Get Real youth & teens

Youth & Teens


During adolescence, things get so hard that many teens give up. They have many internal and external resources, but they do not know how to use them. Their world quickly becomes a place of great confusion and stress. They face conflicting demands between their parents, teachers and friends. The messages they get through the media and from other sources, like internet forums and social sites, only confuse them more. If you ask teens, though they dedicate every bit of their energy to discovering their identity, they are not sure who they are.


The feeling of low self esteem, not fitting in, feeling left out or feeling lost can cause emotional or behavioral changes that may lead to problems at home. However, increased awareness of the most common signs and symptoms can help reduce the difficulties experienced by families who are affected by low self esteem.

  • Secrecy: Children who have low self esteem often become secretive at home. This can be particularly difficult for parents to experience, as they may imagine a range of frightening causes for changes in their child. The home environment can become tense, with some parents displaying frustration and suspicion in an authoritarian manner that may make the child even less likely to talk about being bullied.
  • Irritability: The feeling of low self esteem can occur at school or in the workplace, the unnaturally stressful environment that results can make the victim more argumentative at home. In addition, being regularly criticized and disparaged by themselves or even bullies. may lead to the victim overreacting to innocent comments made by family members at home.
  • Withdrawal: As a result of low self esteem, some victims may isolate themselves, diminishing the quality of family relationships. Other family members may feel less supported or connected in response to this reduced level of interaction. Over time, this can lead to a decrease in overall closeness in the family.
  • Lying: Self doubt causes many children to sometimes feel ashamed, worrying that they are not normal or that it is indicative of critical personal flaws. Whether for this reason, or because they fear that reporting the their feelings will make things worse, a child may start to lie to their parents about why they want to skip school or engage in other social activites. Feigned illnesses and other excuses can leave parents deeply worried about their child's physical and mental well-being.
  • Self-doubt: Your child may be bullied.  Sometimes, family members do not take a report of bullying seriously. It may be dismissed as a normal part of growing up, or a consequence of office politics. However, this failure to empathize with the victim's emotional anguish can make them doubt their own perception of reality. This problem is particularly common in children, who may believe their parents are all-powerful.
  • Lack of trust: If family members disbelieve reports of bullying, the victim may feel painfully alienated. The resulting lack of trust can create a serious rift in the family that may remain long after the bullying itself has been resolved. Although this type of issue can arise as a result of workplace bullying as well, it is more common in cases of school bullying.
  • Anxiety: When someone lives in fear of bullying,  trusting themselves or not liking themselves,  their pervasive feelings of tension can lead to social anxiety in settings they used to enjoy, including family outings.

Bullying/ Cyber Bullying

How does bullying affect people?

Does bullying really have such a bad effect on people?

 If you are being bullied you might:

  • Feel anxious, depressed, lonely or insecure and feel like crying a lot.
  • Be unable to concentrate in class.
  • Feel angry and wonder why this is happening to you.
  • Regularly end up in physical fights or arguments while trying to defend yourself.
  • Feel afraid to go to school and nervous if you’re on your own.
  • Think the problem is relentless and wonder if it will ever stop.
  • Feel lonely, isolated and avoid group situations.
  • Spend a lot of time trying to figure out what to do or where to go to avoid being harassed.
  • Think your parents would be worried or upset if you told them.
  • Notice that your health is suffering such as changes in your appetite, difficulty sleeping or tension headaches.
  • Feel afraid to check text messages or emails or look at social networking sites like Facebook in case there’s another cruel message about you.
  • Start to think that maybe the insults and taunts are true and wonder if it’s your own fault.
  • Have mood swings with a range of feelings from loneliness to anger.
  • Wish you could talk to someone but you are not sure what you want to say.
  • No longer enjoy the things you used to enjoy and drop out of activity groups or clubs.
  • Feel trapped, helpless, withdrawn and like no one understands.
  • Notice that these feelings are causing you to be unhappy at home and you are feeling moody or short tempered with your parents/carers, brothers or sisters.

‘Some kids who are bullied believe it’s their fault. They think there is something wrong with them and they are worth picking on.’ Evan, 16

‘... but, don’t believe what they are saying. Believe in yourself. No-one deserves to be treated like that. Bullying is bad... it makes you feel bad ­– but YOU are not bad – it’s the bullying that’s bad – not you!’ Paul, 15

If you are feeling any of these things remember you are not alone and it is not your fault. There IS help available. Bullying is a serious problem and all of the feelings that you have are to be expected. It’s time to TALK about the problem and GET HELP.

What if the bullying goes on a long time?

Long-term bullying can lead to depression and feelings that you are worthless. Some of these effects can last for a long time, even into adulthood. A person who is bullied may become an adult who finds it hard to trust others, has problems making or keeping friends and lacks in confidence or self-worth.

During times of depression, sadness, stress or emotional anxiety, some people may ‘self harm’ (e.g. self cutting, abusing alcohol) or they may feel suicidal. This is very serious. If this is happening for you, you need help as soon as possible.  

Coach Toni has a long history of working with youth and teens regarding bullying.  If your child is suffering from bullying or you suspect bullying,  please do not wait to reach out.  

A letter from a cool kid to Toni

Detail your services

Dear Mr. Filipone,

I follow your advice on youtube and facebook and you look like really cool and stuff. I know people always wanna talk to you but I wanted to ask you your opinion and things. If you can't respond its like totally ok. But if you can answer that would be amazing. I’m hoping you can help me. You seem to be really good with kids and stuff and alot ofother people at school told me that youre really cool and nice. And you're like basically an expert right? I read your stuff about bullying and so I wanted to ask you something.

I’m a freshman in highschool. Im not the popular kids thats fore sure. I really do want friends but I just dont seem to find anything in common with them. I spend my time after school and during saturday and sunday journalling or drawing and playing my drums. I love my drums. My parents are giving me alot of pressure because they say Im closed off and apeople will think Im weird and now they even want me to go to a doctor to be put on pills. I keep to myself so I didnt even say anything to them. I dont know why. Whats the point anyway. I thought highschool would be a new start for me but basically its the worst. Everyone at school just wont leave me alone. They tease me, throw things at me and make fun of me all the time. I sit alone at lunch, usually in the hallway by my locker and Im always alone in gym class. Im not trying to complain or be annoying but its really started to get to me. I try to stay positive but some days are harder than others. I really like learning and I have straight A's but now I hate going to school I dont even know what why everyone is so mean to me. Can you help me? My parents dont really understand. I knwo they love me but I just can't talk to them. They just tellme to talk to everyone.

(name removed by Get Real Life coaching for privacy)

Dear (name removed by Get Real coaching for privacy)
This reminds me of a letter from the Matt Walsh blog. Which leads me believe this happens more often than we would like to think. So to follow that lead....First off, please call me Toni. Second of all, I never consider myself an expert. I love what I do and I am honored that you reached out to me.
Soudns to me that you are doing great. I do not see one red flag at all in who you are as a person or anything you enjoy doing.
As a matter of fact, I think you are smart, honest which mean you are courageous, caring and compassionate. You play the drums???? Ummm hello! And you're a bad ass. LOVE IT! Oh, and not mention you have straight A's? Yea- not much wrong with this picture to me.
Be very cautious on whose opinion you listen too. If people are spending their time giving you a hard time, who really are the ones that have the problem? Bingo! Not you!

You have nothing that you need to change. I learned at a very young age that you can not control what you don't initiate, but you can control your reaction and feeling towards it. I am someone that will not sugar coat anything and the first to give my opinion even if it hurts.... So from your letter- you are WAAAAAAY farther in your mental growth than the people trying to bring you down. So in my "unprofessional" opinion, I do not see where medication is neccesary at all! Do you have an illness you forgot to tell me about? Are you suffering from ADD? ADHD? Anything? Doesn't sound like it to me... so what is the medication for? Exactly.
Lets see:
You have stright A's
You are an artist
You slay on the drums
You are literate and to the point.
(you did write "like" a few times but I can get over that - lol)

So the "problem" is you don’t relate to kids in your school that find enjoyment in making someone elses life horrible? Well if that's the case, give me what you're eating for breakfast because I would rather be on your team then theirs. I wish highschool actually had more students like you! Trust me- you and I would have been buds!

Want to know why kids tease you? Because they are intimidated by you. They don't understand you because they are not even close to your level. They are so worried about what other people think of them that they hide behind their truth and find enjoyment in hurting others (like you) to make themselves feel better. Such a juvenille way of thinking right? I feel bad for them- not you. You're solid. They don't like the fact that you don't compromise your truth to "be just like them". Gag right? So they have NO idea what to do with such a brilliant, talented and creative mind. It scares them- so in order to protect their feelings, they try to ruin yours.

You have goals, desires, passion, originality, and YOU PLAY THE DRUMS!!!!! I LOVE THE DRUMS!!!! Those things are going to take you SOOOOOO far in life! But the truth is, where you are in the phase of your life, its going to be challenging. You want to know how to deal with this- become your own friend and search for successful people that also at one time, felt like an outcast. There are many. Myself being one of them. I mean you could transform into their lifestyle and way of thinking- but come on now, you know you don't want to do that. Nor do I suggest you do.

You sound so intelligent, and so creative and so fun that you do not need to lower yourself to people that can't see past their own fears.

Bullies have been around for a LONG time. Sure, they have more access to long term damage because when you leave school, they still feel the need to attack on social media because their lives are so empty. These kids are desperate. Desperate for acceptance. Desperate for peace of mind. Desperate for validation and praise. It's gross.I see it every day doing what I do. But guess what...You don't have that weak need like they do.

Listen, I get how you feel beaten down by them. It's hard to tune that stuff out. But make a decision right now to not let is penetrate you. We make decisions the moment we open our eyes to the moment we shut them. Decide right now to stay you and honestly, have compassion for their weakness and lack of kindness. Such a shame for them that they actually think that's an ok way to be. In a blink of an eye, you are going to graduate from highschool and you never have to be in their presence again. AMEN! PREACH!

You know what you're going to do? You're going to have the ability to do whatever it is you want in life. You are going to have the academic knowledge and LIFE knowledge to completely create whatever life you want. You're going to make a difference in the world. I know it!

The bullies, well they will disappear into the world. But for now, those shallow, probably sad and depressed, boring bullies may linger. Wait until your highschool reunion when you walk in there with your bad ass self and realize they never did nor ever will have any power over you! You actually wont even care because you will have way too many super important and really cool things you need to keep doing for the world. You probably won't even care to ask them what they've been up too. I don't. You'll have things to do girl!
The grown up world is not easy. So let nature take it's course and handle them. They will figure it out and sadly, they will statistically learn "the hard way". Life has a very funny way of taking care of us... long term.

For now, I think it's important that you do try to find a group of people you can chill with. Maybe not even through school... Maybe a music or art club? Reading group? But there are people out there that totally have the same interests as you. And trust me, in the end, you'll find yourself with 2 or 3 really great friends and a few acquaintaces. So don't put a ton of stress on it, but try and see what's out there.

Also, maybe chat with your parents and let them know you are solid! You like yourself so the people that don't dig you... well that's their problem not yours. I remember when I told my mom I was gay, she said the same thing to me. She said, "if people have a problem with you being gay that's their problem, not yours'. I'll never forget that. So I pass that on to you.

Now, I do want you to make sure that if you feel unsafe, threatened or if anyone touches you, to report it immediately to the school admins. You can report it now if you would like as well. No shame in that game. I would also encourage you to tell your parents whats up too. That may give them a differnt perspective on what you're dealing with. I do not think pills are the answer, but in any case, its super important to keep your parents in the loop.

I've come to realize bullying has become subjective and even dismissed, and you can't always stop it by reporting it. So what should you do? Be happy. Be confident and know you're life is going to be incredible! Theirs? Well.. who knows. But yours? For sure! Remember, you can't control what you don't initiate but you can control how you react and feel towards it. And you can also control how much you invest in their thoughtless opinions. Nobody cares... what they say to you in pointless.

I think you are so amazing... and you play the drums! Ive always wanted to play the drums. I play guitar which I love... but the drums. SOOO COOL

Reach out anytime. I'm always down to chat with kick ass people like yourself.