• Residential Treatment Center for Teens 14-17

Teen Girl Issues

A Barrier to Success: Teen Jealousy and Judgment

A Barrier to Success: Teen Jealousy and Judgment 150 150 se_admin

Teen jealousy and judgment–they may seem like a normal part of teen life, but they can actually act as a major barrier for future success. When I think of teen jealousy, the movie Mean Girls comes to mind. The “burn book” and constant castigation of others, it’s complete jealousy and judgment. If you haven’t seen this movie, it doesn’t end well for the “mean girls.” Karma for their treatment of others comes back to bite them, but once they move past their judgmental ways, they move towards success. Psychology Today recently published an article discussing ways you can help your teen work past judgment and towards more acceptance.

Fighting teen jealousy and judgment

Jealousy is a common emotion for most people, not just teens. We see a co-worker receive the promotion we were working towards or a friend posts pictures of their new kitchen remodel on social media. It’s easy to see those things and find yourself thinking, “I wish that was me”. It is natural to have those feelings, but what makes a difference is that most adults have enough personal awareness to think “I wish that was me”, but still be able to reflect and be thankful for the things they do have in their life. Adults know that just because someone else is succeeding, that doesn’t mean that there is somehow less success left for everyone else. Teens often have not yet developed these skills. When a friend gets a new iPad or they see a lavish trip a celebrity took on Instagram, they do not understand why they are not having those same experiences. This can lead to spiraling feelings of disappointment and being unfulfilled. This jealousy can also be detrimental to teens’ mental health if they are constantly comparing their lives or themselves to others, and always find themselves lacking. 

As humans, we don’t like being judged–we feel like it’s a threat to us. Yet we often do it to others. That fear of judgement can also lead to feelings of anxiety in social situations. When someone speaks out against what we believe, we feel like it’s an attack on who we are; when someone gets something we want, we feel like it’s unfair. While a strong sense of self is critical for success, it’s also extremely important to be open to others’ opinions. Teen jealousy and judgment can easily become adult jealousy and judgment, which is why parents need to help their teens get past this barrier.

Teen jealousy and judgment will stand in the way of being open to others’ views and perspectives, which will form into a future blockade against further success. To succeed, you often need to listen to other people’s ideas, but with an extreme bias against anything that doesn’t align with your views, it’s hard to do that.

Tips for getting past judgment and conscious bias

We consciously judge others all the time–it may seem innate, but it’s often not. If you look at someone’s hair, for example, and think it’s ridiculous, you may deem the person ridiculous. In reality, that person is probably much more than their hairstyle. Learning how to move past teen jealousy and judgment can be largely beneficial for your child.

Here are some tips on how to do it:

    • Catch Yourself and Think. When you find yourself judging someone, take a moment to second guess yourself. How do you know what you’re thinking about them is true? A lot of the time, our judgements tend to be more of a reflection on our feelings about ourselves rather than the other person. If your reasoning seems flawed at all, it’s probably in your best interest to be more open to that person.
    • Don’t Assume, Assess Your Views. Positive or negative, when you’re acting a certain way, take a moment to question why you’re doing it. We all see a situation through our own lens based on our life experiences. Know that your lens may color the situation from your perspective. If you’re choosing a side without significant reason or evidence, maybe it’s time to take a more flexible perspective on things until you have more information.
    • Ask More Questions. Hear people out, listen to both sides, try to widen your view. You may end up being right, but this way you’re opening yourself up to the possibility that you may be wrong. This is an important skill for you to have beyond just personal relationships, but also romantic and professional relationships as well. You may actually learn something new in the process! 
    • Practice Empathy. For example, if you find yourself making a snap judgement about a friend who has been flaking on you, once you’ve asked some more questions to understand where they are coming from, think about how you would feel in their shoes. Maybe they’re feeling pressure from school or their family and they’re feeling overwhelmed and unable to spend energy on anything else. Maybe they’ve experienced a personal loss and their sadness is making it difficult to reach out. Whatever the reason, try to empathize rather than judge them for not showing up. 
    • Unfollow and Unsubscribe. This may be social media language, but it can apply to real world relationships. Are there relationships that you have or accounts that you follow on social media that always leave you feeling worse? If those hyper aspirational influencers or superficial friends are doing damage to your mental health, know that you can always unfollow or give yourself some space from those people. Surround yourself with supportive friends and follow social media accounts that are honest about the ups and downs of life. 
    • An Attitude of Gratitude. Studies have found that giving thanks and counting blessings can help people sleep better, lower stress and improve interpersonal relationships. Earlier this year, a study found that keeping a gratitude journal decreased materialism and bolstered generosity among adolescents. The simple act of writing down things you are thankful for, whether that’s a particularly tasty coffee at the drive-through, or a friend’s generous support can help remind you of all the things in your life that you have to be thankful for. 

Building community through residential treatment

No matter your age, building a supportive community can be challenging, especially if you are working through years of patterns of jealousy and judgement. Residential treatment centers can help you process the reasons behind those feelings and help young women build confidence and social skills so that they are ready to build healthy peer relationships. 

Cutting-edge neuroscientific research has identified regulation as the key element found in healthy, healing relationships. When regulated, our neurological functions can be centralized in the pre-frontal cortex– the part of the brain involved in rational decision-making.  When dysregulated, our neurological functions are more likely found in the limbic system, the midbrain, or even all the way back in the brain stem.

When stuck in these less rational parts of the brain we tend to display poor emotional boundaries, higher levels of emotional reactivity, and are unable to attune to our own needs—let alone the needs of others. Moments of relational interaction that lack attunement are much more likely to cause damage in a relationship. 

At Solstice East, we help our students and families learn to regulate their emotions through the modalities of mindfulness, relationship therapy, equine-assisted psychotherapy, adventure therapies and art-based therapies. We emphasize this teaching by training every member of our staff how to self-regulate, and how to help a teenager develop her own self-regulation skills. We provide our team with opportunities to implement regulation skills in real-life settings to increase their ability to provide attunement, safety and predictability while in-relationship with your daughter.

It is important for us to highlight that while your daughter is at Solstice East her healing work is not simply limited to the time she spends with her therapist. She is engaged in life-changing therapeutic work every minute of her day as she engages in relationships with each and every member of our talented team. Solstice East creates a safe, secure environment for teenage girls. This allows them to follow a path of self-healing and reflection.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with depression, anxiety, trauma, and other emotional or behavioral problems. We strive to help our girls develop healthy habits and lead themselves back onto a path of success and happiness.

Success in working with young women requires specific and unique areas of emphasis, and sensitivity to how they respond to various approaches to change. As one of the best residential treatment centers, we have created a culture and approach specifically developed to fit the distinctive needs of teenage girls. Whether it is our specifically designed equine approach and addictions programs, or the clinical specialization and collaboration of our therapists, Solstice East is uniquely qualified to address the complex needs of girls in need of healing and growth.

For more information about how Solstice East handles issues related to extreme teen jealousy and judgment, please call 828-484-9946.

teen mindfulness program

Breathe In, Breathe Out: How Mindfulness Helps Teens who Struggle with Depression and Anxiety

Breathe In, Breathe Out: How Mindfulness Helps Teens who Struggle with Depression and Anxiety 640 426 se_admin

Teen suicide. Substance abuse. Bullying and fights. Although seemingly unrelated, these all too frequent epidemics are plaguing today’s schools; and, frequently, they seem to spring from a single common source. Teenagers are finding it tough to cope these days; the challenging, sometimes stifling demands of peer pressure and academic performance placing undue stress on their sensitive psyche.

In order to combat these issues—and, for that matter, the feelings of anger, frustration, and sometimes out and out the hopelessness that accompany them—many school districts are offering mindfulness sessions in school.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of slowing down and paying attention to yourself and your surroundings in the moment. For many teenagers, their day consists of running from school to after school clubs to homework to family obligations. Their days are tightly packed, and even in their down time, they are rarely focusing on one task at a time. For example, during homework time, many teens can also be found chatting with friends via social media or watching videos. For previous generations, a ride in the car or a walk around the neighborhood forced them to look out the window or take in their surroundings. Today, teens can be watching movies, listening to music, or posting on social media during those same activities. Being mindful and slowing down is no longer a built in part of their day. Instead, teens need to learn how to actively engage in mindfulness practices and set aside the time to do them. 

Mindfulness involves the teaching of techniques like breathing and meditation to help people calm themselves and control their emotions.

Here is how you and your teen’s teacher can put mindfulness to work for them:

  • Guide the teen in the commission of deliberate deep breathing exercises. The phrase “Stop and take a good deep breath,” never has been more applicable. The simple act of stopping, falling silent, and taking a good, deep breath can do much to center and calm a frenetic teen; especially if they happen to be in the throes of an anxiety attack, when the simple process of breathing becomes strained and difficult.
  • Learn more about yoga and meditation. These sacred, time-honored arts have been utilized for centuries to bring peace, balance and happiness to people of all ages. Through instructional classes, books and videos, you can learn the principles and practices of yoga and meditation; passing this information on to your troubled teen. Teachers can lead meditative sessions in the classroom, and physical education teachers might integrate yoga into daily fitness regimens. Parents can morph a good yoga or meditation session into an enjoyable family activity.
  • Encourage self-reflection. Train your teen to reflect on and contemplate their problems and stressors; also to discuss these issues with parents and teachers, so that you can work together to find healthy and workable solutions.
  • Teach and encourage your teen to express themselves. When teens are empowered to release their tensions and frustrations in constructive and highly creative manners, then they no doubt will feel calmer, more centered, and more in control of their emotions. If they can sing a song instead of scream, draw a picture instead of take a drug, write instead of cut, etc., then they will develop a positive and intensely constructive outlet for their emotions.

Form a mindfulness team with your teen. When you meditate, breathe or draw/write/sing with the troubled teen, then you will bring the divine circle of mindfulness to its completion—to the benefit of both of you.

Mindfulness for Better Mental Health

A 2021 study found that mindfulness courses, like many other mental health practices, can reduce anxiety, depression and stress and increase mental wellbeing within most non-clinical settings. Many people who practice mindfulness report feeling calmer and more balanced in their emotions, but how does mindfulness actually help improve mental health?

One way that mindfulness can help is that it reduces rumination. Rumination is the process of continually thinking about the same thoughts. Often, teens who experience anxiety feel stuck in a rumination loop, where they are fixed on negative or “what if” thoughts. Several studies have shown that mindfulness reduces rumination. In one study, researchers asked 20 novice meditators to participate in a 10-day intensive mindfulness meditation retreat. After the retreat, the meditation group had significantly higher self-reported mindfulness and a decreased negative affect compared with a control group. They also experienced fewer depressive symptoms and less rumination. 

Another benefit of mindfulness is stress reduction. Researchers believe the benefits of mindfulness are related to its ability to dial down the body’s response to stress. When we are chronically stressed, our response system becomes taxed and burnt out. Mindfulness can teach practitioners to regulate their body’s response to stress. Psychological scientists have found that mindfulness influences two different stress pathways in the brain, changing brain structures and activity in regions associated with attention and emotion regulation. Scientists are also beginning to understand which elements of mindfulness are responsible for its beneficial effects.

There is also promising research that mindfulness can help alleviate depression. Studies have suggested that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is just as effective as medication in preventing depression relapse among adults with a history of recurrent depression, and in reducing depressive symptoms among those with active depression. Practicing mindfulness can also help teens cultivate a sense of self-compassion. Oftentimes, teens experiencing depression may feel like they are failing or that there is something wrong with them because they feel that they can’t engage in the world or be successful the way they believe their peers are. These depressive thoughts can worsen their symptoms, but mindfulness encourages teens to be kinder to themselves. Self-compassion helps teens practice self-kindness, recognize their common humanity with others instead of feeling isolated and ashamed. It encourages teens to not fixate on their perceived faults. Mindfulness can also help teens manage their inner critic and lessen its impact, which may help alleviate some of their depressive symptoms. 

Reacting Vs. Responding

Also related to stress and anxiety, mindfulness teaches students to respond versus react to a situation. Our reaction is often that first impulse. For example, if a teen has a negative stress response, like an emotional or physical outburst that is their reaction. This is why something that seems small to parents, like requesting your teen put their phone away for dinner, can elicit a huge or angry reaction. It could be that your teen is worried that they will be left out if they don’t respond right away to their friends. This worry triggers their stress response and subsequent outburst. They may not have the words in the moment to communicate their worries and instead scream about how they hate you and slam doors. Mindfulness teaches teens to acknowledge and identify their emotions as they come up. If they are practicing meditations, thoughts may come up like “this is boring” or “my back is uncomfortable”, and all those thoughts are acceptable. Mindfulness is not about judging their thoughts or emotions, it is about noticing them and then taking a step back before they respond. 

Teens who practice mindfulness are training their brains to respond instead of reacting in a stressful situation. When they are asked to put away their phone, thoughts may arise like “That’s not fair!” Or “I’m going to be left out!”. But now teens realize that not only are those feelings valid, but they also have the power to choose how they respond to those feelings. By practicing deep breathing, they may take a breath, calm themselves, and then be able to better communicate to you. What started as “I hate you!” can then turn into, “I’m worried I’ll be left out because my friends are making weekend plans right now. Could I have five more minutes to wrap this up?”. They are learning how to acknowledge and communicate their feelings through slowing down and paying attention. 

Solstice East Can Help

At Solstice East, we help our students and families learn to regulate their emotions through the modalities of mindfulness, relationship therapy, equine-assisted psychotherapy, adventure therapies and art-based therapies. We emphasize this teaching by training every member of our staff how to self-regulate, and how to help a teenager develop her own self-regulation skills. We provide our team with opportunities to implement regulation skills in real-life settings to increase their ability to provide attunement, safety and predictability while in-relationship with your daughter.

We believe that a holistic approach is an effective way to help young women truly heal from trauma.  Instead of focusing on one specific “problem” area or issue, we treat the entire person (mind, body and spirit). It is our belief that cutting-edge and evidence-based therapeutic approaches such as EMDR, neurofeedback, somatic experiencing, Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and gender-specific addictions treatment are essential to your daughter’s healing process.

The Solstice mission is to support adolescents, and their families, in developing excellence in relationships, influence, character, and health throughout their life journeys. Through relationship-based programming, we help students restore and rebuild healthy, trusting relationships with their families, peers, teachers, and staff. For more information please call (855) 672-7058.

Role Models for Girls: Your Daughter’s Hero Is An Indicator of Success

Role Models for Girls: Your Daughter’s Hero Is An Indicator of Success 150 150 se_admin

Parents of girls often hear things like “Oh, she’s a beauty!” Or “She’s going to be a heartbreaker!”, even when their daughter is very young. Girls often get the message from society that they are made of sugar and spice and everything nice and that their main interests should be princesses and unicorns. And while there is nothing wrong with enjoying sparkles and unicorns, it is important that young girls understand that these interests can be a part of them without defining them. So how do girls learn that there are many different interests and opportunities available to them?

Role models play an important part in a young girl’s life. Seeing women represented in successful roles such as CEOs, athletes, artists, or scientists helps girls imagine themselves in those same positions. Having a positive role model can be the difference between having a prevention mindset and having a growth one. 

A prevention mindset:

When youth approach life with a desire to prevent or avoid disasters and negative outcomes, they are more likely to gravitate toward role models who will help them learn avoidance strategies. These strategies might include cheating on tests or using drugs and alcohol to escape life challenges.

The other option of a growth mindset offers a much more optimistic outlook.

A growth mindset:

When they see themselves as active learners and achievers who accomplish goals through hard work and perseverance. With this type of mindset, youth strive to achieve their best selves. And they look toward role models to show them the way.

In helping your daughter find a role model, consider her interests and goals. If she is passionate about the arts, she probably won’t be interested in Ada Lovelace. But a young woman fascinated by the stars may gravitate towards role models like Mary Jackson. As you explore why your daughter has chosen the specific role models for girls that she looks up to the most, ask yourself why, and what effect this can have on her future.

How To Be a Positive Role Model

While famous and accomplished women may make good role models, the best role model for your daughter is you. It can feel like a lot of pressure to know that her eyes are always on you, but there are ways that you can be the best role model you can for her:

Be a Good Listener: Teens may not share their lives as easily as they did when they were children, but that doesn’t mean that we stop listening. Sometimes, just the act of being present and allowing your daughter space to talk when she is comfortable can be an effective tool to teach her the importance of holding space for herself and others. 

Be Affectionate: One of the best ways of nurturing a positive and happy child is through unconditional love and care. Love is not only about hugging your daughter, taking care of her basic needs. Love is when you exhibit interest in your daughter’s life or show her that you care. Feeling that love from you helps her learn how to express her own love in a healthy way. 

Be Honest: Contrary to how it may feel, you don’t have to be perfect. It’s OK that you have weaknesses and flaws. Instead of pretending that you are always right, which is impossible for anyone, acknowledge when you make a mistake. Show your daughter how to graciously acknowledge when she makes her own mistakes and remember that one setback doesn’t negate all of the good things she has done. 

Be Gentle With Yourself: There is a saying that “little pitchers have big ears”. It is the idea that our children are always listening. They are listening to how you talk to them, but they are also listening to how you talk about yourself. If you are constantly critiquing things like your body or perceived flaws, this is how she will learn to talk to herself as well. Sometimes you may not even realize how often you mention a diet or how you “need” to work off that dessert. But your daughter hears it and begins thinking that this is how she should view her relationship with food as well. Instead of talking about your “flaws”, try being radically confident. Talk about your strengths and accomplishments. Celebrate your body for being strong and carrying you through life. When viewed through this lens, you can teach your daughter to be confident in her self-esteem. 

Set Goals: Setting goals, implementing them, and achieving the same are some of the important aspects of bringing up children. These three aspects may apply in all spheres. Whether it is about your child’s academics or his behavior, you may adopt this approach to achieve results in all fields of life. This is a great opportunity to show your daughter what a growth mindset looks like. You may encourage your child to come forward with his dreams, aspirations, and goals, and work together with your child in achieving them.

Model Healthy Coping Skills: What happens when things go wrong? Do you blow up when that car cuts you off in traffic? Do you give up when you don’t get the promotion you hoped for at work? Life will always have its issues, but what matters is how we deal with them. By modeling healthy coping skills, your daughter learns that there are different ways to solve her problem or deal with big emotions. 

Residential Treatment for Success

For young women who are looking to improve self-esteem and tap into that growth mindset, a residential treatment program can provide them with the tools they need for success. The Solstice mission is to support adolescents, and their families, in developing excellence in relationships, influence, character, and health throughout their life journeys. Through relationship-based programming, we help students restore and rebuild healthy, trusting relationships with their families, peers, teachers, and staff.

Solstice East students are highly intelligent and highly sensitive. Our teens are creative and capable, but vulnerable to the pressures of their surroundings. They often experience the world differently through misperceptions and are impacted by issues of anxiety, depression, identity, attachment, mood disorders, and learning disabilities. Solstice East is committed to treating each student through a combination of individual, family, equine, and adventure therapies as well as treating and diagnosing a range of issues including (but not limited to) trauma, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, self-harming behaviors, attachment, and identity issues.

At Solstice East, we talk about The Hero’s Journey. The Hero’s Journey is a journey that includes universal themes found in literature, theatre, and film. These themes are prevalent in both ancient and modern societies. During the Hero’s Journey, the hero advances through phases of self-discovery, along the way facing their personal dragons in the form of fears, doubts, and insecurities. As our troubled teen girls advance victoriously through these challenges they grow towards becoming “at-one” with their true self. We work to help our students see themselves as the heroes of their own stories. 

The therapeutic alliance, the relationship formed between therapist and student, is one of the most powerful factors in the healing process. Using the relationship-based approach as our guide, the therapists understand the value of spending time with the girls beyond the walls of the therapist’s office. Building rapport outside of the office setting is critical to the development of a therapeutic alliance between the girls and therapists, which is necessary for the healing process. As one of the top residential treatment centers, our therapists often participate in adventure therapy outings, camping trips, recreation activities, and mealtime with residents. Because they have a manageable caseload, they are able to be more involved in these opportunities.

At Solstice East, we help our students and families learn to regulate their emotions through the modalities of mindfulness, relationship therapy, equine-assisted psychotherapy, adventure therapies, and art-based therapies. We emphasize this teaching by training every member of our staff on how to self-regulate, and how to help a teenager develop her own self-regulation skills. We provide our team with opportunities to implement regulation skills in real-life settings to increase their ability to provide attunement, safety, and predictability while in-relationship with your daughter.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a top-rated residential treatment center caring for adolescent females ages 14-17. Our 25-acre campus, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains just outside of Asheville, NC, offers on-site equine therapy, an accredited academic schedule, plus world-class therapeutic programming to treat a wide range of trauma and disorders. Our clients receive a unique combination of therapeutic techniques stemming from both traditional and holistic mental health treatments that are gender and age-specific. We strive to empower our students with the ability to believe in themselves by providing the tools, support, and motivation necessary to instill these beliefs for life.

The Solstice mission is to support adolescents, and their families, in developing excellence in relationships, influence, character, and health throughout their life journeys. Through relationship-based programming, we help students restore and rebuild healthy, trusting relationships with their families, peers, teachers, and staff. For more information please call (828) 414-2980.

Identifying Unhealthy Relationships and Creating Healthy Ones

Identifying Unhealthy Relationships and Creating Healthy Ones 150 150 se_admin

Creating new relationships is an important part of development in adolescence. This is a time when teens are beginning to form their own interests and identities outside of their family unit. It can be exciting, but it also comes with a new set of challenges. As teens begin to create new relationships, both with friends and romantic, they also run the risk of relationships changing or even ending. For teens who have not experienced a relationship that ends, it can feel confusing or overwhelming to figure out what comes next. When a friendship or relationship with a significant other turns bad, it can be devastating to many teens.

Identifying Unhealthy Relationships

Most adults remember their first crust or their first school dance. There is a spark of excitement around new relationships, especially during our formative years. And because everything is new and thrilling, it can be easy for teens to get swept up in a relationship. Some teen girls may find themselves forgoing their friendships to spend all their time in their new relationship. They may begin to eschew hobbies or interests they previously enjoyed, instead of trying to mold their interests to fit those of their romantic interest. 

A relationship becomes unhealthy when it involves mean, disrespectful, controlling, or abusive behavior. Some teens who have grown up in an environment where fighting or abuse was common may believe that this behavior is normal. Teens in unhealthy relationships may make excuses or misinterpret bad behavior. If a boyfriend or girlfriend is acting jealous or possessive, they may think “Oh, that just means they really like me.”. It is important for teens to understand the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship and ask themselves the following questions:

Does my boyfriend/girlfriend:

  • get angry when I don’t drop everything for him or her?
  • criticize the way I look or dress, and say I’ll never be able to find anyone else who would date me?
  • keep me from seeing friends or from talking to other guys or girls?
  • want me to quit an activity, even though I love it?
  • ever raise a hand when angry, like he or she is about to hit me?
  • try to force me to go further sexually than I want to?

Encouraging Healthy Relationships

Understanding the traits of an unhealthy relationship is helpful, but it is equally as important to understand how to create a healthy relationship as well. Here are some qualities to think about for a healthy relationship:

  • Mutual respect. Respect is the foundation of any healthy relationship. Does your partner respect your boundaries? Do they listen when you say “no” or you tell them that you are uncomfortable? Respect goes both ways and means that each person understands and values the other person’s boundaries.
  • Trust. Jealousy is a natural emotion, especially for young adults who are experiencing a relationship for the first time. But it is important to pay attention to how you or your partner react when those feelings of jealousy arise. Can they recognize that emotion without being controlled by it? Do they trust that you are committed to their relationship? Without trust, you cannot have a healthy relationship.
  • Honesty. Without honesty, there can be no trust in a relationship. Can you and your partner talk openly about your concerns or needs? Do they follow through when they tell you they’ll meet you for dinner or text you later? If your partner is consistently being honest with you, it can allow you to feel more confident in the relationship. 
  • Support. It may be easy to celebrate together when good things happen, but is your partner still there for you when things go wrong? In a healthy relationship, your partner will be there for you to lean for support no matter what is happening. Sometimes, there is a fear that big disappointments or setbacks will be too much for others to handle. You may worry that your problems will make it too hard for them to love you. But a supportive partner will always be there for you, no matter what. 
  • Fairness/equality. Just like friendships in elementary school, relationships are about taking turns as well. Does one person always choose the activity or do you take turns doing something you’ll each enjoy? If a relationship turns into a power struggle with one person fighting to get their way all the time, the relationship quickly becomes unbalanced. 
  • Separate identities. In a new relationship, it is common for two people to want to spend every free moment together, and the time they aren’t physically together is spent texting or calling. Being able to make compromises is important in a relationship, but it should mean that you feel like you are losing yourself. You and your partner should both have other people, hobbies, and interests in your lives. Neither person should feel like they have to pretend to like something they don’t or be someone who they are not. Both people should feel comfortable developing new interests and friendships while they are in a relationship. 
  • Good communication. In any relationship, good communication is key. Can you talk to your partner about your fears or concerns? Do they listen when you talk to them about things that are important to you? Do you feel comfortable talking to them even when the topic is challenging? Does your partner give you the time and space you need to communicate your feelings?

Moving Past Old Relationships

Some relationships may end because they are unhealthy. Some other relationships end simply because they have run their course. People grow and change, and it is just a natural part of life that many relationships will end. But even understanding that it is normal and natural, it can sometimes be challenging to move past an old relationship. 

For some, losing a significant other because of a break-up can feel very painful. To go from seeing them and talking to them every day to having no contact may feel inconceivable. It may be hard to imagine your life without them. Because of that emotional pain, it is easy to see why fast-forwarding through those hard feelings may sound appealing. You may try to distract yourself by keeping busy with other things and people, ignoring those painful emotions. But the reality is that the end of a relationship usually requires a grieving period, where you can take some time to process what has happened. Rather than trying to suppress your feelings, allowing yourself to feel them is integral to the healing process. Know that you can always reach out to family and friends for emotional support as you go through the process. 

After a relationship ends can be the perfect time to reconnect with yourself. If you were in an unhealthy relationship, take some time for yourself before attempting to jump into a new relationship. Perhaps you found that you were losing your identity in your previous relationship, choosing to go along with what the other person wanted instead of thinking about your own needs. Taking a break can help you assess what those needs are. Reconnect with your own interests and passions. This could be engaging in activities you previously enjoyed such as cooking or hiking. This could also be joining a group where you will be surrounded by people who enjoy the same interests as you do. It can feel validating to be around like-minded people who appreciate your talents and passions. 

It can be easy to replay a relationship over and over again, remembering where things went wrong or wishing you had done something differently, but blaming yourself only brings about negative emotions and delays the healing process. Instead, try to see the relationship as a learning experience. Every relationship, if we let it, can teach us something about ourselves and give us greater clarity about what we need to be happy. Know that a relationship isn’t a failure just because it ended. If you grew as a person and learned something to move your life forward, then it served a purpose and was truly a success.

Remember that just because a relationship failed, that does not mean that every relationship will fail. Each relationship teaches us a little bit more about ourselves and what we are looking for in a partner. By practicing those traits of a healthy relationship and looking for a partner who also has those qualities, you can work to build more healthy relationships in the future. 

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with teen depression, anxiety, trauma, and other emotional or behavioral issues. We strive to help our girls lead themselves back onto a path of health and happiness.

Solstice East supports a therapeutic culture where acceptance, change, and growth is recognized and embraced. Our approach employs the guidance of The Hero’s Journey and its themes, providing a foundation for our students to advance victoriously and grow closer to internal harmony. Solstice East students embark on a therapeutic journey that teaches inner growth and understanding and fosters positive relationships. Our groundbreaking approach allows our students to heal while compiling skills and practices to best serve them throughout their life journey.

For more information about how Solstice East handles social media addiction, please call 828-484-9946!

eating disorders in teen girls

A Dangerous Situation: Consequences of Eating Disorders in Teen Girls

A Dangerous Situation: Consequences of Eating Disorders in Teen Girls 2560 1707 se_admin

Today’s teenage girls face an onslaught of messages from peers, social media sources, and magazines depicting a sensationalized version of what the ideal female form should look like. Despite recent body positivity campaigns to help promote and celebrate bodies of all shapes and sizes, surveys indicated that 33% of teen girls believed they were overweight and a staggering 56% were attempting to actively lose weight.

A new study in 2020, found that higher numbers of Generation Z adolescents in particular are engaging in dieting practices and increasing exercise to lose weight, and when asked they are likely to overestimate their own weight. Engaging in these practices to lose weight, rather than looking at diet and exercise as a way to promote health and wellbeing, can put adolescents at a much higher rate for developing an eating disorder.

The onset of eating disorders typically occur during pre-adolescence or adolescence, and this effect size is enormous for teen girls as more than 90% of diagnosed eating disorders are found in females. Given the monumental consequences, both short and long term, for developing an eating disorder, it’s imperative for parents to learn about the various types of eating disorders, their symptoms, and treatment options to get their daughters the help they need as early as possible. Research has indicated that early diagnosis and intervention are two key steps toward possible recovery.

Common causes for developing eating disorders

It’s not uncommon for teens to change their eating habits from time, as they may experiment with trying different eating styles such as veganism or vegetarianism, or they may actively try to eat healthier. These changes often pass quickly and spotting these changes in eating patterns can help you determine if there is cause for concern or if your teen is just experimenting with her diet.

While it’s difficult to pinpoint any one cause of developing an eating disorder, there are many factors that may put your daughter at risk. One of the main systemic causes thought to be associated with eating disorders are social attitudes toward body appearance, particularly unrealistic ideals of what a female body should look like. Adolescents are also more likely to be at risk for developing an eating disorder if they come from a family with a history of weight problems, physical illnesses, mental health issues, or a genetic predisposition for eating disorders. An individual history of other mental health disorders such as anxiety, OCD, and problems with substance abuse can also put teen girls at risk for developing an eating disorder.

Family dynamics and participation in athletics can also increase the risk of eating disorders if teens are surrounded by high levels of stress, poor communication, and feel pressure from unrealistically high expectations. This is particularly relevant for athletes as many sports such as ballet, running, wrestling, or gymnastics emphasize leanness in order to be a better competitor.

There are three common eating disorders diagnosed in adolescent girls and each comes with its own set of symptoms and complications. These are binge eating disorder, anorexia, and bulimia.

Common eating disorders and their symptoms

Binge eating disorder is defined as regularly consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time without the ability to control the binges, and subsequently feeling extreme guilt about the binges. Due to the guilt they feel, teens may try to hide their food binges by eating in private and make unsuccessful attempts to diet in order to curb this compulsion. The following are signs your daughter may have a binge eating disorder:

– Eating large amounts of food in short periods of time
– Eating even when they are not hungry
– Eating so much they make themselves physically uncomfortable
– Sneaking or hiding food and eating in private
– Feeling they are unable to control food consumption and feeling depressed or disgusted after binging

Bulimia is also categorized by eating large quantities of food in a short period of time, but it is also marked by purging, where one follows up a binge with compensatory behavior such as vomiting, using laxatives, using enemas, fasting, or excessive exercise. Teens with bulimia will often hide their binge and purge episodes, and can be difficult to detect as they are usually close to a normal weight. Here are some warning signs to look out for:

– Eating large amounts of food with no apparent weight changes
– Hiding food or discarded food containers
– Engaging in excessive exercise
– Frequent trips to the bathroom after meal time
– Inappropriate use of laxatives or diuretics
– Frequently clogged showers or toilets

Lastly, anorexia is categorized by an obsession with thinness and presents by taking extreme measures to avoid eating and control the quantity and quality of the foods that they do eat. Individuals with anorexia also typically experience body dysmorphia in which even after they are at unhealthily low weights they still feel fat and restrict calories because they have a distorted image of their own bodies. Symptoms of anorexia include:

– A distorted view of one’s own body weight, even if they are underweight
– Restricting or discarding food in secret
– Obsessively counting calories and checking nutrition labels
– Denying feeling hungry
– Creating rituals about preparing and eating food
– Exercising compulsively
– Extreme emotional changes such as irritability, depression, and anxiety
– Missing periods or having irregular periods

Developing any of these eating disorders can put your daughter at risk for some severe short and long term negative impacts on physical, mental, and social health.

Short and long term consequences of eating disorders

Struggling with an eating disorder will have many impacts on teen girls not only while they are experiencing the disorder but for years to come as well. Disordering eating can impact a teen’s ability to function normally and participate in all her usual daily activities.

Anorexia’s immediate complications are extremely dangerous and in some cases can be fatal. During the disorder, anorexia can cause fatigue and fainting, a slow heart rate, low blood pressure, heart failure, osteoporosis, muscle loss, kidney failure, and loss of menstruation. In the long run, anorexia increases the risk for having psychological problems, such as developing anxiety and depression, lifelong physical complications such as weakened heart functioning, bone density, gastrointestinal issues, damage to the reproductive system, and organ failure, and neurological issues such as seizures, disordered thinking, and numbness in the hands or feets. Some impacts, such as severe bone loss, can be irreversible.

Bulimia can immediately cause dehydration, an electrolyte imbalance, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, tooth decay, acid reflux, inflammation or eruption of the esophagus, and intestinal distress. Many of these consequences will dissipate once a person recovers from bulimia but there are also lingering long term health impacts due to the period of poor nutrition. These include diabetes, brittle bones, dental problems, and reproductive difficulties such as infrequent menstrual periods.

In the short term, binge eating disorder can cause emotional issues such as shame, guilt, social isolation, physical complications such as weight gain and fatigue, and mental issues such as anxiety and depression. The long term consequences of binge eating disorder are those most often associated with being overweight and include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, liver and gallbladder disease, and sleep apnea.

These complications, both in the short and long term, signal an importance to get your daughter treatment as soon as possible, as earlier interventions are known to have a more positive impact on the healing journey.

How to get help if your daughter is struggling with an eating disorder

There are many ways you can help prevent and treat eating disorders in your child. Families can play an essential role in preventing eating disorders by knowing the key risk factors and opening up a dialogue surrounding nutrition, body image, and health. Some key strategies in prevention are dispelling common eating disorder myths, discouraging dieting behaviors, eating meals as a family, avoiding weight talk including teasing about weight, focusing on healthy eating habits, and discussing healthy behaviors that promote well-being rather than weight maintenance.

Eating disorder treatment often takes a multidisciplinary approach and can include medical, psychiatric, individual, and family therapy along with nutritional rehabilitation aimed at restoring a healthy body weight. Because of the many health complications associated with eating disorders, it’s common for treatment to require close supervision of a medical profession, either in in-patient or out-patient treatment facilities. In some cases, medication may be administered if psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression are also present.

A variety of therapies has been found to be effective in treating eating disorders. Individual therapy will usually involve behavioral and cognitive techniques and group therapy allows individuals to find a safe place where they can open up about their struggles and relate to others experiencing similar challenges. Family therapy is also common and focuses on supporting the family in nutritional rehabilitation and how to navigate mental health issues. Nutritional therapy or counselling can provide your daughter with nutrition education, meal planning, and goal setting, which seeks to help her cultivate a healthier relationship with food for life-long change.

If your daughter is struggling with an eating disorder and the associated complications, Solstice East can provide her the all-encompassing and supportive care she needs to put her on the path toward healing.

Solstice East Can Help

Solstice East is a top-rated residential treatment center specializing in the treatment of adolescent females ages 14-17. We offer on-site equine therapy, an accredited academic schedule, and world-class therapeutic programming to treat a wide range of trauma and disorders including eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. Our clients receive a unique combination of therapeutic methods stemming from traditional and holistic mental health treatments that are age and gender specific.

Through relationship-based programming, we help students restore and rebuild healthy, trusting relationships with their families, peers, teachers, and staff. Our groundbreaking approach allows our students to heal while compiling skills and practices to best serve them throughout their life journey. For more information, please call (828) 759-5903.

ptsd in children and teens

PTSD In Teenagers: How You Can Help Your Daughter

PTSD In Teenagers: How You Can Help Your Daughter 640 426 se_admin

Childhood trauma can have a profound impact on adolescent’s development, resulting in negative effects on physical growth, psychological development, mental health, and in severe cases, it can be the catalyst for developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Experiencing childhood trauma has become more widespread with many research studies claiming that over 50% of teens have been exposed to trauma at some point in their lives.

A 2013 research study of 6,483 teens found that 61% of teens had been exposed to at least one potentially traumatic event in their lifetime, including interpersonal violence such as rape, physical abuse, or domestic violence, injuries, natural disasters, or the death of a close family member. Of these teens, 19% had experienced 3 or more of these traumatic events, and nearly 5% had experienced PTSD under the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. Another study indicates that that as many as 16% of adolescents exposed to trauma may develop PTSD.

Research has shown that PTSD can increase vulnerability to psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, as well as several physical problems such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, lung disease, and cancer, and cognitive problems such as brain development and emotional attachment. Because of the potential damages of PTSD, it’s essential to understand the causes of PTSD, recognize its symptoms and impacts, and get your teen treatment as soon as possible to aid in her recovery.

Causes of PTSD in teens

Post-traumatic stress disorder is defined as a condition brought on by exposure to a traumatic event. As discussed, the majority of children will experience some type of traumatic event in their lifetime, but children with PTSD don’t bounce back from this trauma. Instead, they develop harmful behavioral patterns that can be debilitative without treatment.

There are many risk factors associated with the likelihood of developing PTSD as a teenager. Research indicates that the two groups of adolescents that are most likely to have been exposed to trauma in their lifetime are those who did not have both biological parents in the home and those who had pre-existing mental and behavioral disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder.

In a study that found 4.5% of teens had experienced PTSD in their lifetimes, there were many risk factors. One of the greatest risk factors was being a female; females had a 7.3 percent lifetime prevalence of PTSD compared to only 2.2 percent of males. Another risk factor included interpersonal violence as PTSD was found in 39% of teens who had been raped and 25% of teens who had been physically abused by a caregiver. Lastly, those who had underlying mood disorders such as anxiety and depression were also more likely to be at risk for developing PTSD.

Beyond risk factors, there are many known causes for developing PTSD in children and adolescents. The causes can be broken up into two categories: interpersonal traumas and non-interpersonal traumas. Interpersonal trauma includes events such as violent assaults, rape, physical or sexual abuse, school or neighborhood shootings, and military combat.

A 2020 study indicates the link between interpersonal traumas and PTSD can be explained by social information processing theory. Those who have experienced violent trauma are predisposed to hostile attribution bias which increases the perception of threats and causes heightened stress reactivity. Simply put, those who experience violence are more likely to perceive violence in all settings which can cause them to relive their traumas and be fearful of various environments.

The other type of trauma that can result in PTSD is non-interpersonal trauma and this includes events such as car accidents, natural disasters, being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, and going through the death of a loved one. A 2019 study conducted on the impacts of a 2008 earthquake found that up to 10% of children exposed to the earthquake had developed PTSD, and that their PTSD symptoms were heightened around the anniversary of the earthquake each year.

Even though PTSD can develop through various types of trauma, there are some similar symptoms you can look for if you’re concerned your daughter is struggling with post traumatic stress disorder.

Symptoms and impacts of PTSD on teens

For teens struggling with PTSD, they often feel like they are unable to escape the impact of the trauma they have experienced. Constant reminders of the trauma they went through can make it extremely challenging to go through day-to-day life, especially if they are unable to express what they are feeling to trusted adults. Here are some common symptoms to look for in teens experiencing PTSD:

  • Avoidance of situations – Teens with PTSD will often avoid situations, environments, and people that could cause them to remember the trauma they’ve experienced. They may also avoid talking about what happened so they don’t have to be reminded of it.
  • Reliving the trauma – Those experiencing PTSD will often have intense nightmares, flashbacks, or disturbing mental images about the trauma. Wanting to avoid the nightmares can also lead to a disruption in their sleeping patterns or cause insomnia
  • Anxiety – People with PTSD can experience extreme anxiety or nervousness. This can take the form of being easily startled, on edge, jumpy, irritable, or tense. This can be brought on by high levels of stress and cortisol in the body.
  • Developmental Regression – Some children who experience PTSD may regress to earlier, more childlike behaviors. This can include wetting the bed, becoming overly clingy to parents, developing separation anxiety, or even forgetting how to speak.
  • Emotional numbness – Teens struggling with past trauma, often feel numb and detached from the people and events in their lives. This detachment can also cause teens to view the world more negatively and hinder their ability to trust anyone. Research indicates this is because the brain overproduces some hormones that numb the senses during stress.
  • Acting impulsively – Teens with PTSD are likely to display self-destructive behavior and guilt. This could be in the form of substance use and abuse, engaging in sexual behavior, or engaging in situations that could put themselves and others in harm’s way.

In addition to the symptoms teens may display, there are many physical, mental, social and emotional impacts that adolescents with PTSD can experience. Due to the hypervigilance, change in sleeping patterns, and increased stress that individuals with PTSD experience, they can also experience negative physical health impacts. Common effects include back pain, migraines, stomachaches, muscle tension, and other body aches. A 2015 study found that childhood trauma can even cause long term changes in their body’s immune functioning which can cause potentially life threatening conditions such as type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

PTSD in adolescents can also have extremely adverse impacts socially and emotionally. A 2017 study found that those who had experienced PTSD and trauma were likely to misidentify sad and angry faces as fearful. Understanding and recognizing facial expressions is crucial for social functioning and communicating emotions, so this impairment can hurt an individual’s ability to connect with others and can be indicative of low empathy and impaired affective bonding.

Sometimes PTSD can occur in a particularly severe form called Complex PTSD. This type of PTSD is most commonly found in those who have experienced repeated sexual abuse in childhood. A study on Complex PTSD found that in combination with reliving the trauma, these individuals undergo massive personality changes that cause them to struggle with relationships and prohibit them from trusting, developing intimacy, and cultivating a positive sense of self worth.

For children and teens struggling with PTSD, early and consistent intervention can make a world of difference in their healing journey.

How you can help support your daughter through her PTSD

There are many options for treatment if your daughter is experiencing PTSD, and certain types of talk therapy, such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, have been proven to significantly reduce the symptoms of PTSD. There are also many steps you can take at home to help your daughter along her recovery journey. Try these strategies to help your teen with PTSD:

Research the causes and effects of PTSD – It can help to gather as much information as possible about PTSD to determine the root of the cause in your daughter. The more information you have, the more able you will be to provide her with the best course of treatment.

Learn to recognize PTSD episodes – One of the scariest impacts of PTSD on teens is reliving a flashback of the event, in which they feel like they are experiencing the trauma all over again. Knowing what to look for during these episodes can help you understand what is going on, what to expect, and what you can do to help in the moment.

Let them know they are not alone – As many as 16% of girls will experience some sort of PTSD in their lives and it can be helpful to know others have experienced this to help reduce alienation from others. Seeking out a PTSD support group can provide an opportunity to connect with others who have experienced similar situations.

Learn triggers – Many PTSD episodes are triggered by events, images, and sounds that remind teens of the original trauma they experienced. By knowing these triggers, you can help your teens avoid the kinds of situations that might cause a PTSD episode.

If your teen is struggling with childhood trauma and PTSD, a residential program like Solstice East, can provide her the holistic and restorative therapy she needs to heal.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls ages 14-17 that specializes in treating trauma. We utilize cutting edge neurological research to help us better understand the impact of trauma on the developing brain and to implement the most effective methods for its treatment. We believe that a holistic approach is an effective way to help young women truly heal from trauma.

Instead of focusing on one specific problem area or issue, we treat the entire person mind, body, and spirit. We believe that evidence based therapeutic techniques such as EMDR, neurofeedback, somatic experiencing, Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and gender specific treatment are essential to your daughter’s healing process.For more information about how Solstice East can help, please call 828-484-9946.

women and youth supporting each other

How to Build Up Other Girls Instead of Feeling Competitive

How to Build Up Other Girls Instead of Feeling Competitive 2560 1437 se_admin

Teenage girls have a reputation for being competitive. So much so that the terms “Queen Bee” and “mean girls” have worked their way into common vernacular. This sense of competition may stem from a variety of reasons such as issues with confidence, a feeling of scarcity around opportunities, or learned behaviors. And while this competition is often seen as a given for women, the truth is that there are ways that we can change our perspective and learn to build other girls up. 

Women Supporting Women

Pursue Your Passions: Being engaged in activities you are passionate about can help you feel more confident and connected. By exploring your interests, you begin to build a stronger self of self. And that strong self of self can help guide your moral compass when you encounter those negative competitive behaviors, whether in yourself or in others. 

Practice Empathy: Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is a crucial part of understanding how our behaviors can directly affect someone else. Negative competitive behaviors often present themselves as being malicious or underhanded. When those feelings arise, you may find yourself wishing for your own success, perhaps at the cost of someone else’s. It’s important to remember that there are opportunities for everyone and that when you act on those competitive feelings, it can have a real and negative impact on others. 

Use Social Media for Good: Social media is often thought of as a negative thing where young women are flooded with messages and imaging about how they could look/act/be better. And while that can be the case, there are ways to use social media for good. You can follow accounts on social media that you find inspirational where women are lifting each other up. You can also use your own social media for good. Leave positive comments on a friend’s post describing her recent success. “Like” a co-worker’s selfie where she was feeling confident. 

Work Together: If you find yourself struggling with competitive behaviors, try putting yourself in situations where you will have to work collaboratively with other women. Perhaps it’s a sports team or joining a local group of volunteers. Notice how that when you’re working together, one person’s success means that every person is succeeding. The more you practice lifting other women up, the more it will just become a part of your automatic response. 

Solstice East Can Help

Solstice East students are highly intelligent and highly sensitive. Our teens are creative and capable, but vulnerable to the pressures of their surroundings. They often experience the world differently through misperceptions and are impacted by issues of anxiety, depression, identity, attachment, mood disorders, and learning disabilities. Solstice East is committed to treating each student through a combination of individual, family, equine, and adventure therapies as well as treating and diagnosing a range of issues including (but not limited to) trauma, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, self-harming behaviors, attachment, and identity issues. For more information please call (828) 471-0221.

creating a schedule for kids

Benefits of Making a Schedule for Teens: Why Teens Need Structure

Benefits of Making a Schedule for Teens: Why Teens Need Structure 2560 1709 se_admin

Teenagers are experiencing an interesting stage of life. They are beginning to experience more freedom with their time and can begin to choose how they manage that time. Time management is an important life skill, but for many teens, it’s not something that comes naturally. Creating good habits is the foundation for building life skills, and a schedule is a great place to start for teens. 

Benefits of Having Structure for Teens

For many teens, their day is packed from wake up to bedtime with school, homework, extracurriculars, family obligations, and time with friends. It’s easy for things to slip and get left behind when teens get busy, and chances are, if they are given the choice between finishing their homework and chatting with friends, they are going to choose the latter. Creating a schedule helps teens manage their time so that responsibilities don’t fall through the cracks. For example, if they have a big project due at the end of the week, working on it in 30 minute increments through the week can keep them from feeling overwhelmed by having to do everything all at once at the last minute. A schedule can also teens work toward their goals. If they are hoping to make the first string of the basketball team, adding practice time into their weekly schedule can help them stay focused on their goals. 

Having a schedule can also help alleviate feelings of anxiety in teens. When teens feel like there isn’t enough time in their day to complete all their tasks they can feel overwhelmed, anxious, or even defeated. Teens struggling with mental health issues may feel irritable or withdraw from activities they previously enjoyed. A schedule can keep these teens engaged and could potentially keep those symptoms at bay while the structure may help minimize worries about what will come next or how they should be spending their time. 

Helping Your Teen Make a Schedule

When helping your teen create a daily schedule, have them list out everything they need to do with their home life, school work, extracurriculars, and friends. They can then categorize those tasks into things that need to happen daily, weekly, and monthly. This can help your teen visualize when tasks need to be completed. They can use a daily planner, the calendar on their cell phone, or an old fashioned calendar. It is important for teens to be a part of the process of making their schedule. When they have input, they are more invested in actually keeping their schedule. Ideally, you may want them to clean their room every day. But if they decide that they would rather do one big clean at the end of each week, and they prove that they can complete the task as scheduled, giving them the power to decide shows them that you trust them and believe in their ability to build those life skills. This in turn builds their confidence and belief that they can succeed. 

Solstice East Can Help

Solstice East is a groundbreaking residential treatment center that emphasizes the mind-body connection in our unique approach to holistic healthcare.

We have a strong emphasis on family therapy, nutrition, and physical fitness. We also offer accredited, engaging 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 please call (828) 414-2980.

self care for kids

Making Time for Healthy Habits As A Young Girl

Making Time for Healthy Habits As A Young Girl 2560 1707 se_admin

A typical day for young girls may look something like this: wake up, shower and get ready for school, grab a quick bite of breakfast, ride the school bus, classes, after school activities, homework, dinner, homework, spending time on technology, bed. Their days are filled from morning until night with activities and responsibilities. This amount of commitment can lead to stress, anxiety, and unhealthy habits. 

For example, teens who are pressed for time may opt to grab a pre-packaged snack that they can eat on the go during lunchtime instead of stopping for a healthy meal. Girls who have after school activities such as athletics or clubs may end up starting their homework after dinner and working late into the night, therefore losing sleep and developing unhealthy sleep habits. It may start as little things here and there, but when left unaddressed these habits can lead to negative consequences for their physical and mental health. 

Knowing that many young girls lead busy lives, how can we encourage them to take time for themselves and create some healthy habits?

There are three key areas for adolescent girls’ health: 

Physical: Adolescents who are feeling overwhelmed may not make time for exercise and healthy eating. Finding ways to make these aspects of their health fun and engaging can help them to feel some ownership around their physical health. This could mean going for a family walk, encouraging active activities with their friend group, or taking cooking lessons. It may also be helpful for young girls to schedule healthy habits into their day. For example, making sure they set aside a full hour at lunch to sit down and eat a healthy meal. When the time is already scheduled, they won’t need to worry that they are missing something else when they stop and refuel.

Mental: Teaching girls healthy coping skills can be beneficial when they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. This could include practices like meditation and mindfulness. This could also look like providing a safe space for your daughter to communicate her needs and concerns. When she can talk about her struggles, you can better help her address those issues. Have your daughter track how she feels when she practices her healthy coping skills and compares it to times when she does not. When she is able to identify an improvement in her mental health, she may be more motivated to make time for those practices. 

Emotional: Emotions are high during the adolescent years. Social dynamics are constantly changing, and things like social media can leave girls feeling isolated or depressed. Teaching your daughter to cultivate her friend group and her social media feeds can help her feel more emotionally healthy. Talk with her about what makes a good friend and how to remove herself from unhealthy relationships. Encourage her to block or delete social media accounts that make her feel bad about herself and help her implement time frames around social media use. With the time she is no longer spending on social media, she can instead engage in healthy physical and mental habits. 

Solstice East Can Help

The Solstice mission is to support adolescents, and their families, in developing excellence in relationships, influence, character, and health throughout their life journeys. Through relationship-based programming, we help students restore and rebuild healthy, trusting relationships with their families, peers, teachers, and staff. 

At Solstice East, your teen will be supported by a passionate team of therapeutic experts who have extensive training and experience working with trauma, loss, anxiety, addiction, and unhealthy behaviors. We are a proven leader in successfully treating adolescent students struggling with a variety of challenges. For more information please call (828) 469-0905.

West Virginia Troubled Teen Programs

West Virginia Troubled Teen Programs and Solstice East

West Virginia Troubled Teen Programs and Solstice East 1707 2560 Admin_SE

Are you looking for West Virginia troubled teen programs? The transition from childhood to adolescence can be a difficult process for teenagers and their families, especially in a world increasingly characterized by uncertainty. As teens shed the blinders of innocence, their child-like innocence is often replaced with attempts to keep up with or be similar to friends. This is a time when many people struggle to find their identities.

Naturally, as a parent or guardian, you want to be able to shield your teen from the troubles of the world; but that, unfortunately, isn’t a possibility.  We, at Solstice East, in North Carolina, are eager to help you and your teens during the obstacles that evolve from this transition. Are you interested in seeking a treatment program or do you need to find out whether or not your teen requires therapeutic help? Below is a guide outlining the general characteristics of a troubled teen. Statistics pertaining to the likelihood of youth in West Virginia of being categorized as troubled are also listed. We conclude by identifying available programs to assist your adolescent, such as those offered at the Solstice East Residential Treatment Center in North Carolina.

West Virginia Troubled Teen Programs

West Virginia Troubled Teen Programs

Who are troubled teens?

Typically, a troubled teenager is one who has experienced trauma, a major loss, or who is unable to develop and maintain attachments with others. Troubled youth are not the teens experiencing a bad day, having difficulty finding a social group in which they feel comfortable, or struggling to decide what type of clothes they want to wear.  The list below provides an overview of common symptoms exhibited by teens who have experienced a physically traumatic event:

  1. Triggers: The teen is triggered into reliving the traumatic event by visual associations, nightmares, flashbacks, or spontaneous retrieval of the memories of the event.
  2. Avoidance: In a strong effort to not relive the traumatic experience, troubled teens may distance themselves from any person, place, thing, or memory with which they may associate the event. This can include avoiding other people, losing interest in normal activities, feeling emotionally numb, and forgetting specifics of the event.
  3. Being on edge: Your teen may be in a continual state of stress or “fight or flight”—the body’s innate reaction to the presence of fear. Someone in a perpetual state of “fight or flight” appears to be extremely agitated and easily frightened, and they may overreact to simple stimuli, feel an impending sense of doom, or have difficulty concentrating (Harvard Medical School, 2006).

In addition to physical trauma, losing a loved one with whom they shared a deep attachment to may cause the teen to be troubled. In this instance, loss does not strictly mean that the loved one has passed away. Instead, it is defined more broadly to include people who have moved away, or a drastic situational change that has transformed the relationship between loved one and teen (in a way that the teen perceives as negative or difficult). Examples such as an older sibling going off to college, getting married, or joining the military can result in shifting family dynamics. These monumental changes can affect the mental health of younger siblings.

Lastly, substance abuse or addictions can indicate trouble for a teen. Drugs alter the chemistry of the body, affecting the way one thinks. Addictions or addictive behavior shifts the focus of life and can hinder teens from developing healthy habits, routines, and relationships. Remember, substance abuse or addictions harms the families of the user as well, so it is important to identify the effects and consider the needs of everyone involved.

Troubled Teen Programs

Troubled Teen Programs

How many teens are affected in West Virginia?

Now that you are better informed as to the likely causes and symptoms of troubled teens, let us turn to some statistics relating to mental health issues among West Virginia youth. Although living in West Virginia does not directly correlate with behavioral shifts, local culture and community are important considerations in the evaluation process. Below are state-wide statistics for West Virginia, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018), listed in comparison to the national average:

  • +3.22% chance your high school student felt hopeless every day for at least two weeks straight and they stopped doing some usual activities
  • +7.69% chance of your 12-17-year-old having had at least one major episode of depression within the last year
  • +28.57% chance your high school adolescent has tried to commit suicide within the last year
  • +5.88% chance your high school student, during the last year, seriously contemplated suicide
  • +200% chance your teen attempted suicide, failed, and had to be treated by a nurse or doctor due to the injuries, poisoning, or overdose caused by the attempt

These statistics are included to shed light on common behavioral patterns exhibited by troubled teens. If your teen is not currently exhibiting signs of trouble, it is important to consider that close friends of theirs may be. Your teen, therefore, may be preoccupied with concealing that information in an effort to maintain the privacy of their friends.

Troubled Teen Programs West Virginia

Troubled Teen Programs West Virginia

Next steps

The information above is not intended to cause fear or alarm. It is to provide you, as the parent or guardian, with the necessary information to better understand and support your teen. The first step on the path to recovery is to please speak with your teen and ensure that their privacy is protected. If you believe that they could be troubled to the point of needing additional assistance, reach out to a counselor, therapist, or medical health professional for more information or a diagnosis. If diagnosed with trauma, loss or attachment issues, or an addictive behavior is identified, consider Solstice East as an excellent residential treatment program.

About Solstice East

Located in nearby North Carolina, numerous troubled girls ages 14-17 have successfully undergone our treatment program, conducted by our fully licensed staff. At Solstice East, we support your daughter in regaining her confidence, reconnecting with the world through healthy relationships with herself and others, and empowering her with the resources to lead a happy and healthy life. Recognizing that people need effective support systems to thrive, our experienced staff also work with families to help them communicate with the teen.

Harvard Health Publishing. (2006, March). First aid for emotional trauma. In Harvard Mental Health Letter. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/First_aid_for_emotional_trauma

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2018, November). West Virginia Adolescent Mental Health Facts. In Office of Adolescent Health. Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/facts-and-stats/national-and-state-data-sheets/adolescent-mental-health-fact-sheets/west-virginia/index.html