By Amanda Shaw (New York, NY)
More and more parents of out-of-control teenage girls are seeking military schools to help turn around their troubled girls. They are searching for military schools for girls to provide their girls with the discipline and structure missing at many public schools today. But, unfortunately, such military schools for girls are closing at an alarming rate.
Parents have enrolled their male children in military schools for over two centuries now, and with good reason, and girls are now accepted in many of these schools. Military schools offer the structure and authority that teenagers need to gain control their rebellious and destructive behaviors. They teach leadership and responsibility. Behaviorally troubled teenagers benefit from the firm but constructive boundaries concerning rewards and consequences that military schools provide. At their core, military schools are institutions built upon leadership, structure, and discipline. They are institutions that strive to mold young people into lifelong upstanding citizens. In fact, numerous Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, senators, and CEOs are products of military schools and many actors, artists, authors, and athletes.
However, the mission of most military schools has changed in recent years, leading to the decline of the industry as a whole. Most military schools have transformed into a typical boarding school format, eliminating the elements that once helped change troubled teens. Instead, they have opted to become “college prep” institutions. The remaining highly structured military schools are few and far between. While traditional “military schools” that once exclusively enrolled boys now enroll girls, most no longer accept teenagers with low grades or troubling behavior. Dozens of military schools have gone under because the old military format is what most parents are still looking for, not a college-prep school.
Military Schools Fill the Void for Troubled Girls
Often, troubled girls feel a sense of loss and lack of purpose today, so they indulge in negative behaviors in hopes of filling the void. Military schools are all about instilling purpose in their cadets, making them a perfect fit for troubled girls. Naturally, the spectrum of troubling behavior among teens is wide, ranging from difficulties completing schoolwork and succeeding in a typical high school setting to engagement in impulsive and dangerous behaviors involving drugs, alcohol, violence, etc. So, while it is never recommended to send a child with psychological disorders or an addiction to a military school, “entitled” kids and those who have bought into the negative lifestyle of their peers can benefit from time at a military school.
Military schools for girls emphasize leadership, for to become an effective leader, one must first learn to follow. In a discipline-focused military school for girls, your daughter will be given a chance to build self-esteem and present herself to her peers with pride. All students are encouraged to aspire to leadership positions within their ranks. Earning such a leadership position and authority can rekindle her sense of purpose and significantly boost her self-esteem. The student body is organized into a formal military structure with a chain of command. This instills a respect for authority that many other educational settings sorely lack.
The Structure and Discipline is What Troubled Girls Need
The structure of daily life at military schools for girls also plays an integral role in rehabilitating and strengthening students. The schedule includes specific allotments for all activities throughout the day, including established wake-up and lights-out times. This aims to develop time management skills indispensable in higher education and the workforce. Academic commitment is required, coursework is completed and turned in on deadline, and rigid study times are enforced. High expectations are placed on students to prepare them for the best future.
According to a survey by Art & Science Group, LLC (www.artsci.com), boarding school students spend roughly 17 hours on homework compared with only 8 hours a week among public school students. Also, 78% of boarding school students are prepared for college compared with 23% of public school students. Thus, at an all-girls boarding school where all frivolous distractions have been removed, out-of-control teenage girls are given the tools to rearrange their priorities and reach their untapped academic potential.
All aspects of life at military schools for girls are imbued with a degree of discipline, not as a punishment but as a tool for cultivating personal strength and restraint. Especially in the age of the Internet, when every teenager has a smartphone in hand at all times, instant gratification abounds more than ever before, and discipline continues to fall further to the wayside. Military schools for troubled youth aim to correct this trend by holding students accountable for behavior, hygiene, organization, academics, etc. In addition to high academic expectations, military schools for girls require participation in athletics, enforcing physical discipline and mental.
Girls are also expected to maintain tidy living quarters and adhere to a strict dress code, ensuring their uniforms are clean at all times, which teaches personal responsibility and eliminates distractions. At an all-girls boarding school, free from the constraints of vanity and the male gaze, both of which are often so pervasive in public schools, young women are empowered to make remarkable strides of the mind and soul. Because military schools for girls are single-gender settings, the social pressures that many young women feel to behave a certain way to impress their peers in co-ed public schools are removed, allowing for freedom of expression, which is instrumental during such formative developmental years.
Preparation for Real Life
Overall, military schools for girls also prepare girls for life after high school and beyond by emphasizing academic excellence and building a strong work ethic. Most troubled teens, regardless of specific behavioral problems, struggle with low esteem; by addressing esteem issues, their general well-being is typically improved as a byproduct. So, at an all-girls boarding school, girls are taught to remain staunch in their values and given opportunities to develop the strength and the courage to do so, which is arguably the greatest tool at anyone’s disposal.
Entering military school as a struggling and likely begrudging teenager, an out-of-control teenager, eventually becomes a self-sufficient and self-assured young adult. By the testament of many parents who were once in that same position of heartache and worry that you’ve come to know all too well, enrollment their girl in a military school for girls was the best gift they could give to their troubled daughter.
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