Choosing the Right Path
Military school offers young men the ability to develop academically, personally, and socially into a confident and prepared leader. Military school offers structure, mentorship and a safe environment that limits distractions and temptations that can detract from academic and personal progress. Still, military school is not always the right choice for every young man, or for every parent looking to steer their son on a course of improvement. If you have been considering military school for your son, read the list that follows of five reasons you should not send your son to military school.
1. Military school does not serve as a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program
While military schools offer structure, and academic and athletic discipline in a controlled and monitored environment that is free from drugs and alcohol, military school is not intended to act as a rehabilitation program. Young men who are in need of drug and alcohol abuse counseling should seek professional treatment from experts that specialize in the complexities of substance abuse recovery. Parents should also understand that enrollment in military school is a mutual selection process. Military schools only accept young men on an application basis. Admissions departments are looking for young men and families that have a desire to improve their academic and leadership potential as part of a long-term plan for personal success. Military school applications will typically ask abut the applicant’s health history, including whether or not the applicant has been previously treated for substance abuse. While a previous disciplinary incident involving drugs and alcohol at the applicant’s current academic institution may not immediately disqualify the young man from enrollment, military school admissions counselors are likely to pass on an applicant in a case where it seems that a comprehensive substance abuse treatment program is needed as the first step in improving the applicant’s future potential.
2. Military school does not offer behavior reform or rehabilitation for young men previously convicted of a felony
While military schools do reinforce the importance of respect, integrity, and personal responsibility, they do not offer the type of behavior counseling support needed to properly rehabilitate young men with criminal pasts who need to reform their belief systems and their conduct. Military schools are looking for young men who, with the encouragement and support of their families, want to prepare themselves for a future in a collegiate, military, or professional setting. Military schools are not temporary containment facilities for young men who have recently served time in a juvenile detention center. It is also important to note that in order to succeed in military school, young men need to be committed to the safety and integrity of the program as well as their fellow cadets. Military schools will not risk the safety of other cadets by admitting a young man whose past conduct and current belief system is not conducive to a safe and productive environment for all involved.
3. Military school is not a long-term residence for young men estranged from their families
The cadets who are most successful in a military school environment are those who have the full support of their parents and guardians throughout the year. Even though students live at the school full-time, parents are still heavily involved in their son’s academic and personal development. Parents are typically able to visit several times throughout the year, and young men may communicate with their families regularly.
For families in which relationships between parents/guardians and their children have become strained, sending a young man to military school should not be a decision made in order to put what may be perceived as comfortable distance between the individuals involved. While the faculty and staff at military schools provide moral support and mentorship for young men, they never replace the love and guidance of family.
4. Military school is not a punishment – it is an opportunity
Parents should not treat a military school application as a threat or a punishment for disciplinary transgressions. Military schools provide valuable education, athletic, and leadership opportunities in a safe and supportive environment. Parents should talk to their son about how military school can help them to achieve their goals and position them for future success. Parents should not leverage the choice of military school in a way that positions it as a final punishment.
While some young men may have apprehensions or uncertainties regarding life at a military school, they will not be mentally and emotionally prepared to embrace the lifestyle and requirements on a military school environment if they feel that they have been forced to enroll because they failed to meet their parents expectations and are facing the consequences.
5. Military school is not a fitness program
While military schools do offer athletic and recreational activities, sports teams, and junior military training opportunities, the primary goal of a military school is to prepare a young man academically and personally to be a confident, and adept adult leader. Parents who have a concern that their son is in need of lifestyle changes that will improve his physical fitness and overall wellbeing should not turn to a military school education solely as a means of restricting unhealthy eating behaviors and increasing physical activity. While military schools will support these goals, fitness is not the primary focus of the schools’ fundamental philosophy. Parents whose concerns for their son are primarily health-based should speak to a health care professional.
While military schools offer such attractive benefits as the highest level of academic mentorship, around-the-clock supervision, athletic opportunities, emphasis on self-discipline, and an environment free of the temptations of recreational drug and alcohol use, parents need to understand that a military school can not successfully be used to target specific behaviors for modification. Parents considering if military school is right for their son should consider what they are trying to accomplish by choosing an alternative educational environment. If their goals are not aligned with those of the military school itself, it may not be a mutually advantageous partnership.