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attachment disorders - solstice east

Attachment Disorders in Adolescents

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.Attachment disorders are a type of mental health condition that can develop in children who have experienced neglect or abuse. These disorders can cause problems with emotional and social functioning and can lead to difficulties in forming attachments with others. Although attachment disorders differ from other mental health conditions, they share some similarities. Here we will discuss attachment disorders, how they differ from other mental health conditions, how they affect adolescents, and what parents can do to help their teenagers.

What Are Attachment Disorders?

Attachment disorders are a type of mental health condition that can develop in children who have experienced relational trauma, neglect, or abuse. These disorders can cause problems with emotional and social functioning and can lead to difficulties in forming healthy attachments with others. Although attachment disorders differ from other mental health conditions, they share some similarities. 

There are two types of attachment disorders: reactive attachment disorder (RAD) and disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED). RAD is characterized by symptoms such as avoidance of touch, indifference to a caregiver, lack of eye contact, failure to smile, and lack of concern for a caregiver. DSED is characterized by symptoms such as impulsivity, over-familiarity with strangers, clinginess, and indiscriminate affection. Both types of attachment disorder can cause problems with emotional regulation, social skills development, and academic achievement. 

How Do Attachment Disorders Differ from Other Mental Health Conditions?

Attachment disorders share some symptoms with other mental health conditions such as anxiety, mood, and conduct disorders. However, there are some key ways in which attachment disorders differ from these other conditions. 

Anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive fear or worry that is not appropriate for the situation. Mood Disorders involve disturbances in mood or emotions. Conduct Disorder manifests as a pattern of aggressive or disruptive behaviors. One key way attachment disorders differ from these conditions is that they primarily involve problems with attachments to others rather than other symptoms such as anxiety or aggression. Additionally, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and conduct disorders can occur without a history of neglect or abuse whereas it is not always necessary for that trauma to form an attachment disorder. Or a disruption in the relationship with the primary caregiver. This is often seen in cases of adoption or even at birth. It can be thought of as trauma as opposed to abuse.

How Do Attachment Disorders Affect Adolescents?

Attachment disorders can affect adolescents in many different ways. For example, they may have difficulty developing close relationships with peers or adults. They may also struggle with academic achievement or suffer from low self-esteem. Additionally, teens with attachment disorders may be more likely to develop substance abuse problems or engage in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex or driving under the influence. 

What Are the Warning Signs Parents Should Watch For?

Parents should be aware of the following warning signs that may indicate their teenager has an attachment disorder: 

  • Withdrawal from friends and family 
  • Difficulty trusting others          
  • Lack of eye contact  
  • Failure to smile 
  • Disinterest in activities that used to bring joy                                    
  • Acting out at school       
  • Risky behavior        
  • Substance abuse
  • Trying to meet their connection needs through injuries/medical issues    

If you notice any of these warning signs in your teenager, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible. Early intervention is crucial for preventing further difficulties down the road. 

How Can Parents Help Their Teenager With an Attachment Disorder?

Parents play a vital role in helping their teenagers cope with an attachment disorder. First and foremost, it is important that parents provide their teens with a safe and supportive home environment. Additionally, parents should help their teens identify and express emotions in healthy ways. Parents should also encourage their teen to seek professional help, if necessary. This might involve meeting with a therapist individually or attending family therapy sessions together. Finally, parents should educate themselves about various mental health conditions so they can better understand what their teen is going through.

Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) is an effective treatment option for attachment disorders. This type of therapy focuses on strengthening the bond between teenagers and their families. The therapist will work with the family to help them understand the teenager’s condition and will teach them how to effectively communicate with their teen. ABFT is particularly effective in reducing impulsive and aggressive behavior in adolescents with attachment disorders. 

There are warning signs that parents should watch for because left untreated these adolescents may become adults who struggle to form healthy relationships and be self-sufficient. If you think your child has an Attachment Disorder please get them professional help right away. The earlier it’s caught, the easier it will be to treat. Have more questions and concerns? The staff at Solstice East are here to help. Please contact us today to see if we can help you and your child.

why are teens impulsive

Out Of Control: Tips for Toning Down Your Teenage Daughter’s Impulsive Behavior

Out Of Control: Tips for Toning Down Your Teenage Daughter’s Impulsive Behavior 960 640 se_admin

How often have you found yourself asking your teen: “Why did you do that?”. Thi can range from the smaller issue of the dirty plate that’s been left in their room for the week to larger issues like missing curfew for the third time. Parenting teens can feel confounding, as you repeatedly ask them (and yourself): “Why?” Logic and proactive problem solving seem to have gone out the window, and often at the core of this behavior is your teenager’s lack of impulse control. 

Understanding Impulsive Teen Behaviors

Impulse is that quick thought in your head that says, “I wonder what would happen if I…”. When you have impulse control, you are able to follow that impulse with thinking through the chain reaction of what will happen after that first thought. For example, if the impulse is, “I’m having so much fun, I should keep hanging out with my friends!” when they are expected home for curfew, impulse control allows them to process that if they miss curfew their parents will be worried and upset, there will be consequences from their action and they will likely lose privileges. Impulse control allows us to see into the future and fully understand that each action has a consequence. 

Adolescence is a critical period of neurological development. In the first twenty years of life, the human brain experiences more growth and change than any other time in its life. The truth is, a teenage brain is not fully formed. And while teenagers may start looking like adults, they do not yet have the ability to fully act like adults. One of the connections in the brain that is still forming during adolescence is the one that governs reason and emotion, the prefrontal cortex. When the prefrontal cortex is fully developed, adults are better able to make decisions based on reason instead of pure emotion. They can look logically at a problem or situation and understand the effects of their actions. For teens, however, their prefrontal cortex is still developing, and when emotions can feel more intense or overwhelming. When they experience emotions such as sadness, disappointment, or aggression, they do not have all the resources needed to inhibit that impulse and emotionally driven response. 

By better understanding the biological aspects of teenage brain development, parents can not only improve their empathy but also facilitate safe and moderately structured environments for their teens.

The Dangers of Impulsive Behaviors

Impulsive behaviors can be especially risky during the teen years when your child begins to spend more and more time with their friends instead of their family. They are seeking out more independence as they work to discover their individuality. It is natural for friend relationships to become more important during this time, but risky behavior can be made worse when surrounded by other teens who also lack impulse control. Understanding that being impulsive is fairly common in teens, how do you know if your teen’s impulsive behavior is becoming a problem? 

  • Do you notice a pattern of impulsive behavior? This is not an occasional impulsive decision, but rather chronic impulsivity.
  • Do they seem unable to gain control over their impulses? Are they constantly frustrated with the outcome of the actions but seem completely unable to manage the impulse in the moment?
  • Is their impulsive behavior negatively affecting their life? Are they doing damage to relationships? Are they causing themself physical or emotional harm?

A lack of impulse control can lead to issues such as bingeing disorders, which could create a negative relationship with food, spending, or internet habits. Negative impulsive behaviors could also lead to physical violence, property destruction, frequent emotional outbursts, and escalating otherwise small problems. This impulsivity can also be dangerous during the teen years when many girls are entering their first romantic relationships. A lack of impulse control can cause girls to overshare intimate or personal information, or engage in physical relationships that they are not yet emotionally ready for. 

Tips for Improving Impulsive Control

We have six tips for controlling your teenage daughter’s impulsive behavior:

  1. Don’t place yourself in the power struggle. Approach your daughter’s behavior in a reasonable manner. Impulsive behavior is basically begging for a reactive response from others. Don’t be intensify the situation. “The harsher I sound, the better outcome I will get.” FALSE. While it is important to remember you are the parent, you should not feel like you need to defend an angry position. Tone of voice is everything. Keep calm, cool, and collected.
  2. Allow healthy release of impulsive behavior. Physical activity is a great way to burn off impulsivity. Other outlets for release can be listening to music, playing games, or walking away in the middle of a conversation (sometimes this is OK if it means not responding in an outburst). Make sure these channels are accessible to your daughter as they can help her cope with her desire to act impulsively.
  3. Address underlying issues. Being a teenager comes with many stresses and pressures. These stresses and pressures are often a root at the base of your daughter’s impulsive behavior. Impulsive behavior follows a clear pattern. Once you recognize your daughter’s trigger points, you should help her identify those and how to cope with them in a calm way.
  4. Encourage breathing and relaxation. Practices like yoga and meditation can help develop impulse control and awareness of thought. By cultivating that awareness of noticing their thoughts without immediately acting on them, girls can begin to respond instead of just reacting to a situation. If impulsive behavior leads to emotional or physical outbursts, deep breathing can help shift their mindset out of a fight or flight reaction. If you’ve ever noticed your body when you’re upset, your muscles are probably tense and your breathing is short and shallow. Deep breathing signals to the mind and body that you are in a safe place. Slowing down the breath can help release tension in the body and slow down racing thoughts. 
  5. Hold your daughter accountable. As a teenager your daughter should know that with actions come consequences. It’s important that you are firm in holding her accountable for her actions. Create boundaries and rules that will motivate her to practice good behavior. It may seem counterintuitive, but holding healthy boundaries shows your daughter that you respect her and care about her wellbeing. Although they probably will not say it out loud, teenagers need structure and limits to feel safe. 
  6. Praise her for her patience. Reassurance is a huge part of moving forward in alleviating impulsiveness. Acknowledge and empower your daughter when she shows self-control and patience when handling a situation. You should let her know when she is successfully managing her behavior. This type of encouragement and positivity can motivate her to make this a normal thing. 

While there are things that you can do at home to help your daughter learn to control her impulses, there may be situations when you need more help. A residential treatment center can provide the structure and support your daughter needs to build those skills. At Solstice East, students will work with therapists individually and in groups to understand the issues they are struggling with and create a treatment plan to move towards healthier behaviors. Solstice East also uses experiential therapy, equine therapy, and adventure activities, which provides multiple opportunities in different settings for them to practice those new skills. 

Our approach focuses on treating the whole person, not just the “problem behavior”. Our staff and students work together to get to the core of their issues to build a strong foundation. For example, if girls are struggling with addictive behaviors or unhealthy relationships, we see these are symptoms of the core issue. The primary goal of therapy is access to those core issues so that genuine healing can occur. In addition, a holistic approach accounts for the fact that our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and relational selves are all bound together. This “mind-body” philosophy is supported by continuous research that our mental and physical health is intertwined.

Solstice East: A program designed for your daughter

At Solstice East, the process of internal growth and change is facilitated by a succession of interventions aimed at helping our girls become young women of character. The process of developing and clarifying a positive value system, and learning to allow these values to drive their choices and behavior is a powerful process of growth. It is this process that drives internal growth, and once solidified, remains constant and growing long after graduation and into adulthood. We help teens instill positive values and principles throughout their journey at Solstice East. Through service activities and the development of friendships with peers, students are able to put positive values and principles into action.

Solstice East incorporates various types of therapies and takes a relationship-based approach to helping teenage girls learn to practice mindful behavior. The program helps them to establish healthy lifestyle habits through an emphasis on physical fitness and nutrition. We can provide your daughter with the tools she needs to redefine herself! For more information please contact us at 828-484-9946.

teen attachment issues

Teen Attachment Issues: The T.V. and Tips for Parents

Teen Attachment Issues: The T.V. and Tips for Parents 0 0 se_admin

As a parent addressing teen attachment issues can be difficult. You may not know what to do or say to help your teen with their struggles. Research shows that help may be behind the tv screen. Recent studies have found that stories from tv or movies can help individuals cope or manage their own relationship problems. Fictional characters from tv and movies can help individuals better understand their own relationship struggles. Encourage your teen to analyze the relationships of tv characters and how outcomes would have change had they responded differently to the situation.

Steps to Support

Teens attachment issues are not something that will go away overnight. This issue can cause your teen a great deal of stress and emotionally drain them. You may feel like you are constantly trying to help them overcome these issues and nothing is changing. However, you should not give up. With love, care, support, and a lot of patience, you can have a pivotal role in helping your teen manage attachment issues.

Here are some ways you can be supportive towards your teen:

  1. Set realistic expectations. While it seems ideal to fix things overnight, recognize that this is not realistic. Set small goals and celebrate every achievement on the way to the goal. It is all about baby steps.
  2. Keep patient. This point cannot be stressed enough. Sometimes things will not go as planned and that’s okay. By being calm and patient you are creating a better outlook and environment for your teen to heal in.
  3. Take care of you. Before you can help your teen with their own stresses, you must have yours under control. Make sure you are taking appropriate measures to prioritize your own well-being so you can be well-equipped to help your teen.
  4. Seek support. It is always okay to ask for help. This could be the very thing that your teen needs. Lean on family, friends, community resources, and professionals to help you and your family during this time. Don’t wait until you are desperate to ask—this can make things worse. Create a nurturing and supportive environment from the beginning.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for young women ages 14-18 struggling with behavior and emotional issues such as those that can stem from peer-relationship struggles. This program focuses on helping young women heal, recover, and integrate healthy habits into their lives. Students will learn to build healthy relationships, cope with emotions, and effectively communicate. Solstice East gives young women the skills and confidence they need to lead happy and healthy lives. We can help your family today!

Contact us at (855) 672-7058.

getting help for a defiant teenage daughter

Getting Help For A Defiant Teenage Daughter: Five Ways To End Defiance

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The teenage years bring about many hormonal changes for teenage girls. Parenting a teenager can often feel like a power struggle. When they exhibit defiant behavior, it can quickly become frustrating and cause you to want to react negatively. In the end, this will only worsen the situation and the relationship between you and your teen.  Getting help for a defiant teenage daughter at a residential treatment program may be the best option for your child. However, before taking that step, here are some ways you can work towards positive change in your teen’s defiant behavior.

Five Ways to End the Fight

Consider these five tips for empowering yourself to end the defiance in your home:

  1. Know your limits. You must first control yourself before you can attempt to take control of chaos at home. Develop your sense of self-respect and learn where to draw the line. Remember consistency truly is key. Make your expectations clear and follow through. If you take away your teen’s privileges when they exhibit inappropriate behaviors, then they will quickly learn that they do not have the power to manipulate you. This is not you acting as the “bad guy”, this is you holding your teen accountable for their actions.
  2. Practice problem solving. Whether you realize it or not, you are a huge influence on your child. Part of your job as a parent is to teach your teen how to effectively handle tough situations and manage emotions. You must communicate with them clearly that lashing out, screaming, or being disrespectful will never solve anything. Suggest other effective ways to handle things such as: journaling, walking away, taking a deep breath, etc.
  3. Think ahead. Be prepared to confront situations with your teen. Deliver your message firmly. Communicate that you will not tolerate being disrespected. Use a business-like and stern tone to set the example for your teen. If you refuse to engage in a screaming match, they will feel silly for responding that way. Remain calm and go into the situation ready to stand your ground in an effective manner.
  4. Take it one day at a time. Don’t expect everything to be solved in one incident. Helping your teen overcome defiance is a gradual process. You should appreciate the small victories and improvements. After an argument, go back and process it with your teen. Talk about how you could have handled the situation differently. Talk about the ways they handled it appropriately. This is a part of the growing process. It will also strengthen the bond and understanding between you and your teen.
  5. Seek out your support system. Don’t be hesitant to lean on family and friends for support. Bottling up your stress is never a good idea. Don’t feel ashamed about talking about things with family and friends. Extend your expectations to them to avoid communication barriers. This kind of change is a group effort. Ask for help when you need it whether it be from a therapist, support group, or family member.





Solstice East Can Help

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for young women ages 14-18 struggling with behavior and emotional issues such as those that can stem from peer-relationship struggles. This program focuses on helping young women heal, recover, and integrate healthy habits into their lives. Students will learn to build healthy relationships, cope with emotions, and effectively communicate. Solstice East gives young women the skills and confidence they need to lead happy and healthy lives. We can help your family today!

Contact us at (855) 672-7058.

emotional issues in teens

Problems Between Parents Linked to Emotional Issues in Teens

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As parents, sometimes we argue with each other. We all know that’s a fact of marriage. However, a fight every once in awhile is very different than having an argument every day. That sends a message to your children–and it’s not a good one. Consequently, recent studies have been showing that parental conflict can be linked to emotional issues in teens.

Watching your parents fight a lot leads to emotional issues in teens

In the study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, researchers looked into the effects of a child regularly seeing their parents fight. The results showed higher levels of anxiety, fear, and even misreading neutral human interactions. Findings also suggested that naturally sensitive or shy children had worse outcomes.  

The study included almost 100 children, ages 9 to 11. Researchers split them into two groups depending on previous psych tests focusing on parental conflict. Then, the two groups looked at various photos depicting couples that expressed happy, neutral, or angry interactions–then they had to place them into one of those categories.

Children who got placed into the “low-conflict home” category mainly categorized the photos correctly; however, children in “high-conflict homes” were not able to categorize the neutral photos accurately at all.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Alice Schermerhorn, explained why they may have gotten this result:

“If their perception of conflict and threat leads children to be vigilant for signs of trouble, that could lead them to interpret neutral expressions as angry ones or may simply present greater processing challenges.

Basically, they may be more tuned into angry interactions, which could be a cue for them to retreat to their room, or happy ones, which could signal that their parents are available to them. Neutral interactions don’t offer much information, so they may not value them or learn to recognize them.”

Mitigating conflict and arguing the ‘right way’

For children in high-conflict homes, neutral expressions may not be important, but in day-to-day life they are. Peers, teachers, co-workers, romantic partners–you have to understand neutral expressions to have healthy relationships with these people.

This is why mitigating conflict isn’t just important, it’s necessary for your child’s health. No conflict is simply unrealistic, but as parents we can work to have arguments the “right way.” When I say that, I mean trying to argue in a constructive way–not just getting into a screaming match. You owe it to your daughter.

If you believe your daughter struggles with emotional issues in teens, reach out to a professional for guidance

Solstice East helps with emotional issues in teens

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. We understand the specific needs of girls, which is why our program is centered solely on them. We offer our students help for anxiety, depression, emotional issues in teens, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems.

At Solstice, we have a strong emphasis on family therapy, nutrition, physical fitness. Also, we offer a supportive staff, cutting-edge academics, addiction therapy, equine therapy, and psychiatric services. At Solstice, we help set the stage for the infusion of light into the previously darkened lives of the families we serve.

For more information about how we help with emotional issues in teens at Solstice East, please contact us at 828-484-9946.

Be the Rock: Four Practices For Better Handling Your Out Of Control Teenage Daughter

Be the Rock: Four Practices For Better Handling Your Out Of Control Teenage Daughter 150 150 se_admin

If your daughter is struggling with defiant behaviors, it can feel like things get out of control very quickly. Here are four ways to handle out of control behavior.

Establish the root cause

Chances are, if you’re experiencing an out of control teenage daughter, you experienced her stages of anger and rebellion in the recent past. These stages are a progression with a common origin, or root cause, which may include:

  • Lacks sense of belonging, or feels unloved and unwanted
  • Unaware of personal strengths and passions
  • Feels inadequate or unheard by others
  • Has unresolved anger building up

Set clear boundaries

…and stick to them!  Set the clear expectations of the house and ask your partner for their dedicated support.  Offer verbal reprimands and appreciation, respectively and regularly.  Be prepared for her manipulation in response to you holding a firm line, and don’t be pulled into an argument or power struggle.  Restate the expectation and leave the room.  Be the solid, unmoving rock that she pushes against, and meet her with understanding and compassion.

Beware of attention-seeking behavior

It is imperative that you respond to her behavior neutrally – remove judgment, fear and anger so as not to . You truly have to let go and allow her the space to hit rock bottom. This is not giving up on your child.  Quite the contrary – experience is the most powerful ways she learns, and you’ll be there to support her when she’s ready to accept help.

Take care of yourself

You can’t be expected to run a household without adequate self care.  Don’t sacrifice personal interests, activities or sleep in the midst of your daughter’s struggles. Keep your life or track and set a positive example.  Most importantly, stop blaming yourself for your child’s behavior.  It’s not about fault, it’s about taking responsibility – and if you’re researching how to help her, you’ve done that much.

Solstice East is here for your family

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. We understand the specific needs of troubled girls, which is why our program is centered solely on them. Our girls often grapple with depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, social media addiction, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us.

We strive to help students develop healthy habits and lead themselves back onto a path of success and happiness through meaningful therapy and a nurturing environment.

For more information about how we help teens at Solstice East, please contact us at 828-484-9946.