Leading Wilderness Program for Girls Offers Tips to Recognize Signs of Bullying Abuse in Young Girls

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Trails Carolina wilderness program for girls ages 10 – 14 offers expertise on how young girls bully.

wilderness program for girls

Carla Shorts, Lead Therapist for Young Girls

'Girls tend to make bullying more exclusionary and emotional whereas boys tend to be more physical,' stated Trails lead therapist Carla Shorts, MS, LPC, NCC.

Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness program for girls, has developed a therapeutic approach which includes helping young girls overcome bullying issues. The goal of Trails’ approach is to help adolescents recognize when they are actively or passively bullying as well as helping the young girls overcome when they are the victim of bullying.

“In light of the recent tragic events regarding Rebecca in Florida, we thought our experience with this age group would be beneficial to families,” commented Carla Shorts, MS, LPC, NCC and lead therapist with the young girls at Trails, “What we have found is so many of our students do not recognize their participation in bullying and parents do not often react as quickly with young girls.”

Nearly one in three students are bullies or victims of bullying, with instances of bullying peaking during the middle school years. Some reports show that this 10 - 14 age range is much more likely to contemplate suicide as a result of bullying.

“Young girls tend to bully in different ways than boys or older girls,” stated Ms. Shorts at the wilderness program for girls, “Girls tend to make bullying more exclusionary and emotional whereas boys tend to be more physical.” Ms. Shorts also notes that young girls often times do not have the capacity or skills to manage their environment or advocate for themselves as older, more resilient teens might.

The emotional aspect of girls bullying can make it less obvious than that the physical bullying by boys. Experience and research show that parents often view the social stratification and emotional taunting in girl bullying to be a natural part of growing up and do not as easily recognize the trauma being done to the victim or react as quickly as in the case of physical bullying.

The negative effects of bullying have a much longer reach than originally once suspected. Research shows that the psychological damage does not go away once the bullying stops.

Ms. Shorts continued, “In our wilderness program for girls and boys we have many students who have suffered at the hands of bullies and with today’s technology bullying can occur 24/7. It can be very damaging and lasting.”

While parents can recognize signs of bullying in order to stop it, studies also show that peers interfering with bullies can have positive impact as well. Trails Carolina offers the following Tips of Bullying Abuse in Young Girls:

  • Change in sleeping patterns – difficulty sleeping or more frequent nightmares
  • Loss of interest – sudden change of interest in friends, school work, or activities
  • Nausea or illness – increased complaints of feeling ill, headaches or stomach aches
  • Decreased self-esteem – more pronounced sadness or loss of confidence
  • Social isolation – change or loss of friendships or sudden disinterest in peer groups
  • Destructive behaviors – skipping school, running away, instances of self-harm

As the Florida girl’s recent suicide demonstrates, bullying can do irrevocable emotional and physical harm. While bullying cannot be avoided, Trails offers these tips on signs of bullying in hopes that more parents and peers recognize and react to the signs before tragedy occurs.

Below are resources recommended by Trails Carolina for additional information about bullying:


Trails Carolina (http://www.TrailsCarolina.com) uses decades of experience to provide males and females a clinically driven, family focused therapeutic wilderness program. Trails helps teens address their problematic behaviors and as a result creates lasting change for families. Trails staff integrates research, experience, and a values-based team approach in wilderness and residential settings to help teens develop lasting coping skills. Programs are for boys and girls ages 10 – 13 and 14 – 17. For more information about Trails Carolina, please visit our website at http://www.trailscarolina.com or call us toll free at (800) 975-7303.

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Andrew Moskovitz
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