectly behaving teen all the time.

One other note about using your cousin to help out with the baby. I would also caution against using her to a great degree, maybe here and there once she is stable, but don't make her feel like your taking her in to be a babysitter. Only take her in if you are willing to make her part of your family and are willing to work hard to manage her ups and downs for the next several years while loving her unconditionally.
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#20 of 25 Old 06-30-2005, 05:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasmyn
Is this story real?
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#21 of 25 Old 06-30-2005, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KateMary
So, if you do decide to take in your cousin, don't discount the good that can come from therapy etc but know that you are in for quite a ride. My mantra was to just get us all through it alive and in the best mental state possible and screw always having rules be followed to a T (we did have rules and consequences but they didn't always get followed!) Things turned out better than we could have hoped for in that she graduated from high school (just barely).


One other note about using your cousin to help out with the baby. I would also caution against using her to a great degree, maybe here and there once she is stable, but don't make her feel like your taking her in to be a babysitter. Only take her in if you are willing to make her part of your family and are willing to work hard to manage her ups and downs for the next several years while loving her unconditionally.

DP and I agree that if her parents are seriously considering sending her,we will try to talkthem into leting her stay with us.

I was only going to tell her parents I could use her help with the parents in an effort to persuade them if I needed to. I have no intention of treating her like a babysitter
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#22 of 25 Old 07-05-2005, 06:28 PM
 
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We have a couple of friends who have had things escalate over time and sent their children away. One couple, it helped tremendously but it was a boarding school for troubled boys, not boot camp. The main reason it helped was he was away from his mother and her abusiveness. The school would not take him the second year saying there was nothing they could do for him, he was fine in their eyes. It was his home life that was the problem. Now we have another friend whose ex-wife abandoned their son with him and the son has been acting out. Who wouldn't? It is so obvious that the boy is trying everything to push his dad away to prove he is unlovable. And his dad keeps getting more and more punitive and conditional in his love. Now he is considering sending him to that same school our other friends used (or one similar). I want to scream, let up on the kid and LOVE him. Don't send him away. But I am not close enough to do that.

It is hard to watch those situations. Children are doing everything in their power to get the parents to prove they love them and the parents are failing miserably. I would check into the books Unconditional Parenting and Hold On To Your Kids. They are phenomenal books.
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#23 of 25 Old 07-12-2005, 05:46 AM
 
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I've read several things about boot camps and they are just plain evil. It's so unfair that a child gets sent away because the parents can't get their act together enough to effectively deal with the issues that are causing the rift.

It sounds like family therapy is what the family needs. Sending away the daughter will only address a piece of the problem and she certainly won't be any better off because of it.

Here are a couple of links to browse about boot camps.
http://www.nospank.net/toc.htm
(scroll down once you click on this site--there are several heart wrenching articles about these awful camps)

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/ju...boot-j10.shtml

Good luck...let us know how things go.
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#24 of 25 Old 07-12-2005, 10:13 AM
 
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If you do get them to agree to send her to you, you might want to do some stuff to prepare yourself. In addition to the books already suggested, one my mom (who is retired and fosters troubled teenagers) suggested to me that I found VERY insightful was Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of our Teenage Girls. It talks about different parenting styles, peer pressure, media pressure, and how to help girls weather the storm in one piece and come out of it as strong adults. You might also want to contact a local non-profit that trains foster parents. Explain your situation of taking in your niece and ask them if there are any foster parenting classes available from which you could benefit.

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#25 of 25 Old 07-12-2005, 10:59 AM
 
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i think you have a better idea.
instead of putting her in another place that will be strange to her of course.
talked to her family that you want to be the one to look for her, for sure she listen to you just what have you said that she respect and calm to you.
i think she just need a different environment that there is somone who is willing to listen, who is willing to understand everything about her, someone that will guide her. try to settle everything and for sure she will change a lot in to a well grown up lady.

cheers
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