While no parent hopes to resort to it, there are times in some teens’ lives when extreme parental intervention is necessary. From behavioral and emotional problems to drug abuse and legal woes, some young people just have a tougher time making their way than others do.
When it becomes clear that a teenager’s troubles aren’t going to right themselves, many parents turn to a military school in order to turn the tide in their child’s life. While military schools have their place, oftentimes, an alternative boarding school actually makes a better choice. Here are five reasons to consider an alternative boarding school instead of a military school when times with your teen are tough.
1. Life Skills Vs. Structure
One of the best reasons to choose a military school for your child is the well-honed structure that exists there. From the beginning of the day until lights out at night, a military school functions like a non-negotiable day planner so that students don’t have a single minute unaccounted for or disengaged. While this type of highly structured environment can have an immediate effect on poor behavior and a lousy attitude, it doesn’t necessarily result in lasting change.
An alternative school like that at Diamond Ranch — check out their blog — actually transforms practices, teaches positive coping skills, and trains youth in life skills that will be of great benefit to them when their time at school has ended. If your teen needs more than a highly structured interruption, an alternative school can give him the life skills that will enable him to become a successful adult long after the structure of a military school is over.
2. More Than Motivation
Military school has an almost immediate effect on students whose problem is under-performance. Whether your teen is gifted and, therefore, disengaged, or she is actually on the lazier side, a military school can compel her to work when other efforts fall short.
Of course, teenage motivation is complicated, and if your teen’s issues are more complex than just not wanting to work hard right now, an alternative school is a better choice. From therapy to art and sports, many alternative schools can reach a wider variety of teenagers who are struggling with a wider variety of troubles.
3. Changes Are More Likely to Stick
Because an alternative school provides skills for life, the changes you see in your teen when he attends one are more likely to stick than the changes that come about from being in a military school. Real life isn’t very much like the military, and unless your child goes immediately from military school into a military career, he may struggle with not being told what to do with his time each day.
Give your child a broader chance to make lasting changes with an alternative school that takes a more holistic approach and teaches him how to be the best self he can be in any situation.
4. The Problems Can Be Addressed
It’s true that military school environments can make a misbehaving teen fall into line, but if the underlying problems that led to the bad behavior aren’t addressed, your teen will likely relapse into old behavior once she is away from a military school environment. Most parents struggle with how a teen acts, but actions can be little more than symptoms.
If your teen’s troubles are more than just outward — think: depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, etc. — a military school might do little more than change what is outward. For more thorough help that can address underlying issues, an alternative school makes a better choice.
5. They Can Still Be Kids
One of the primary recommendations for an alternative school over a military one is that your teen can still be a kid at an alternative school. With sports teams, school dances, free time, and trips, alternative schools function in many ways like more traditional boarding schools.
This means that, unlike at a military school, students at alternative schools get to enjoy themselves in more traditional ways. If you or your teen are worried that he’s going to miss out on his teen years as you attempt to work out problems, an alternative school can strike a balance that will allow him a more “normal” middle school or high school experience.
When your adolescent is struggling and you’re not sure where to turn, it can seem like there are no right answers. While only you and your child can determine what is best, be sure to consider alternative schooling as an option. As these five reasons show, in some instances, it really is a better choice than a military school.