Military School for Troubled Girls

Military school for troubled girls may not be what you think. If your daughter is a struggling teen and you are looking for a military school, read this article. Learn about military schools and choices for military school for troubled girls.

Clarifying the Language

When we talk about "military school for troubled girls," there are a few things that we need to be clear about:

• First, "troubled" is not a diagnosis. a girl who acts in a way that could be described as "troubled" might be the victim of abuse or bullying, have a learning disability, have conduct disorder, be an addict or have a learning disability. These are radically different underlying issues, each of which has its own treatment requirements. It's critical to not label her as a "troubled girl", know what's at issue,  and look for a specific solution, so that you can choose a program (which may or may not be a military school) and personnel who are accredited and licensed to treat the problem your child is having. Someone can be perfectly competent to treat one issue the troubled teen is facing, and have no success with a troubled teen who was not a good match for the program.

• Second, the issues that lead to classifying a girl as a "troubled girl" are not the types of issues that are well addressed at a military school. A military school is an academic institution, most often, but not always, a college preparatory boarding school, that aims to help gifted teens become leaders. A troubled teen can be gifted, but a military school is not the environment in which the healing she needs can take place. It may be that a military-style program (different than a military school) would be helpful. If you think so, please keep reading.

Effectiveness of Military-Style Programs

•  The first step in finding an effective program, or military school, for troubled girls with a military approach is making a careful choice. Research points up issues with spread of negative behaviors and recidivism in this type of program, even when there is proper licensing and accreditation, and unfortunately, there are many programs that are more interested in making money from a family's misfortune than they are in meeting external standards or treating already troubled girls properly. 

•  However, you should know that even the few studies that have found such programs to be effective have

  • not extended their research beyond 6 months after the treatment ended and
  • shown conclusively that any program other than one that is voluntary is effective.

One Suggestion for a Military-Style Program to Consider

That voluntary military-style program that research has shown to be effective is the National Guard Challenge Program, which the authors of the research study called "the only voluntary multi-state, public intervention program for youths with conduct problems." The program exists in the following states:

  • Pacific Coast: Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Hawaii
  • Southwest: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma
  • South: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi
  • Southeast: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia
  • Northwest: Montana, Wyoming
  • Midwest: Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky
  • Mid-Atlantic: District of Columbia, New Jersey
  • And Puerto Rico.

Keep these things in mind when looking for a military school for troubled girls, and find a treatment facility, boarding school, or other type of school that best suits the academic and therapeutic needs of troubled youth.


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