Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What Can Demi Lovato Teach Us?


May was designated national Mental Health Awareness Month (#MHM2015).  And while never enough attention can be paid to this extremely important topic – and we should all support increased dialogue to decrease the stigma – there was one announcement that really garnered media attention.

Singer/actress Demi Lovato, who rose to fame as a wholesome Disney Channel star and even once appeared on the cuddly classic Barney & Friends, became a mental health advocate when she announced her joint campaign with five mental-health organizations called Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health.  Lovato is encouraging people with mental illness to speak openly about it with their doctors, therapists, counselors, family and friends.

So why should we care what this pop princess has to say?

Well, for one, Lovato is herself in recovery, having struggled with bipolar disorder and self-medicating through the use of substances.  She sought help five years ago at the age of 17.  She’s lived with mental health issues, fought to overcome and manage them, and is now on a mission to educate others.

“I realized that bipolar disorder may be a part of my life, but it isn’t who I am,” she has said.

Erasing the stigma that surrounds mental health is no easy task.  It takes immense courage to stand up and admit any weakness in a world that is so quick to want to tear someone down.  But Lovato is determined to use her star power to try.  Young girls can now see this beautiful, successful starlet as a beacon of hope, comforted by the notion that their mental health struggles don’t have to define them.  They can acknowledge their pain, seek treatment, and know they are not alone.

And this is critical because although one in five children has a diagnosable mental health problem, nearly two-thirds of them get little or no help.  Our kids are struggling with ADD, ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, codependence, depression, mood disorders, self-injury, and more, but may not know where to turn or even how to express what they are feeling.

So what can Demi Lovato teach us?  For starters: how to identify and access mental health resources, how to get involved and become an advocate, how young ladies can be successful even while living with a mental health disorder, and most importantly, to speak up and get help.

To learn the signs of mental health disorders and what you can do, visit the Mental Health America website. If you would like to speak to a professional with a leading treatment center for adolescent girls struggling with mental and behavioral health issues, contact Sedona Sky Academy.
 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Teen Girls & Body Image: What You Should Know


When an American girls’ childhood is full of Barbie dolls, Disney Princesses, and, well, American Girl dolls, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their perception of beauty and body image might be somewhat skewed.  From a very young age, girls are inundated with what society has deemed beautiful, whether that be a 60-year-old toy or the latest reality star/family parading across our television sets.  Of course, our girls also get to deal with rampant sexual objectification in all forms of traditional and digital media nowadays.

By the time they are a teen, the average girl gets over three hours of media exposure daily and only about 10 minutes of parental interaction (Web MD).  In a review of research on the links between body image and media, the nonprofit Common Sense organization reported that in one survey by the Today Show and AOL.com, 80% of teen girls compare themselves to images they see of celebrities, and, within that group, almost half say the images make them feel dissatisfied with the way they look.

In an ideal world, parents have laid the groundwork of body satisfaction in earlier years.  Moms don’t complain about being fat, dads don’t poke fun of others who are obese, daughters are taught to be healthy for the sake of being healthy and active, not as a means to fit into a certain dress size, etc.

Of course, this isn’t always the case and all hope is not lost if you find your daughter struggling with her body image. 

First, take a good hard look at the behavior you as a parent are modeling and make changes if necessary.  Help your daughter discover positive role models who use their bodies to achieve something other than just to look good, like athletes or dancers.  Reinforce with your daughter that everyone is different, bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s okay for people to be who they really are.

Positive body image is linked to key aspects of emotional and social well-being and the healthy development of adolescents.  Conversely, body dissatisfaction is tied to critical mental health problems such as eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression.

Fortunately, body image isn’t shaped by media alone.  Parents can make a difference, as can positive peer groups and skilled professionals like those at Sedona Sky Academy.

Click here to contact us for more information.


Sedona Sky Academy is a fully licensed and accredited residential treatment center serving adolescent girls ages 13-18 who may be experiencing family or peer conflict, academic failure, self-esteem issues, drug or alcohol use, and more.  With 30 acres set in idyllic year-round weather, program highlights include a world-class horsemanship program, competitive athletics, rigorous college-prep academics and SAT and ACT scores above the national average, and outstanding family workshops and peer mentorship programs. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Cyberbullying: What Your Teen May Not be Telling You


 
Movies, television, and mainstream news are overflowing with cyberbullying plot lines and real life stories.  From current box office fare to true stories around the country, we hear so much about various forms of bullying – cyber and otherwise – that we might be getting somewhat desensitized to its implications and real consequences for our teens.

According to cyberbullying statistics from the i-SAFE foundation, over half of adolescents have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyberbullying. More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats, and over 25% have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the internet.  Unfortunately, well over half of these young people do not tell their parents when cyberbullying occurs.

The issue is real and has very real effects.  From low self-worth to suicidal ideation, cyberbullies are a menace to our teens’ healthy maturation and maybe even their life.  And you may not even be aware.

So what can you do? 

Talk to your daughter about cyberbullying and what is and is not appropriate online behavior.  The fact that over half of young people aren’t talking to their parents about being cyberbullied is perhaps one of the biggest areas in which we can have a positive effect.  Open up a dialogue right now, today.  Monitor your daughter’s online activity to ensure she isn’t bullying others or being bullied.  Know your daughter’s friends and their parents; often times, there are warning signs of friend jealousy that could escalate, or friends’ parents may be aware of things you may miss.  If you suspect your daughter may be a victim of cyberbullying, do something.  Ignoring it will not make it go away, so talk to the school and/or a trusted expert to get advice for next steps.

If cyberbullying has gotten out of control and your daughter could benefit from a positive peer environment that helps rebuild her self-esteem and restore her happiness, contact Sedona Sky Academy today.

 

Sedona Sky Academy is a fully licensed and accredited residential treatment center serving adolescent girls ages 13-18 who may be experiencing family or peer conflict, academic failure, self-esteem issues, drug or alcohol use, and more.  With 30 acres set in idyllic year-round weather, program highlights include a world-class horsemanship program, competitive athletics, rigorous college-prep academics and SAT and ACT scores above the national average, and outstanding family workshops and peer mentorship programs. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My Daughter Would Never Post THAT!




We all want to believe that our children are too smart to do anything all that bad, and are too modest to ever even think about posting scantily clad photos or offensive language online.
But we’re wrong.
Today’s teen world is vastly different than the days when we grew up.  You’ve probably heard this before, but it has never been more true.  Imagine if your teen years had been recorded for all to see.  Immediately dispersed.  Available forever.  Fortunately for us, social media wasn’t around back then.  Unfortunately, this is the world in which our kids live, one with no walls, no filters, no restraint, no rules.
And today’s young people will live with whatever they post or share for the rest of their lives.  That is the sad reality of the social media sphere.  It’s not just done and gone, but exists forever.  People have lost jobs, relationships, friends, scholarships and college acceptance over things they posted online. 
A very recent study by the Pew Research Center found that 92% of teens report going online daily, including 24% who say they go online “almost constantly.”  About 71% of teens use more than one social network site, and teenage girls use social media sites and platforms — particularly visually-oriented ones like Snapchat and Instagram — for sharing more than their male counterparts do.
Help your daughter by teaching her appropriate etiquette for social media.  Discuss with her the reality that everything she posts can be shared with the entire world, even those momentary lapses in judgment.  And if you suspect your daughter may be getting in over her head with social media, contact the professionals at Sedona Sky Academy for help.
 

Sedona Sky Academy is a fully licensed and accredited residential treatment center serving adolescent girls ages 13-18 who may be experiencing family or peer conflict, academic failure, self-esteem issues, drug or alcohol use, and more.  With 30 acres set in idyllic year-round weather, program highlights include a world-class horsemanship program, competitive athletics, rigorous college-prep academics and SAT and ACT scores above the national average, and outstanding family workshops and peer mentorship programs. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

7 Warning Signs Your Teen Girl Is Getting Into Trouble


Worrying about the safety and well-being of their child is the one thing that every concerned parent has in common. When a young girl matures and advances into her teen years, it’s very normal for her to make some new friends, feel pressure from this group of friends, and then gain a new sense of independence from this new “family” of hers. It is at this point that their lack of life-experience and good judgment can get them into serious trouble. 

This is where the good parent comes in to save the day – Right? Well, unfortunately, seeing the warning signs often takes more than a day. However, I have compiled a comprehensive go-to list of the 7 warning signs that are pretty much teen girl standard protocol. And with this list, you may be able to save the day before it gets too bumpy. At the very least, it may help you to take action before she starts abusing drugs and/or alcohol, or worse finds herself in jail. In no particular order of importance, they are as follows:

1) She Has A Sudden Change In Peers
Your daughter has had the same set of friends since 4th grade. They played soccer together and danced together. Suddenly she discards them and starts hanging out with friends that you've never met. If she avoids bringing her new group of friends over to meet and hang out with the family, this is a red flag! As a parent you have got to know who she is with. You have to know who her friends are and what influence they have in your child’s life.


2) She Has Declining Grades
This is a huge red flag. Truancy is the No. 1 predictor that a boy will have a criminal record, and the No. 2 predictor for girls, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. I’m not talking about an English whiz that may be struggling with Algebra. I’m referring to the student that has been consistently good, and has a sudden drop off in attendance and grades. You have to find out why. It may be bullying, it may be a new school, it may be depression, but there’s a reason and it’s important to dig until you find out why.

3) Isolates Herself From The Family
Unless your daughter is normally withdrawn, this is definitely a red flag. This is especially true if she’s locking herself in her room, and preferring to be away from family at any cost. She is doing this for a reason and it’s important to find out why? It’s your job as a parent to identify what’s behind the change.


4) She Lies And Openly Displays Rebellion
Your daughter may be refusing to play by the rules. Clear defined house rules such as curfews, assigned chores, etc., may be getting ignored. Troubled teens will often lie about their whereabouts and who they've been with. This is obviously a red flag. Is she acting out by yelling, throwing tantrums, or conversely, giving you the silent treatment? She may exhibit hostility toward other family members; Or may be very withdrawn and barely communicative. These are issues that will need to be addressed.

5) She Has A Diminished Interest In Hobbies
The activities that she once loved have been dumped. Perhaps she danced or played soccer since a very young age and is now embarrassed by it. It can be frustrating for a parent to watch their child discard their favorite activities usually because of peer pressure. Sometimes kids outgrow their childhood games, and sometimes they get burned-out. Yet it’s important to observe the difference between hanging it up, and simply quitting.


6) She Has A Lack Of Appreciation For Family Values
This may look like a sudden disinterest in going to church when she used to enjoy going. Perhaps she fails to comply with the household rules and limits like viewing inappropriate TV shows or movies (especially in the presence of younger siblings). She may find humor in the distress of other family members. She may feel that she is the center of your family and shows blatant disregard for the feelings of other family members, their time, or their possessions. These are all signs to be concerned about.

7) She Is Experiencing Signs Of Depression
You have to look at all of the pieces, not just this one in isolation. For example, a child who’s sleeping a lot may need more rest because they are going through adolescence. But if she is sleeping more than usual or is frequently crying, then it may be something more. Moodiness by itself may not be a red flag, but severe mood swings that seem out of character is something you must pay attention to.


Do not be in denial about what’s going on. If you think that these things only happen to other people’s kids, you’re only fooling yourself. Know what’s going on with your child. Especially if there’s a history of alcoholism or drug abuse in the family. You have to follow your gut and not abandon any of these issues.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Success Story

6 years ago Heather was strung out on prescription drugs and she was miserable.. So she got sober! Today, at 30 years old, Heather finally graduated.. With honors!