Boot Camp Beating - Would You Still Consider?


New Member
<span style='font-size: 14pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #663366"> i think there is a big difference between sherrif run boot camps & those run by EBGS schools....where they finish boot camp & then go to the EGBS. even good sherrif run BCs are meant to break the kids down, but very little time is invested in rebuilding the kids.

i don't think sherrifs are properly trained to run these kinds of camp.

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timer lady

Queen of Hearts
I'm not sure that I would ever consider a boot camp environment. I'd have to be reassured of staff training & specific treatment protocal.

I do know that parents who have few other choices take what is available - trying to do what they believe is good.

It's horrible when a parent of a difficult child has few resources with huge & challenging needs/behaviors.


New Member
My difficult child wouldn't last a day in a Boot Camp. We were so afraid the judge was going to send him to one. He would have been another kid in the news if she had no doubt in my mind. -RM


Active Member
Maybe it's just me, but I find the concept of "breaking someone down" at a boot camp or any other situation to be deplorable. I see it as deliberately inducing Stockholm Syndrome in someone. We are all human beings, entitled to dignity and a sense of self-respect. Maybe if these kids had MORE self-respect they wouldn't do these things in the first place, to get sent to boot camps. In a social climate where parents can lose custody if they spank their kids, how on earth can anyone justify manhandling kids like this? If people in this situation can't manage the kid without getting physical, they're doing it wrong. They have the resources to begin with, they have safe rooms (or should have) where the kids can be put to calm down from a rage, they should have trained staff who can deal in non-violent ways with aggressive kids. There ARE ways, in this situation. Or there should be. And to treat kids this way - what are we teaching them? What kind of father would this kid have been, if this method had been effective on teaching him to be a better citizen? He would have been thinking, "hey, it turned my life around. It proves that all a difficult kid needs is a good whupping and he'll be good." That's if it worked. And probably even if it didn't - having it used on him from a position of authority and right, teaches that this is the correct way to handle difficult kids. Or anyone who is being difficult, from his perspective. Very unhealthy.

I do feel, though, that a properly run boot camp can be a good thing. difficult child 1 was sent on something like this, run by a church organisation. The only bad thing about it - it formed him and the other boot camp attendees into a close-knit social group, where previously difficult child 1 had been mixing with the 'normal' kids. He came back from camp with a set of such weird friends that the nerds were too scared to go near him. And since difficult child 1 is fairly nerdy himself, it changed his social grouping for the worse, I felt. Not that I dislike his new friends, but they came with a lot of problems that didn't really help difficult child 1 to be around right then.
The end result of difficult child 1's boot camp was that the boys all developed a sense of team effort and also a sense of self-worth. They were encouraged to push themselves, to find reserves within them that they didn't know were there, to value themselves and to feel encouraged and NOT put down. They encouraged the boys, supported them, but did not force them to do something they really couldn't do. One day they were asked to abseil down a cliff. They were shown how but difficult child 1 simply couldn't do it. They talked to him, tried to help him pluck up the courage and he really wanted to do it but was simply too terrified. They let him off and did not belittle him for not doing it. It could have easily been handled negatively, but he came home saying, "I really wanted to do it, mum. Maybe one day I'll be able to, I just wasn't ready this time."

I've not seen an Aussie boot camp for kids that degrades them. Our people wouldn't stand for it, anyone running a camp like this would be out of a job and behind bars faster than you could say, "child abuse!"

We have a program for street kids and young offenders run by a city priest, Father Chris Riley.,20867,21013179-15025,00.html

He gets the kids involved in working to help other people. He had a group of them in Aceh helping to clean up after the tsunami. He took another lot to East Timor after the riots there. These kids want to be seen as tough, but they saw for themselves that it's much tougher in other parts of the world and there is no glory in it. He rounds these kids up and puts them to work to give them a work ethic and a sense of social conscience.

I wish we could send a dozen Father Chris Rileys around the world.



New Member
this type of placem,ent would have killed my oldest dtr. Aw heck, the idea would have killed me, I fear. she would have gone straight into fight or flight, and when she could not escape the moment- she would have disassociated maybe to never return to the here and now. But thats just me and my child.......I think they would have eaten her alive.


Well-Known Member
I can't believe that a Boot Camp program run by any government entity would actually allow any kind of physical punishment. Certainly not a state or county-run program. That's not to say that it has never happened but it certainly is against all the rules and any staff member caught doing this would be dismissed immediately. In the correctional system I work in, it is strictly against the rules in both the adult and juvenile systems. I have no idea what might go on in a privately run program such as an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or church-run program, but I can't imagine that physical abuse is legal anywhere!

Our Dept. of Correction here has a Boot Camp program as part of the Adult system that has been fairly successful - not 100% but it has helped some if they choose to take advantage of the program. The inmates sent here are some of the youngest ones technically old enough to be in the Adult system, and possibly "salvageable" if they take advantage of the program. For most of them sent here, the deal is usually something like successfully completing six months in the Boot Camp program vs. possibly 5-7 year first-time trip to the "big boy prison". If they choose not to finish the Boot Camp program, then they go to the adult prison to do their entire sentence, whatever that is, instead of the relatively short time in the Boot Camp. Very clearly though, it is NOT the place for a mentally ill inmate, nor is it an alternative to mental health treatment!

The goal is to do like what the Boot Camp programs in the military used to accomplish back when there was a draft! Agree with it or not, in the past, many a young man on the wrong path "grew up" in a military Boot Camp and went on to become a responsible, productive, law abiding citizen. My brother did! Our Boot Camp program in the Dept. of Correction is meant more for the young ones with potential but who have an "attitude", to head them off and maybe save them from spending their life in prison. Our Boot Camp is full of the cocky ones, the smart-a$$es, the ones who respect no authority and think they will get rich by selling drugs or stealing cars and never have to work a day in their life! There is a big emphasis placed on physical training, drills and running, with the idea being that they will be just too tired to get into much, run off some of the aggression, and maybe end up in better physical condition than when they came in. And no, they don't talk nice to them, there's lots and lots of rules, the discipline is very strict, and some of them find themselves carrying a sandbag around. For some it works and for some it doesn't. Many of them can't handle it and quit the program, even knowing that the alternative is several years in the state prison because they think that will be "easier" ... I guarantee you that 100% of them change their minds when they get there! But some of them actually develop a genuine pride in themselves for completing the program and accomplishing things they never thought they could do. That's what the way the program is supposed to work.

I would suggest that anyone who is considering a voluntary boot camp placement for their child to investigate the program very thoroughly before proceeding, especially a privately-run program. And if your child is sent to a program like this by the courts, to monitor as closely as you can to make sure that no actual violations are going on, such as physical punishment. Short of that, remember that it is usually considered "shock therapy", a last ditch effort to keep them out of prison, and they're not supposed to like it! That's the whole point!


New Member
Going with a "never say never" mentality, I can only say that I hope that I do not ever have to make that decision with difficult child. I don't think I could do it. There are probably programs with good track records and those with bad. We definitely only hear about the bad ones, but still . . . . I feel for any parent in that situation, because obviously that it the last resort.


Well-Known Member
Well I havent read the article but Im going to chime in just on the subject of "boot camps". I know Donna made reference to many going through military boot camps to grow up. Yep. I also realize that many have the mistaken notion that no one puts their hands on you in military boot camp...notice I said mistaken notion.

I have no experience with any other branch of the military except for the Marines but I know without a doubt that they do use force. They will tell you that they dont, but ...oh how can I put this nicely...they do exactly what it takes to get someone in line. Well, not even to get someone in line sometimes. They break a person down and then build them back up into their version of what they want...a marine. The fact that this happened to my son who is so not defiant leaves me with little doubt that it happens to many. The last day he was punched...not hit...punched was the day he graduated boot camp. And no you do not tell because you want to be a marine. Tattling is frowned upon. Just gets you more physical training to do.

I dont necessarily think the hitting was all bad in boot camp either. Not in the military boot camps. They were training them to be in combat situations where they may be in danger and/or captured by the enemy. The enemy isnt going to treat them nicely and ask them for tea and crumpets. They would be beaten and they need to learn to take it. Best to learn to deal with that sort of stress.


Active Member
There are very few things that I'm going to say about this.

1. family didn't have much choice. Our court system "places" you. No input accepted.
2. we no longer have boot camps any more, they have been closed down or reorganized into something else.


New Member
My son was court ordered. They are longer allowed to be called "boot" camps here in California. It did mine no good, with one exception. His officer helped me try to push the courts for mental health treatment.


Well-Known Member
Gulp. I'm afraid to read it... I've read so many similar articles... some of those places are brutal to the point where a death occurs on occasion. Especially since the staff is rarely trained in ANY health care situation. They may know CPR but they don't bother to use it until they realize you've been missing for a wk.

I've considered military schools but they are SO expensive. They promote themselves by advertising Big Name Celebs who have graduated and yes, they are good, but most of the parents I know have only been able to afford one yr.

The "regular" boot camps bother me. I think the people in charge think they're dealing with-seasoned Marine Corps grads and that is clearly not the case... there's a big diff between raw kids and seasoned pros.