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All Posts Tagged: Youth

BULLYING: Teen shares battle of exclusion at Flower Mound school

Mental bullying can be just as damaging, and even soul crushing, as physical bullying. See how one girl coped with mental manipulation at school and view Dr. Kay Trotter talking about it on the Dallas morning news program Daybreak – WFAA-TV, Channel 8.


When 13-year-old Sara McCann was in the fifth grade her mom knew something was wrong at school.

“It’s not a shove you in the locker kind of bully,” said mother Renee McCaan. “It’s a, ‘Hey, do this and if you’re not going to do this we’re going to just discard you.'”

“It’s usually like a big group of girls,” said Sara, fighting back tears. “And I feel left out sometimes, like at lunch, whenever there’s nowhere to sit and no one will go sit with me.”

For the last three years, Sara said a group of popular girls at school made it very clear she was not good enough to join them.

“Whenever they would leave me out, I would feel like a nobody,” she said. “I mean, they wouldn’t say that to me, but it was what was implied I guess.”

Sara’s mother said this type of insidious alliance amongst students perceived to be cool caused harmful effects on her daughter.

“It’s like me putting pressure on myself saying, ‘Why am I not good enough to sit with them?'” Sara said.

According to the teen, it was covert, damaging and soul crushing – a type of mind manipulation that may not be easily detected by teachers.

“In the classroom, for example, if we have a project or something and the teacher will tell us to get in groups and it will be like a group of four and I’ll usually be like the fifth one,” she said. “I don’t have any where to go.”

When asked if she wished the teacher would break the students into groups as opposed to having them do it themselves, Sara choked up.

“Yes,” she said. “So that I would have somewhere to go.”

As Sara talked, her mother also fought back tears.

“You feel that pain,” Renee said. “You do. You feel it for your own child. You kind of inject your own memories in there. You want to swoop in and save the day.”

Renee did not talk to the principal about Sara’s issues. Instead, she sought counseling for both her and her daughter.

“I could have taken her out of the school and created a very big disadvantage for her because I’m taking the opportunity away from her to learn how to navigate these pressures in life,” she said.

Through counseling, Sara learned how to set boundaries, how to navigate the pressures and she discovered a new passion in horseback riding that has given her a new-found confidence.

“It’s not those girls that I want to feel wanted by,” she said. “It’s the people that I love that I want to feel wanted by.”


View Dr. Kay Trotter talking about how to cope with mental bullying on the Dallas morning news program Daybreak – WFAA-Channel 8 Video on Bullying

WFAA-Channel 8 Video on Bullying

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group you can contact her at:, 214-499-0396, or visit her web site

Dr Trotter also post regularly in her FaceBook fan page

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Teen Suicide – There is Hope

The reasons behind a teen’s suicide or attempted suicide can be complex, and the rate of suicides and suicide attempts increases tremendously during adolescence. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), surpassed only by accidents and homicide. The suicide rate for girls between the ages of 10 and 14 skyrocketed 75.9% in 2004, That same year, the suicide rate for female’s ages 15-19 jumped 32.3%, and the rate for males ages 15-19 rose 9%.

While these facts are disturbing, there is hope.

By educating others, and ourselves we can make a difference in preventing youth suicide. Every citizen should understand that while youth suicide is a problem, there is something that can be done about it.

If you suspects that a friend or family member is considering suicide, here are three very important things to do if you notice the warning signs for suicide or the young person tells you directly that they are thinking about suicide.

  1. The first thing is to always show the person that you are concerned about them – listen without judgment, ask about their feelings and avoid trying to come up with a solution to their problem.
  2. Next ask directly about suicide – be direct without being confrontational; say “are you feeling so bad that you are thinking about suicide?”
  3. Finally, if the answer to your question is “yes” or you think it is yes, go get help – call a crisis line, visit the school counselor, tell a parent or refer the teen to someone with professional skills to provide help. Never keep talk of suicide a secret!


What every person can do to help prevent suicide

Show You Care!

Often, suicidal thinking comes from a wish to end deep psychological pain. Death seems like the only way out. But it isn’t. Let the person know you really care. Talk about your feelings and ask about his or hers. Listen carefully to what they have to say.

“I’m worried about you, about how you feel.”

”You mean a lot to me. I want to help.”

”I’m here, if you need someone to talk to.”

Ask The Question

Don’t hesitate to raise the subject. Talking with young people about suicide won’t put the idea in their heads. Chances are, if you’ve observed any of the warning signs, they’re already thinking about it. Be direct in a caring, non-confrontational way. Get the conversation started.

“Are you thinking about suicide?”

”Do you really want to die?”

“Do you want your problems to go away?”

Get Help

Never keep talk of suicide a secret, even if they ask you to. It’s better to risk a friendship than a life. Do not try to handle the situation on your own. You can be the most help by referring your friend to someone with professional skills to provide the help that he or she needs, while you continue to offer support.

“I know where we can get some help.”

”Let’s talk to someone who can help…let’s call the crisis line, now.”

“I can go with you to get some help.”

For more information on suicide go to:

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about her counseling practice, you can contact her at: Kay@KayTrotter.com214-499-0396, or visit her web site

Dr Trotter also post regularly in her FaceBook fan page

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Task of Childhood – Early Adolescent Development Ages 11-14

“Perhaps the most difficult phase of life is early adolescence. It is a phase when your child is not yet mature but he is no longer a kid”

Cognitive Stage
Adolescents vary between some children who are still focused on logic and others who are able to combine logical and abstract thinking. Some early adolescents cannot think ahead to the consequences of their actions. They are developing new thinking skills, such as thinking more about possibilities, thinking more abstractly, thinking more about the process of thinking itself, thinking in multiple dimensions, and seeing things as relative rather than absolute. They practice new thinking skills through humor and arguing with parents and others, and the
use of humor focused on satire, sarcasm, and sex.

Moral Development
Early adolescents have a continuing self-focus and often believe they are invulnerable to negative events.They also have an increasing ability to take the perspective of others into account with their own perspective. In addition, as they become concerned about gaining social approval, their morals begin to be based on respect for the social order and agreements between people or what is known as “law and order” morality. Youth also begin to question social conventions, re-examine their own values and moral/ethical principles, which sometimes results in conflicts with their parents.

An early adolescent’s self-image can be challenged by body changes during puberty as well as social comparisons. This is also when they begin to develop the long-term process of establishing their own identity separate from family. Many girls experience pressure to conform to gender stereotypes and might show less interest in math and science. With puberty, normal increases in girls’ body fat can negatively influence their body image and self-concept. Both boys and girls might be concerned with skin problems, height, weight, and overall appearance.

Relationship to Parents
Changes in parental expectations alter previous patterns of relationships, often resulting in greater conflict. Early adolescents also have a greater focus on peer friendships as they develop an identity outside of the role of a child in a family. They also often rebuff physical affection (but still need it). They have an increased interest in making their own decisions, which benefits from increased opportunities to do so. Youth object more often to parental limitations (but still needs some). Parental listening skills and nurturing continue to be important.

Emotional Traits
Youth age 11-14 have an intense self-focus, an increased desire for privacy, and a sensitivity about their body. They also have frequent mood swings with changes in activities and contexts. Too much time spent alone can contribute to moodiness and heighten forgetfulness.

Peer Relationships
Early adolescent friendships increasingly involve sharing of values. Cliques of three to six friends (usually the same gender) provide a greater sense of security. Romantic crushes are common and dating begins.

You can download the complete “Task of Childhood” brochure

4 Blog Series 

  1. Task of Childhood Development
  2. Tasks of Childhood – Late Childhood Development Ages 8-11
  3. Task of Childhood – Early Adolescent Development Ages 11-14
  4. Task of Childhood – Late Adolescent Development Ages 14-18 

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about her counseling practice, you can contact her at: Kay@KayTrotter.com214-499-0396, or visit her web site

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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