• Residential Treatment Program for Teens 14-18


bullying in teens

Bullying is a Big Deal: The Lasting Effects of Bullying in Teens

Bullying is a Big Deal: The Lasting Effects of Bullying in Teens 640 426 The Solstice Team

During the teen years, friendships and peer relationships begin to feel more important to young adults than their family relationships. While this is a normal part of becoming more independent, it does mean that these teens are experiencing increased opportunities for bullying. Social dynamics are beginning to shift at school or within their friend groups and peers begin to establish themselves outside of their own family unit. Teens are spending more time away from home by themselves for gatherings or after-school activities. Teens are also spending more time on their devices which exposes them to even more opportunities for bullying. When we look at all of these things combined, it is easy to see how prevalent bullying can be during the teen years. According to a 2019 report, about 20% of students ages 12-18 experienced bullying nationwide. 19% of students in grades 9–12 report being bullied on school property in the 12 months prior to the survey and An estimated 14.9% of high school students were electronically bullied in the 12 months prior to the survey.

Bullying goes beyond temporary or short-lived emotional pain. Bullying has serious effects on one’s health. Did you know bullying can cause physical changes in the brain and result in an increased chance of mental illness? Researchers predict that the prevention of high school bullying could result in lifetime benefits of more than 1 million dollars per individual. Putting an end to bullying in teens requires learning about its effects and engaging the whole community in the mission.

What Bullying Looks Like

Bullying comes in many different forms, especially for today’s teens. While we may assume that bullying means a shove in the hallway or hazing in sports teams, the reality is that there are many factors for bullying that include physical and emotional abuse. A few examples of types of bullying include:

  • Physical bullying: This kind of bullying includes a range of aggressive behaviors in which one person aims to cause bodily harm to another person.
  • Verbal bullying: Some people say that “words will never hurt you,” but anyone who has been on the receiving end of verbal bullying knows that cruel words and scary threats can, indeed, be very painful.
  • Relational bullying: In relational bullying, kids use friendship, and the threat of taking their friendship away, to hurt others. This is the type of bullying most often referred to as “drama.” Because it often happens within the context of a once trusting friendship, drama can be especially confusing and hurtful. This can begin to present itself even in children at a young age.
  • Cyberbullying is a specific form of bullying that involves technology: Cyberbullying can be especially destructive because of how quickly and how widely cruel messages can spread.

The Dangers of Bullying

Research suggests that children and youth who are bullied over time are more likely than those not bullied to experience depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. They also are more likely to be lonely and want to avoid school. Experiencing bullying can also have physical effects such as a loss of sleep or feelings of general illness such as headaches and stomach aches.

Chronic bullying is the term that refers to bullying that occurs repeatedly over time. Studies showed that adolescents who experienced chronic bullying were linked to changes in brain volume and changes in anxiety levels at age 19. This finding is what connected the effects of bullying with mental health issues.

Cyberbullying is especially prevalent and dangerous for today’s teens. Young adults have access to each other at all times of the day or night across multiple platforms thanks to smartphones and computers. Teens communicate through everything from text messages to TikTok to online gaming. With so many platforms, it can be difficult to track who is communicating to your teen and when. Cyberbullying can be especially devastating for teens because it so often includes more than one bully. Group texts that taunt. Instagram comments that criticism. It can feel completely overwhelming to teens and make them believe that everyone hates them. Cyberbullying has unique concerns in that it can be:

  • Persistent: Digital devices offer an ability to immediately and continuously communicate 24 hours a day, so it can be difficult for children experiencing cyberbullying to find relief.
  • Permanent: Most information communicated electronically is permanent and public, if not reported and removed. A negative online reputation, including for those who bully, can impact college admissions, employment, and other areas of life.
  • Hard to Notice: Because teachers and parents may not overhear or see cyberbullying taking place, it is harder to recognize.

How You Can Help

Seeing your child experience bullying can be heartbreaking and leave you feeling powerless. Every parent wants their child to feel safe and supported, but because bullying can be insidious, it may be difficult for parents to recognize. Since it is unrealistic for parents to be with their children 24 hours a day, how can you help your teen? Here are tools you can use to help address bullying within your own home:

  • Look for signs. You should watch for signs in your child that he or they may be being bullied. Don’t expect them to tell you. Ripped clothing, marks on skin, dread going to school, decreased appetite, crying, general anxiety and depression, or nightmares could be signs indicating issues with peers at school. From here, don’t tell them to toughen up. 
  • Create a conversation. Learn about the situation and grasp an understanding of what is going on. Don’t encourage your child to fight back, instead assure them that you will help them work through the situation.
  • Work on coping skills. Teach your teen how to overcome bullying without feeling weak or defeated. Practice at home. Give them scenarios where they practice walking away or using assertive behaviors for coping with bullies. Also talk to them about resources they can seek out when they are worried about bullies.
  • Set social boundaries. Cyberbullying is at an all-time high with the growing access and popularity of social media. Educate yourself and your child on how to properly use social media. Don’t forward emails or threatening messages. Don’t post inappropriate photos or comments. These are all things that should be addressed.

Residential Treatment for Healing

For some young women, the effects of bullying last far longer than the event itself. And while there are ways that parents can support them at home, they may need additional support and structure to work through the trauma of being bullied. In these cases, a residential treatment center like Solstice RTC may be the answer. 

The emotional culture or “milieu” of our program is a critical factor in the healing process. A strong sense of emotional and physical safety is paramount so that the girls and assigned females at birth feel protected in the deeply sensitive work they do. Furthermore, the daily interactions and behaviors of the girls and assigned females at birth in and among their teammates are reflective of how they are progressing in their journey.

Daily interactions with peers and staff are best illustrated by the levels of responsibility they are developing, as well as the respect and care they invest in their relationships. Given this, the role of the residential program and the therapeutic impact it has in the lives of the students we serve is vitally important in creating a safe and healing culture.

When a new student arrives at Solstice RTC, they are assigned a “big sister”, another student that has advanced in their progress enough to be ready to support a new student. The big sister plays a vital role of an immediate friend, a source of information and guidance to the new student. They focus on helping their “little sister” feel welcomed and cared about during the first weeks following admission.

At Solstice RTC, our milieu culture combined with a built-in community can help our students begin to build relationships and trust with their peers. Young women and assigned female at birth can use tools such as group therapy, adventure therapy, and community service to work through their past trauma around peer relationships due to bullying. 

Solstice West RTC Can Help

Solstice West RTC is a program for young girls and assigned females at birth ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, addictive behaviors, and/or relationship struggles. This program provides individual, group, and family therapy to help students heal and improve from every angle. Fitness, nutrition, and academics also play an important role in this program. 

Our approach to change emphasizes student’s strengths within a therapeutic culture where acceptance, change, and growth are supported and valued. Positive relationships characterized by emotional safety are at the crux of this process. Students embark on a therapeutic journey that fosters relationships and a thorough understanding of themselves and those around them. Solstice gives teens the skills and help they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, healthy, and capable of self-managing. We can help your family today! For more information please call us at 801-919-8858.

girls and assigned female at birth bullying girls

Girl-to-Girl or child assigned female at birth Bullying: Learning to Support Each Other

Girl-to-Girl or child assigned female at birth Bullying: Learning to Support Each Other 2560 1707 The Solstice Team

Forming friendships is an important part in any teen girl’s life, but for some, navigating those relationships can be fraught with danger. Bullying happens to both boys and girls, but girls and assigned female at birth who bully tend to be more cerebral. With access to technology and social media, it has become easier than ever for girls and assigned female at birth to bully one another.

Bullying and Girls

While there are many different reasons for girls and assigned female at birth to bully, some of these girls and assigned female at birth are experiencing turmoil or a sense of powerlessness in their own lives. For others, it may be about enjoying the power and the attention they receive when they are in power. Girls and assigned female at birth – girls and assigned female at birth who bully also tend to show a lack of empathy, as well as limited coping and social skills. They may use tactics such as exclusion, spreading rumors or cyber bullying themselves, or they may even recruit others to participate in the bullying. 

Girls and assigned female at birth – girls and assigned female at birth are often taught by society to be competitive with one another. The belief is that there are only so many opportunities, and if another girl or child assigned female at birth succeeds, that means that there is one less opportunity available. This may stem from the fact that historically, there were less opportunities for people in schools or in the workplace. But we now know that when people succeed it opens the door for other people to succeed as well. 

Learning to Support Each Other

Creating an environment where teens feel confident and supported is crucial for stopping the bullying cycle. Author Charisse Nixon, PhD, describes this as “ABCs and Me: acceptance (by self), belonging (among others), control, and meaningful existence.”. When these needs are met, girls and assigned female at birth can develop a strong sense of self and do not need to seek out validation from other negative behaviors. 

One of the most important ways girls and assigned female at birth can learn to support one another is by watching their role models. Girls and assigned female at birth – girls and assigned female at birth often look to the people in their lives for cues about how to think and act. When they speak confidently, take risks, and own their accomplishments, they set positive examples for girls and assigned female at birth to follow. There are countless opportunities every day to help girls and assigned female at birth gain the confidence and skills they need to lean in and take the lead. Having a positive role model in their life can make a huge impact in how they treat their peers. 

Solstice RTC Can Help

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

Milieu experiential therapy utilizes the social culture of a residential treatment environment to create positive changes in your child’s behavior.  These changes are achieved through the therapeutic use of our campus’s “community”, which includes their peers, staff, community roles and responsibilities, groups, and meetings. The positive influence of peers can promote a powerful and sustainable change when combined with the intentional application of other therapeutic interventions. For more information please call (866) 278-3345.

symptoms of cyberbullying and ptsd

Cyberbullying Linked to Symptoms of PTSD

Cyberbullying Linked to Symptoms of PTSD 2560 1707 The Solstice Team

A recent study, linking cyberbullying to symptoms of PTSD, found that more than a third of the cyberbullies were not involved in traditional bullying, whereas a huge majority of the cyberbully victims were involved in traditional bullying. This suggests that the anonymity provided to perpetrators online may constitute a new platform for bullying to occur. Based on the wide reach that cyberbullying and cancel culture can have, teens are more likely to report elevated levels of hypervigilance and avoiding social media platforms associated with incidents of cyberbullying, which are classic signs of PTSD.

What is Cyberbullying?

With the rise of technology, cyberbullying can happen anywhere, at any time. Teens are not protected by class changes, eating lunch in the bathroom, or going home early. As most teens have cell phones, cruel messages or unflattering photos can be sent or passed around during the school day and whenever teens walk out the front door. It may not involve physical violence like other forms of bullying, but the effect can be more widespread as online activity is permanent and often public. The prevalence of cyberbullying among teens is thought to be between 10% and 40% and to pose specific risks because it can be done day and night, in various contexts, is rapid, anonymous, and reaches a wide audience.

Examples of cyberbullying may include:

  • Sending mean emails, texts, or direct messages 
  • Harassing someone from an anonymous number or account
  • Posting hurtful things about someone on social media
  • Spreading rumors or gossip about someone online
  • Making fun of someone in an online chat that includes multiple people
  • Creating a fake online profile to contact others
  • Sharing embarrassing photos or videos of other people without their permission

What is the Impact of Cyberbullying on a Teen’s Identity and Social Relationships?

While the intent behind cyberbullying is similar to the intent behind traditional bullying, researchers have found that there may be protective factors against the effects of cyberbullying due to its anonymity, even though it is a double-edged sword. Another recent study, published in the Journal of Adolescence, found that intrapersonal emotional competence showed buffering effects against cyberbullying because the ability to handle one’s own emotions is known to have a positive impact on our mental health, but interpersonal emotional competence showed the opposite effect. Because the ability to understand emotional states in others may encourage individuals to dwell on the bully’s intentions.

The biggest impact of cyberbullying is the toll it takes on one’s social life and technology use, while bullying is more likely to target one’s self-esteem. The mediating factor may be the public display of relational aggression that leaves cyberbullying victims more vulnerable and feeling exposed.

Teens who have been cyberbullied are more likely to:

  • Struggle with trusting others
  • Become withdrawn
  • Either spend excessive time online or avoid social media altogether
  • Become jumpy whenever they receive a notification
  • Avoid conversations about their friendships or online activity
  • Refuse to go to school

Healing from the Trauma of Cyberbullying

While most cyberbullying comes in the form of verbal abuse, gaslighting, and harassment, it can be just as emotionally painful as physical acts or threats of violence. As it is less understood by parents and professionals who may not have grown up with social media technology, it can be difficult to offer support to your child who is affected by cyberbullying if you don’t understand the phenomena. 

Some suggestions may include:

  • Ask questions, but respect space. It can feel embarrassing to share other people’s negative online comments with others out of fear of judgment or “being exposed.” When asking about your child’s experience, the details and names may not matter. In fact, they may bring up more anxiety and shame. However, it may be helpful to ask general questions about what the process of “being canceled” looks like, how certain sites respond to reported comments or anonymous users, or how celebrities have used their social media platforms to address online “haters”. By focusing on the general experience of cyberbullying, your child may offer insight into youth Internet culture that can help guide ways to support their in their personal experience with it.
  • Don’t blame their for their online activity. Cyberbullying isn’t always direct backlash for inappropriate or hurtful comments made online or controversial opinions. Many parents’ gut instinct is to ask whether their child values their digital privacy or if they give out too much personal information online. While these conversations are important, it is becoming more socially acceptable for teens to put that level of information out there. Besides, the immediate crisis should be how they feels targeted or rejected, not how or if they played a role.
  • Encourage their to unplug from technology for a while. This might seem like one of the most obvious solutions, but it can be difficult to follow through with when a significant proportion of a teen’s social life occurs through online activity. While it may feel punitive to take away their phone for something out of their control, encouraging them to self-monitor their screen time or temporarily deactivate certain accounts can help them take space from triggering messages before they decide if and how they might want to respond.
  • Offer positive affirmations on and offline. After experiencing cyberbullying, many teenage girls and assigned female at birth take mean comments to heart and overgeneralize that all of their friends (or followers) feel the same way about her. It is critical to their self-esteem to remind their of their positive attributes and help their reflect on the things they appreciates about herself. If you are also on social media, hyping their up in their comments or flooding their tagged photos on Instagram may be seen as “embarrassing,” but heart reacting their pictures and tagging their in uplifting quotes and articles may fill their feed with positive information.

Solstice RTC Can Help

Solstice Residential Treatment Center is a program for young girls and assigned female at birth ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and/or relationship struggles. This program provides three types of therapy: individual, group, and family therapy. Solstice Residential Treatment Center is dedicated to teaching teens how to incorporate healthy habits into their lives. Students will leave with the skills they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, and able to manage their emotions. 

Contact us at 866-278-3345. We can help your family today!

bullying and self esteem

How Does Bullying Affect Self-Esteem in Teens?

How Does Bullying Affect Self-Esteem in Teens? 2560 1707 The Solstice Team

Sometimes it can feel like bullying has become more and more prevalent in teens. Consistent torment by peers can take a toll on teens particularly in the way they view themselves or on their self-esteem. Studies show that teens who are repeatedly bullied have lower reports of self esteem and higher rates of depression and anxiety. However, parents can have an important role in decreasing the effect of bullying. One study from the University of Missouri says that if teens feel a sense of belonging, either with their family or peers, the less likely they will be a victim or even engage in bullying behaviors. 

Self Esteem and Bullying

Engaging with your daughter, asking open ended questions about their day can help parents create and maintain a connection that can make your teen feel more secure.  This relationship can be an important source of support for your daughter. If they experiences bullying they are more likely to come to you if there is a secure and open relationship in place.  

Another factor in how self-esteem is affected by bullying is a decrease in social and communication skills. As parents, it’s important to encourage these behaviors with specific praises focusing on behavior such as “Wow you did a really good job talking to your teacher today” or “I really like how good of a friend you are”. If your child is feeling down and being hard on herself, expressing out loud some positive traits that you see in their can be really helpful for combating negative self-talk. Keeping up a positive commentary of how much your child means to you can also be beneficial even if they don’t reciprocate. Remember, they always hear you even if they don’t show it. 

Finding Help at Solstice West

If your child is struggling with low self esteem and bullying, Solstice West can help. We are a residential treatment center with a focus on helping teens struggling with mental health challenges related to trauma. Learn more about our program by calling out admissions team at 866-278-3345.

LGBTQ teens and bullying

Family Support Reduces Risk of Bullying Among LGBTQ Teens

Family Support Reduces Risk of Bullying Among LGBTQ Teens 2560 1922 The Solstice Team

Adolescence is an especially critical time for LGBTQ teens who show higher rates of suicide attempts or thoughts, substance abuse, and depression, and higher rates of being bullied. Those who lack support from family or friends are even more likely to struggle with their mental health. One of the biggest fears teens have is not whether they will be rejected by their peers at school, but rather how supportive their family will be if they ask for help. While these may seem like separate issues, family support reduces the risk and impact of bullying among teens. 

The Role of Family Acceptance

In a study investigating protective factors against bullying, researchers found that LGBTQ teens were more than 25% less likely to be frequently bullied at school if they were from supportive family backgrounds. As people develop their sense of self and beliefs about relationships early in life, family support during adolescence helps teens build their sense of identity, self-esteem, and control.

Most people who struggle with low self-esteem have had experiences where they have felt isolated from others and rejected by others. This contributes to feeling insecure about accomplishments and being scared of failure in terms of reaching their goals and meeting other people’s expectations. 

While parent support may not necessarily be able to prevent bullying at school, it has a positive impact on a teen’s self-esteem, which influences how they may respond to being bullied or rejected by classmates. Teens who feel confident about who they are and what they like to do are less likely to let other people’s opinions shake their self-esteem and resilience.

How Family Relationships Affect Peer Relationships (and vice versa)

Positive relationships with parents cultivate self-esteem in children, which leads to more positive relationships with peers in adolescence and young adulthood. Young adults who have struggled to connect with others through childhood are more at risk of being bullied, which reinforces low self-esteem. 

A study at Northwestern University found that LGBTQ youth who have a strong network of support from their peers and their significant other not only showed lower levels of distress but also experienced increased support from their family over the course of adolescence. This demonstrates that support can have a domino effect. When teens feel more supported in their lives, they are also more likely to trust others and attempt to expand their circle.

Increasing Family Support for LGBTQ teens

Families recognize that creating success may involve making changes on their end to support a healthier relationship with their child. The relationships that teens develop with their parents are often their most long-lasting relationships, regardless of how often they see each other through adulthood. For this reason, rebuilding family relationships is an important part of helping teens make lasting changes in their lives. 

As a lack of communication and misunderstanding between parents and their children are the main sources of family conflict, one of the goals of family therapy is to help families improve their communication styles by facilitating interactions in various settings.

Family Involvement in Residential Treatment may include:

  • Letter writing
  • 90-minute family therapy sessions weekly by phone or video conference
  • Face-to-face therapy sessions
  • Therapy assignments or readings for parents
  • Weekend visits on or off-campus
  • Multi-day family seminars every quarter
  • Home visits once approved

Solstice West Can Help 

Solstice RTC is a residential treatment center for young girls and assigned female at birth ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, addictive behaviors, and/or relationship struggles. This program provides individual, group, and family therapy to help students heal and improve from every angle. Fitness, nutrition, and academics also play an important role in this program. Solstice gives teens the skills and support they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, healthy, and capable of self-managing. We can help your family today!

Contact us at 801-919-8858 to learn more about our family programming.

Teen Bullying: ’13 Reasons Why’ Brings Up Important Topics

Teen Bullying: ’13 Reasons Why’ Brings Up Important Topics 1280 848 The Solstice Team

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock or are one of the few who don’t have a Netflix subscription, you’ve probably heard of the show 13 Reasons Why. This show covers many topics considered fairly “taboo” in the sense of what’s portrayed on television. The overarching theme seems to be around teen bullying and what it can really push a person to do.

How 13 Reasons Why sheds light on teen bullying

While 13 Reasons Why has sparked massive debates about the possible glorification of suicide in the show, it has also sparked conversations about mental health–a subject not commonly the center of attention.

teen bullyingOne of the main focuses in the show is the effect teen bullying had on the main character, Hannah Baker. Hannah is a teen girl or child assigned female at birth that commits suicide, but before committing the act, they recorded 13 tapes outlining why they decided to take their own life. Many of the reasons have to do with teen bullying.

It shows how seemingly “little” things peers do to one another, whether they thought it was a big deal or not, can impact an individual intensely. Hannah was the victim of many forms of bullying.

She experienced teen bullying in and out of school. Rumors were spread about their by their peers, whether they were true or not. They was harassed online. Many students go through this in today’s world, which is why it has resonated with so many–controversy aside.

Creators of the show have argued that they wanted to show the possible devastating effect we can have on someone. In one interview, a mother mentioned how they felt about the show, “Some of it, I’m worried, is glamorizing of suicide, but if Zoe [her daughter] is talking to me about it, it makes me feel better.”

It is almost impossible to keep teens from getting exposed to viral things online–which is why it’s important to have an open channel of communication, like the mother mentioned before. Discussing the show allows you to talk about not just some mixed messages it could be sending, but also about the effects of teen bullying and other mental health struggles.

If you believe your child is struggling with a mental health issue, it’s critical to reach out to a professional for guidance.

Solstice is here for your daughter

Solstice is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls and assigned female at birth often grapple with depression, issues with teen bullying, low self-esteem, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us.

Through a unique combination of therapeutic programs based upon both traditional and holistic mental health treatment, we treat our clients with age and gender specific techniques. We strive to empower teenage people with the ability to believe in themselves and provide the tools and motivation required to instill these beliefs for life.

For more information about how we help with teen bullying at Solstice, please contact us at (866) 278-3345.


Fewer than 25 Percent of Teen Bullying Victims Get Treatment

Fewer than 25 Percent of Teen Bullying Victims Get Treatment 2560 1707 The Solstice Team

According to a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, less than a quarter of victims of teen bullying get the necessary help they need. This is alarming because almost a third of all adolescents are bullied at some point. Teen bullying can lead to serious issues Being the victim of or partaking in…