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‘My Child Is Cutting’: Understanding Self-Harm

 

Cutting is the physical expression of hidden mental pain. Children may begin cutting or engaging in other forms of self-harm when their mental pain reaches a level that they can no longer deal with. While some children may find positive ways of coping with such pain, others seek negative coping methods including self-harm or drug use. Mental pain can be the result of built-up stress, past traumatic events, hurt feelings, rejection by peers, abandonment by significant others, or other life stressors.

Is My Child Just Trying to Get Attention?

If your child cuts in places that you can see and does not try to hide their wounds, then it is likely that, consciously or subconsciously, they are trying to let you know they are in pain. If they cut, or threaten to cut, in front of you, then they are likely crying for help. If your child has been hiding their cuts for a long period of time and has not told anyone about it, then they are likely trying to deal with their pain privately and are not seeking attention.

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Why Do Children Cut?

This behavior, while it may appear to have no benefit, may actually provide several means to cope. I know what you are thinking: cutting hurts, right? Not for the cutter; for them, it actually releases pain. It allows the person who cuts to express how they are feeling on the inside by letting it outside. The chemical reactions that go on when people cut themselves make the behavior addictive. Once the person who cuts is used to dealing with pain in this way, it is hard for them to choose alternative coping methods. When a child who cuts becomes upset, they may go to the behavior as automatically as a person with alcoholism would turn to drinking to deal with a stressful day.

What Not to Do

It is important not to label self-harming behavior as “bad” or tell your child that they are doing something “wrong.” This kind of reaction will only make the child feel ashamed and desire to cut more to get rid of those negative feelings. Telling your child, “Just stop it,” is just as ineffective. Tell your child that you understand they are going through some difficult things, and that you want to find a way to help them.

Getting Help

Often when we ask teens, “What’s wrong?” they will invariably respond, “Nothing.” Many teens have a hard time opening up, especially to their parents. This is partially because it’s just not “cool,” or because they have a hard time bringing up certain topics our of fear that they will be misunderstood or get in trouble. It is important that they have someone who they are comfortable talking to, whether it is a family member, a friend, or a therapist. When looking for a therapist, it is important to find one whom your child will feel comfortable with so that your child can learn to release their pain in a healthy way.

Resources for Parents and Children

  1. GoodTherapy.org’s What To Do If You Are In Crisis
  2. Hollander, Micheal. (2008). Helping teens who cut: Understanding and ending self-injury. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
  3. S.A.F.E. Alternatives/Self-Abuse Finally Ends (www.selfinjury.com or 1-800-DONT-CUT)

© Copyright 2010 by Becky Grenfell, M.S. MHCI, therapist in Tampa, FL. All Rights Reserved.

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Comments
  • Samantha September 9th, 2010 at 12:35 PM #1

    I know parents who are actually embarassed when they find out their kids are doing this because they see cutting as a negative reflection of what they are doing as parents and somehow feel that they have let their kids down. I think that these are children who simply need more, and it is not that the parents are not doing everything that they can for them, but some kids just instinctively need something a little more and that is hard for some parents to realize. But with the right love and care these children can overcome that urge to harm themselves but it is going to take a lot of hard work and working together as a family to get to that point.

  • mandy September 9th, 2010 at 3:15 PM #2

    I can tell by my experience that getting mad at kids is of no use,whatever age they are of.If you tell them not to do a particular thing they will make sure they do it.So just take them into confidence,be a friend and see how best you can guide and protect them.Works for me with my kids :)

  • Suzanne September 10th, 2010 at 2:58 AM #3

    I’m expecting my first child in January next year and this article has me a bit scared. What if my child exhibits such behavior later on?
    Is there something that we,as parents, can do to actually prevent such a thing from actually coming up in the first place? (I mean preventing, not remedy)

  • viki September 10th, 2010 at 11:15 AM #4

    Suzanne, I think making sure a child is not left alone and always having good company of parents would be a good start. Treat your child well and tell them about the good and bad things, about what to do when faced with a problem and reassure your child that you will stand by him and correct him if he does a mistake and not be mad at him.

  • Laran September 11th, 2010 at 5:47 AM #5

    Unfortunately I think that the biggest mistake that some parents and kids make when there is a cutting incident is that they completely ignore the issue and think that it will go away.No it will not just go away, this is serious stuff. This is a child crying out for help and too often these cries are ignored simply because people do not know how to seek help for this type of behavior. And there are even some who think that this type of behavior is harmless. Listen if someone is cutting themselves and injuring themselves for attention this is not a harmless action. This is something that needs to be addressed. What happens when this extends beyond just cutting and really takes on the face of them wanting to hurt themselves for good?

  • random person December 30th, 2010 at 8:39 PM #6

    look im 13 n my freind does this and the best thing to do if your a parent is let them do what there doing actually i used to do this and i quit because i realized i had to much to live for and many people will realize this and there are many times to day i want to turn to the blade but i dont because it is addictive n just before u say oh im just emo which i am that has nothing to do with it so just show the child that your ok with them doing but dont tell them i want to help u it makes them feel stupid

  • Mother of a daugter who is cutting May 1st, 2012 at 5:00 PM #7

    Thanks for sharing. I think it’s great you were able to quit, that you have self awareness, self control and positive things in your life.

  • Anna May 7th, 2012 at 4:30 PM #8

    My 14 yr old daughter cuts herself, she knows I’m here for her if she wants to talk but I just feel useless. I’m so scared for her and even though she started seeing dr bout it I feel she is getting worse. She told me she had stopped but have recently found she hadn’t stopped at all just did it else where. I never know if I should talk about it with her as when I start to mention it she gets upset with me and it makes things worse. I hear her crying in her room and even though I hug her and tell her it will b ok I know it doesn’t make it better. I don’t know how to handle this situation, I feel so useless and scared.

  • Ashleigh May 9th, 2012 at 7:01 AM #9

    This article is all wrong. All of it. I have been through and fully recovered from self- injury. Do NOT try to figure out whether or not your child is self- harming for attention; it doesn’t matter why they are doing it, what matters is getting them help. Keep in mind getting them help will be of no aide until they are ready to begin healing. The behavior can stem from anywhere; it doesn’t have to be a suppressed memory or a cry for help. And it isn’t always a child’s first coping idea. Often times, it is a last resort. And another thing, cutting ALWAYS hurts. Always. They cut because they don’t care that it hurts; some feel they deserve to be punished, they don’t know what else to do with themselves, they feel alone, guilty, or simply useless. You need to take it on a case by case basis. It is also pretty rare that a teen won’t talk to a parent about their problems because they think it is “uncool.” Sometimes, a teen will be open with anyone who asks, especially if they feel alone. The key is not to push the issue, let them know you’re there for them and you want to help them when they are ready to be helped. Check up on them, give them outlets; take them to a gym, boxing, swimming, running, art, music lessons; anything. It is specific to your child’s interests.

  • Yolie May 9th, 2012 at 7:20 AM #10

    I recently found out my 15 year old daughter is cutting herself and I am devastated. She’s an angry and moody all of the time. She has no interest in shool and her grades have dropped. I try talking to her, but it only gets her moe angry. She went to a therapist and refused to talk, so now I am seeking the help of a psychiatrist for her. It is very painful to watch your child hurt herself.

  • Anna May 9th, 2012 at 2:25 PM #11

    Sorry to hear about ur daughter I agree it is so hard to see. What I find hard Is knowing that she is doing it and I have to sit in a different room knowing what she is doing. I want to scream and shout but I know I can’t as it will only make it so much worse so my heart breaks knowing I can’t stop her.

  • June May 25th, 2012 at 7:34 PM #12

    I am 14, and I do cut myself. Unlike Ashleigh, for me cutting is a way to let my pain escape. I used to cut on my wrist and just hide it, but then my sister noticed and I realized it wasn’t good enough. Now I use the top of my thighs. My point is, just because you can see where someone cuts, it doesn’t mean anything. When cutting, you don’t always think rationally. Some times I’m having what some might call an ‘emotional breakdown’ when I cut, and cut deeper and longer than I usually do. I’m not proud of cutting. I’m not attention seeking. I don’t believe I’m ‘emo’. I’m just a girl, that has big problems, extra problems in her life and cannot talk to my parent. Cannot talk to a school psychologist. Cannot talk to a counselor. Cannot talk to friends. Cannot talk to anyone. My only help is my razor. And help me it does.

  • Misty June 9th, 2012 at 7:42 AM #13

    I feel the same as all the parents on here & my teen now talks to me but hid it for a long time. I have gotten her help but I still feel like I’m not doin enough. She tried commiting suicide in March, most terrifying day of my life. She says its not me or dad who did anything, its her way of dealing with her issues. But I still feel guilty? I walk on egg shells with her every day, not knowing what to say or if I should get at her about normal chores? I love my daughter & will do whatever I need to help.

  • Madi June 11th, 2012 at 7:24 PM #14

    I’m 12 years old . I’ve cut . I’ve been punished for it. Facebook is gone . Phone is gone . Blade is gone . Life is gone . I’ve been asked by family members, didn’t it hurt? What were you thinking?! What made you want to to this to your self? Those scars aren’t going to go away, are they? … And I don’t know but I can tell you that I regret it but I’ve changed . Completely changed . I’m not the same person any more . People know . People talk . People hurt . Hurt me. I have a bff . She dosn’t know about my cutting past. I wish she did but she dosn’t . I only have one friend who understands me . It hurts to be known as that emo chick . So my point is just be gental with her don’t presure her to the point she’ll wanna cut more don’t punish her . I got punished and did it some more . So be her friend . Understand her but don’t crush her . (:

  • Anna June 13th, 2012 at 10:12 AM #15

    My daughter took an OD last week and I feel so useless even though I’ve been told by specialist I’m doing all the right things. I want my happy girl back butI’m scared shes gone for good.
    It’s been helpful to read that others are going through the same and feel like me as times I feel I’m on my own with it all. I hope one day all this will be over and I wish all those on here the best with their situations. Sometimes knowing ur not on ur own makes things a little easier.

  • Carrie July 17th, 2012 at 5:13 PM #16

    I am 15, almost sixteen. I’ve been cutting for four years… As stated, it’s not the first resort thing. People start this for many reasons. Outside stress, stress inside the house…. Lots of things. You can’t pinpoint exactly the reason for every single time that one might cut. I mean, when I was 12 and I started, I had a tack. I don’t remember exactly why it was but I used that tack on my wrist. My dad found out about that and just lightly slapped my wrist and said nothing. He thought that would be the end of it. It wasn’t, and I found a knife that I started using on my upper arm. I never told my family, and to be honest, I only ever told one person. This was in the beginning of Freshman year, and she was a senior that told me about how she did it once and showed me the scars. I felt I could trust her and I told her about it, and she helped me find better ways of coping. Writing, artistic things, dancing… Whatever. I’m still not completely healed. I’m no different then any other teenager, though. The only difference is that I cut myself. Yea, I do get offended when my friends are talking about kids who are “emo” because they don’t know that the one they go to with their problems happens to be exactly what they make fun of all the time. The thing is that cutting absolutely does hurt. That’s the point. You focus on the pain of the cut for a few minutes instead of the mental pain that caused you to get into it. You don’t even think coherently when you do it. However, with that one friend, I am healing and have not cut in two or three months now. Can’t guarantee that it will continue right… Who knows when the next fight will happen? But if I could give advice to parents who do know their children are doing this, I would say just be there for them. Talk to them if they want to talk. Avoid a stressful household, but don’t push it if the kid doesn’t want to talk. As also stated, that just makes them feel stupid about themselves.

  • Jeanne August 27th, 2012 at 11:15 AM #17

    What – this article is titled, “What do I do if my Child is Cutting Themselves?” Where is the answer to that question?? It says what NOT to do but doesn’t give any advice of what to DO! Do I ask to see her undressed every now and then? Do I remove anything sharp in the house? Medicaid isn’t paying for enough counseling and it doesn’t seem to work. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO? Thanks for the other’s advice to not punish her and listen to her but how do I stop it before it becomes an addiction? Is there logic or reason involved? Is there another coping method that can substitute for what she is doing? What? What? What?

  • devastated to know she hurts so badly September 8th, 2012 at 6:35 AM #18

    So far, it seems that isolation makes things much worse. So I think getting her involved in a physical activity everyday for even just 1/2 hour would help. Time to be with others in a positive environment instead of all this texting and fb with kids that bring her down. Also, self esteem is critical. The only way to self esteem to do be successful at doing something. Give praise for specific things. Set up chores that help her participate with the family but don’t take all night. My daughters have just recently wanted to hide in their bedrooms all day on the computer. I should probably move the computers and limit time on fb and texting. They need balance in their life. They are going to whine about going and doing something with me, but I know it will benefit them in the long run. Most of us have been through serious depression. As an adult, I went through some devastating losses all at the same time, and it was either kill myself of cut myself. Since I had to stay alive to take care of my children, I cut myself. But I was old enough to figure out coping strategies and get myself through each day. I only cut once, out of total desperation, and they didn’t know it. So be proactive. She is lost. Stay involved even when it seems you are not making a difference. You are. Help lead her out of the dark. You never know what day she will need you the most.

  • Julie September 9th, 2012 at 4:40 PM #19

    I’m 15 and I cut. The article is mostly wrong. Minors cut for different reasons. Some being insecurity, they feel worthless, they feel ignored, guilty, struggling with a secret, family issues, friend issues, angry at the world, stressed, ect. DO NOT TELL YOUR CHILD TO STOP OR THAT WHAT THEY ARE DOING IS WRONG! It makes us feel bad and want to cut more. Dont make force your child to show you “wounds” (we would do anything not to. Instead slowly let them allow you to see them. If you are shocked when you see them hold it in-please. Act calm and it will make your child calmer. Dont threaten us with things like “I’ll take away your “tools” or “you’re door is not allowed to close” or “I’m taking you to a mental hospital. First, if you take away our “tools” we can always find more. Depending on the seriousness of the cuts if you take away ALL self harming “tools” that ould inflIct serious damage you take away our reason for living. Second, we don’t always cut at home. Third, YOU’RE MAKING US FEEL BAD!!!!! It scares us. If you see scars and they are not attempted to be covered it does not mean we cut for attention. Cutting is cutting. Some minors just want to notice. Yes cutting hurts but it feels good to us. It makes some feel as if they are still alive and are nOt empty inside. Some teens just like being alone for long periods of time. We have trouble talking to ANYONE about it. Especially our elders. I’m not trying to make any Parents feel bad but parents have a tendancy to not try to understand what kids are doing and/or going through. At least try to understand. I’ll put it simply.

    You’re child is going through something hard in life and cutting is their escape from it. We do not aim to hurt you or others. It is simply to help us cope. Sometimes our life is perfect and we still do it. It is 9 out of 10 times NOT your fault.

    Most cutters hide behind smiles and may have depression. WE DO NOT AIM TO HURT ANYONE BUT OURSELVES. 9 out of 10 cutters are not sucicial. You can’t prevent it. Making sure someone is always watching or physically with your child is definitely NOT A GOOD IDEA! It makes us feel like prisoners in our own home, and like you don’t trust us.
    If you are suspicious that your child cuts don’t flat out ask us. 99% of the time WE.WILL.LIE. Just look for obvious signs such as always wearing long sleeve or pants, wincing if you touch them on certain Parts of the body(we cut anywhere not just on arms), getting constantly angry or sad, always seem to have an itch, they smile less, and stop telling secrets.
    Always covering a certain area might be hiding scars
    Constantly angry or sad: can’t release motions in front of you
    Always having an itch:might bring itching scabs
    Smile less: might never be able to forget
    Wince: might of touched a recent cut
    Stop telling secrets: might be afraid their biggest secret will slip out

    They will eventually be thankful if you help your child through self harm.
    (again this is from a minors perspective, and in my opinion is better because we know what works and what dosent)

  • Kathy September 29th, 2012 at 6:33 AM #20

    I wanted to give hope to parents and children who cut. Finding a therapist your child feels comfortable with is important, also acting classes seem to be helpful too because the child goes through the process of verbalizing feelings. Helping your child find peers who use healthier ways of coping is also helpful. Connect with your child, spend time together, and pray. They will get better. Sometimes they have difficulty with problem solving and coming up with alternatives to deal with emotions. Help your child in this area.

  • STAR October 29th, 2012 at 6:37 AM #21

    MY 17 YR OLD HAS BEEN CUTTING FOR 2 YRS… HOW DO I GET HER TO STOP…IT HURTS ME KNOWING THERE IS NOTHING I CAN SAY OR DO WITHOUT MAKING IT WORSE.PLEASE HELP ME!

  • Surprised Mom October 30th, 2012 at 10:22 AM #22

    I just found out m daughter does this. Im sobbing as I write this and am writing in hope that it will help us. Thank you to all the kids for sharing your thoughts it has helped. My daughter is so amazing that this has truly cought me by surprise. Shes out going, shes smart I just would have never expected this. We talk all the time. We even talk through the issues she has with friends and school. There are time when i take her to shopping therpy : ) I have always been sure to do thing with my children sepratly to make sure they have thier own individual time. My husband and I are still together and we dont fight in the home. She has never been a straight A student but have had issues with bring home F’s. In the begining of high school we did sit down together and discuss rules and what would happen if the f’s did come. She had input in this conversation. I just found this out Thursday and I told her thank you for telling me that I love her no less and I am proud of her for telling me and am here for her that her telling me is the first step in moving forward. She responded with mommy its not your fault. I sobb because I do not want this much hurt for her. She is just a freshman and has so much more to go. Buys are not even in the picture and I fear that life is going to get emotionally harder. I did take her tools and I did take her door. She seemed to understand that she is endagering herself and my job as a parent is to protect her. I did let her know that I know if she really wants to cut herself she will find away but I will try to make it a bit harder. I found out Thursday I had her in school counseling with her permission on Friday. She liked the counsler and shared a bit with me. I love my daughter so much and it breaks my heart to know that she is in this much pain. Is there a book I can read and have her read to help us through this. I know one girl that shared said dont take away stuff but as a parent we need to besure you are safe. My daughter is an amazing beautiful spirit and I do not want her to see herself any other way. She is in activities she is an artist she has these outlet you all are talking about. I would have had not idea if she did not tell me….

  • nicole November 2nd, 2012 at 8:21 PM #23

    Thank u so much I’m 34 with 12 year old and she came to me about it and showed me it hurt me to my heart and of course we both cried and I told her whenever she needs to talk or vent I’m just here to listen and if she wants or need my advice I’m here but I am going to take her to talk to someone because you are right she will not talk to me or her grandmother. So I just want to say thank you from a 15 year old perspective and one who has done it also. Its better to hear it from a child then another adult because your right we don’t know what y’all are going through we think we might know but have no idea so I want to say thank you Julie u are really an inspiration to all young people by speaking up for them and helping us as parents understand and cope.

  • anonymous November 5th, 2012 at 4:31 PM #24

    Don’t ever make fun of your child for cutting themselves. I have stopped cutting about two years ago and i am still dealing with alternatives other than that. My mother tells me i should be embarrassed and whenever we get into a fight she mocks me and pretends to slash at her wrists. Dont put your children through that please.

  • Alexandra November 24th, 2012 at 8:16 AM #25

    I found out today my daughter has been cutting for a month or so. I am numb and cannot understand the reasoning why she wants to hurt her body. I did not tell her off, I just listened to her explanation. When I first seen the cuts, she cried and said sorry mum, I’m so sorry mum! I have made an appointment for a clinical psychologist, at her request and have also taken her to a kenisiologist. You may wish to google this but have found them very helpful in the past). This has already helped. I know it will be a journey for us both and I will walk alongside of my daughter, praying and getting the help she needs. I will start to keep her more busy with outside activities and give her opportunity for chores and jobs to succeed it. I believe God doesn’t give us what we can’t handle! We live in a mixed up world and love is the most powerful tool we can exercise and give to our children feeling this pain!

  • I just dont know :,( December 4th, 2012 at 11:08 PM #26

    My son has been cutting for a month now. The first time I found out we talked about it. He said all his friends were doing it. I wasn’t mad just worried. I love my son. He’s my whole world! We agreed that if he had a problem he would come to me. There is nothing he can do that would make me stop loving him. And I told him this. Well today I found cuts on him again. So I had him put in the hospital. He showed no feelings. Wouldn’t talk to. I’m lost he’s my baby boy. Yes he’s 13 but he’s my world. I don’t know what to do. I even blame myself. Now I’m home without my son and I’m so lost. How can a kid that is so good in school do such a thing? Please help! Lost and alone without my son right now. From a loving mother that won’t give up.

  • Alexandra December 6th, 2012 at 8:43 AM #27

    I really feel for your pain. With your son being in hospital hopefully he is getting some counselling with this. Are you getting someone to talk to also. I had a really bad weekend last weekend and got angry at my daughter and this drove her to cut more! but this is a typical, normal parent reaction but not a good reaction for them. We need to realise that it is not about us but about them. This has shown me that I need to parent differently. I tend to bottle things up inside and not talk and don’t have enough laughter or fun in the home. I believe I need to change. We have had a few appointments with the psychologist and she has given my daughter some coping skills and this has helped. The psychologist has also given me some notes about this which has empowered me to cope and to understand this ‘cutting’! There is not alot of research done on this so every little bit of information is good. I have also taken her to get prayer at one of my churches healing meetings (she was very angry at me for this) but it make a huge difference! It is a very lonely place where you are but I will pray for you and your son. You are a good mum and don’t blame yourself, believe in yourself and picture in your mind a healthy young man smiling and happy.

  • Ilove my daughter December 8th, 2012 at 12:00 AM #28

    My daughter is 11. she is cutting, depression and bullying issues. She now blames us that she cuts herself because we are getting counseling.
    Anybody else feel this way?

  • Ilove my daughter December 8th, 2012 at 12:07 AM #29

    My daughter is 11. she is cutting, depression and bullying issues. We have been working through these issues, however she is still upset and now she now blames us that she cuts herself because we are getting her counseling.
    Anybody else feel this way?

  • SUZ December 9th, 2012 at 6:42 AM #30

    yes, everything that is wrong with my teen she tells me is my fault

  • Broken Hearted Mom December 17th, 2012 at 7:22 AM #31

    My son is now 21 and back in the hospital for cutting himself. This is the second time he has gotten help for this. He wanted to go back to the hospital because he has been overwhelmed with anxiety and not knowing how to handle it. He is so smart and so easy going. He has no idea how wonderful he is even though I try to tell him. He thinks I’m just saying it because I’m his Mom. I’ve been sitting here this morning reading these posts trying to gain some insight as how to best help him. I’ve gotten a lot of great information from the kids who cut and from their parents. People who are hurting just the same way we are. I don’t feel completely alone anymore. I do however still feel like I don’t know how to help him. I guess getting him in the hospital is a great start, but as a parent I just want to fix his problem so he doesn’t hurt anymore. As a parent, we want to take away our kids pain. If they hurt, we hurt. I love my son more than I love myself and seeing him with blood dripping from the ends of his fingertips where he has mutilated his beautiful skin will stay in my mind forever. I am going to continue reading and searching for answers and hopefully something I see or read or will replace the image of him standing in my bedroom doorway screaming out for me to help him. The mental pain he must be enduring is beyond my comprehension. If only I could understand WHY he would hurt himself then maybe I wouldn’t feel completely and utterly helpless. Such a beautiful soul should not feel like his only way out is to hurt himself. I do find comfort in knowing that I am not alone in this. There are others out there going through the exact same thing I am. I just want my baby to feel better and to be back home looking forward to his next semester in college, playing his guitar and talking on the phone to his friends.

  • Mary January 16th, 2013 at 11:51 AM #32

    Hi, I’m just becoming aware that my 13 year old daughter is intentionlly scratching her arm. I’m trying to come to grips with it but am having a hard time. She has aspergers, depression and anxiety. I don’t know what to do. She has just recently started going to a counselor to deal with all the things that are troubling her. Up until know, she was adamantly against getting any help. I know I should tell the counselor, but am afraid . What will she do? Can we deal with this without telling the counselor? I don’t want to betray my daughters trust by telling. Should I try talking her into telling the counselor herself? Help!

  • Kathryn January 19th, 2013 at 6:52 AM #33

    I just found out my 16 year old daughter cuts. I found out looking on her I pad. I was so upset I went to her school and her guidance office and had her called down and confronted her. She showed me. I told her I’m not mad. Im confused. She had to be checked out at a crisis center. We talked, she knows her dad and I love her and are here for her. I have phone calls into therapists so we can get her help. I have been looking up on internet about cutting. I bought a book called “why my child cuts” I am trying to get as much knowledge as I can so I can be here for her. She came home from crisis center and threw out the blades she was using. she knows I will be checking out her room and her body for cuts. Cutting is an addiction. people will lie and say they are not doing it anymore and they are. This is the very beginning of a LONG road ahead. But, she knows she has our support and if she needs to cut she can wake us up and talk or just be here for her till the feeling goes away. We LOVE our daughter and will move heaven and earth to support her in her recovery.

  • any advice January 22nd, 2013 at 9:24 AM #34

    My friend’s 12-year old daughter had cut herself twice prior…Last night her mom was yelling at her in the room, I came in concerned of course asking her to just sleep on it (whatever they were arguing about) and she said no, and said, “can you believe what she’s doing” and pulled her daughter’s sleeve up which was covered in cuts. Her daughter pulled away and was crying. The mom was yelling because the daughter said she doesn’t matter and that the other 3 kids matter more (they have separate dads)
    This daughter gets so much attention from her Mom, it’s clearly unbalanced.
    I’m trying to help. Her Mom called 911 and told them what her daughter had been saying about wanting to kill herself…I really hope this was the best route, but today I just feel like crying. Is this really going to help? I’m not a parent, but love these kids/this family like crazy.

  • i can't stop January 25th, 2013 at 9:44 PM #35

    I’m 18 years old and I’m a cutter. I started when I was 12 for stupid silly reasons, but as I grew older problems grew worse as well. I have scars up and down my wrists, i have scars on my legs and thighs, on my shoulders. Ive messed up my skin. But On new years Eve 2011 I promised myself that 2012 was going to be a cut free year, and I did it. I was soooooo proud of myself and so was my best friend. But recently I started again. Not too long ago I got into an argument with my mom over a boy. This Guy and I are in love. He treats me right, he’s sweet, he’s respectful, and we’ve had a crush on each other since we were like 10. We just never said anything because its wrong for us to be in love. (Personal reasons) well anyway he and I decided to be boyfriend and girlfriend and it lasted for awhile, but my mom is way over protective and found out. She’s even more pissed because of things we started to do. My parents hate it that we like each other, but I’m determined to be with him. anyway. once I get out of here we’ll be together. But anyway they took my phone away and all contact/communicatioN with him was cut off. LOL but I still text him at school using my best friends phone. Well anyway my mother just said some hurtful things like “what’s wrong with you??” And “you’re pathetic.” “You’re disgusting. ” “you’re disrespectful.” “You’re sick.” She told me I can’t see him anymore and that just tore me apart. I miss his voice. I miss his touch…I was a mess that night…so I brought out the one thing that could comfort me besides my boyfriend, my best friend, or my mom…. my razors… I slashed my legs countless times… I can’t count… I’m so ashamed of myself because I went from a year and 2 weeks without cutting… to 3 days.. I’m so scared… all I can say to you concerned parents is to be gentle with your children. Show them you love them. Show them you care. Love them endlessly. Just hug and kiss them and hold them. Because that’s all they really want. Is to feel wanted. At least that’s all I want… good luck parents and God bless! I pray all your kids find hope and are safe!

  • Kathryn January 26th, 2013 at 4:24 AM #36

    @ I just can’t stop,
    I am sorry you started cutting again. I just found out about my 16 old daughter cutting. I am sorry your mom said this to you. One thing you have to remember is NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE SAYS TO YOU. YOU ARE AMAZING. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. YOU ARE A SURVIVOR. You will stop cutting again. you have it in you. Find someone to talk to. No one has a right to talk to you in that was especially a parent!! I know I am scared to death for my daughter. I am trying to get her help. We talk (well, I talk I hope she is listening) I tell her we will get through this together as a family. I pray you get the help you need. I pray things will work out for you. REMEMBER.. YOUR AMAZING!!!

  • Mary January 26th, 2013 at 5:24 AM #37

    Thank you for your comment. My daughter i s 13 and just found out she’s been “scratching” her arms, off and on for about 2 years. I don’t know what to do besides give her love and hugs. I tell her to please come to me when she is feeling like cutting, I guess she can’t.
    She thinks I’m over protective, but children always think that when a parent has rules. It’s all in your best interest and for your safety. I’m at a loss. I think I will homeschool her as the torment at school is what triggers the pain. I hope you can get back to feeling good again.

  • i can't stop January 26th, 2013 at 5:56 PM #38

    Aw thank you kathryn. You are so kind. As for you daughter I pray she realizes how lucky she is to have a mother like you. I love my mother and I know she loves me its just when she’s angry its like the love isn’t there. This may seem strange, but there’s one thing that did help when I was trying to stop cutting. While in middle school and a freshman in high school I went through this “emo” phase. I listened to depressing music, I wore black everyday, I found interest in suicide and death, it was strange, once my mom found out when I was 14 I think she was confused as what to do. When I was about 16 she had a feeling that my interests were what was making me feel worse about myself. I was a little upset, but one time while I was sleeping over at a friends she went through my room. Threw out everything negative. Posters of death metal bands, negative CD’s, scary books, just everything negative. When I came home she confronted me about it all because she found razors under my bed in a box. Honestly the action she took made a difference. it was like I found myself again. I was back to being happy and myself. But I was still somewhat depressed. I can’t really explain it. If your daughter is into negative things its important to react. I really hope your daughter gets out of this because its not healthy. I hate feeling this way. Its not how your beautiful girl should be living. She should feel confident and strong because I believe she is. I know I don’t know your daughter, but I have a feeling she’s a wonderful bundle of joy :) I really hope she gets better.

  • i can't stop January 26th, 2013 at 6:08 PM #39

    Thank you Mary. I hope your daughter feels well soon. She’s so young :/ I know when I was 12 I started, but hearing it from somebody else… saddens me. I hate hearing that other children are going through this pain. I wish I could hug everybody feeling this way and tell them everything will be OK and that they are beautiful, but I know they’ll give me the same response I gave to everyone who tried to make me feel better. “You don’t understand” or “no it won’t”…I pray your daughter gets better. I know she’s a beautiful strong girl. Is she getting bullied at school?

  • Mary January 27th, 2013 at 6:35 AM #40

    Hi,
    Can I ask you something? My daughter, who I mentioned in a post below is “scratching” herself. She has nothing sharper to do it with so it’s not cutting yet. Here’s where I want your opinion. My daughter has been on a website for a couple years, it’s a drawing site where people can post to eachother. I recently found that her best friend on the site, and really her only friend (she has Asperger’s and doesn’t have any real friends) is a cutter and is suicidal. I stopped all contact with this person. Do you think I did the right thing as my daughter surely hates me for it. I just found it to be unhealthy and who really knows who this person is? I’d really like your opinion.
    Thanks.

  • Mary January 27th, 2013 at 6:49 AM #41

    Thank you and I’m sorry you are going through this. The bullying is the subtle kind. The kind teachers can’t or don’t see. The ball hitting her in the head, the spit in her chair, girl “accidentally” hitting her in the head with a folder ect. Her best friend recently became her enemy, no clue as to why. She’s miserable and hurting. She’s started counseling, up until now she didn’t want any help and refused to participate. She also has oppositional defiant disorder. I don’t know what else to do except be there for her and tell her to come to me when she feels like cutting herself. I sent you a post a little while ago and if you could give me your opinion I’d appreciate it. I’m going to be praying for you and hoping you can get out of your dark place.
    Mary

  • i can't stop January 27th, 2013 at 6:36 PM #42

    In my opinion (whether she’s met this person or not) you did the right thing. It’s important for her to surround herself with people who have positive views on life. Because they’ll just drag her down. I used to hang around a group of people at my school who were into suicide and death, but once I found out they did drugs such as weed and popping pills I knew I couldn’t be with them anymore. I refuse to do any drugs, but had I stayed with them I know I would’ve been pressured into getting high and wasting my life away. I’m not saying your daughter will get into drugs or anything. Its just with negative people come negative actions. I was desperate to feel like I belonged and that’s why a befriended those people. I think back then was desperate for love and attention and anybody who shared my interests I wanted to hang with. I understand your daughter is having a hard time making friends? To answer your question you did the absolute right thing. I’m sorry she’s mad, but maybe she felt as though this person was the only person who understood her? As a cutter I refuse to tell my issues. My main problem is that I bottle up all my feelings inside and once someone breaks me all these negative thoughts come flooding in and I turn to cutting. Mostly because either I’m embarrassed about my situation or ashamed of who I am or I just think nothing will fix what. I’m upset about. I’m sure you’ve already tried speaking with your daughter and I’m Guessing she was silent for the most part. I’m guessing she feels alone. Its tough being in school and having no friends in a class or having no one to walk with in the hallways. I’m so angry right now for your daughter because I know kids can be so mean. Especially girls. I feel for your daughter when I was in middle school I was bullied. Its what made me feel worthless I felt like I’d never be loved or I’d never have a purpose in life. I’ve changed drastically though from that. Now I could really care less what people think of me because I wasn’t put on this earth to be pushed down by arrogant idiots who think they’re better than me. I’ve found strength. But when someone I love is taken away from me, or somebody I love tells me hurtful things. I lose it. I forgot what the program was, but I remember being called to the counselor’s office and was told my teachers recommended I join this group at school. I used to miss my 6th period and go to this room where other kids from my grade would talk about their feelings and how their life was going. We used to do activities that would build ourselves up and would make us feel better about ourselves. There would be laughs and smiles in the room, but also some tears. It was like for that hour people understood me. and they were not negative. We had negative feelings, but we brought each other up. I’m sorry if while reading this you may think I’m strange, but this did actually help. Maybe she’s scared to talk to you. maybe she’s afraid of what you’ll think. my mom always tells me she’ll love me no matter what. But sometimes its hard to talk. Because I’m afraid of what she’ll do or say. I don’t want her to think I’m crazy. I think that’s what I’m most afraid of. Maybe its how your daughter feels.. I hope I helped. If you have any more questions feel free to ask. Ill try to give the best answer I can. By the way my name is Mindy. Ill keep praying for your daughter Mary I really hope she gets better. ): I’m so sorry. I don’t even know her but I feel as though I do. Like the me from the past in away… I’m sorry ): ugh I wish I could go to school with her and walk with her and talk with her. I’d beat up the kids that mess with her lol. Well I hope I helped. God bless.

  • i can't stop January 27th, 2013 at 6:50 PM #43

    There’s this website that is my absolute favorite <3 I love love love it lol and it helps out people who feel alone and gives some great information. Right now they have this tour called heavy and light. Its basically this group that comes to uplift those who feel down. There's gonna be Christina Perry and the lead Singer from the band boys like girls and the founder of the event. And lots more. LOL its more of a teenage thing, and I'm sure you're probably like what the heck. But at least give the website a chance its called twloha.com it stands for to write love on het arms. Tell me what you think lol

  • i can't stop January 27th, 2013 at 8:04 PM #44

    Lol I’m sorry I can’t stop saying things :P but I remember this video called twloha the story its about how it all began and it helped me feel as though help and rescue was possible give it a look or maybe your daughter might want to check it out.?

  • Devastated Mom January 31st, 2013 at 1:27 PM #45

    Jan. 31st 2013 I just found out that now my 15 year old daughter is cutting. The HS counselor just called me. My older daughter did it and now my baby is doing it. I love my girls. Did I do this too them? I know I should not blame myself, but who else is to blame. Lord God, my girls and I need your help desperately. Please surround us with your love and guidance. I know you do not give us more that we can handle, Lord, but I am feeling very overwhelmed right now.

  • i can't stop January 31st, 2013 at 6:11 PM #46

    I’m sorry ): nobody deserves to be in this situation /: I feel for your little girl. Do you have any idea as to why this happened? Your daughter is in my prayers.

  • Mary February 1st, 2013 at 12:15 PM #47

    Thank you Mindy for everything you said! I do not…..NOT think you are strange! This has been my life since my daughter was a baby. She started being “different” as an infant. The teen years, I says years, because she has seemed like a teen since she was 10…..have been trying. I try and talk with her about the pain. Things like, I know you are hurting and when you scratch yourself it’s a way to get rid of some of the pain. But, maybe you can try to work on finding a new way to deal with the pain. I asked her to come to me the next time she is hurting that bad and I could try and talk it out with her, hugs, cuddles etc. she said she would try. She’s been sick for a few days so its been peaceful at home. I dread every day that I have to send her to school! It just kills me! I know how you feel when you say you wish you could go to school and kick butt! Hahaha. I feel that way most days. I just wish she had one friend who she could trust. She thought she did, since third grade, but that girl has turned on her. It’s so sad.
    Thanks

  • Lady Asrai February 22nd, 2013 at 7:39 PM #48

    I just want to say a couple of things, as someone who’s been cutting for about three years now.
    First– don’t blame yourself for it. There are very, very few cases where it’s entirely, or even mainly, the fault of the parents.
    Don’t blame your child, either, even if your impulse is to start shouting, because it’s not going to help. You should actually be proud, in a way; your child is trying to cope, if not in a sustainable way. They’re trying to stay alive. That’s admirable.
    Breathe. Be calm. This is actually not the worst thing that could be happening. Average length of the behavior is five to ten years; shorter than alcohol abuse. It’s much less dangerous (if you’re responsible) and less permanently damaging than drug and alcohol abuse.
    Try to understand. Maybe you can’t understand the actual behavior- I know self-injury can seem confusing and counter intuitive- but you can understand the emotions behind it. Depression, guilt, anger, sorrow, shame, anxiety- they’re things everyone has felt.

    Another thing: don’t try to take away your child’s razors (or scissors or knives or whatever.) Wait, I know it seems counter intuitive, but there are a few reasons. The main one is that that’s going to accomplish approximately nothing; there are sharp things everywhere, and you can use your fists and fingernails and teeth. Taking away sharps is going to force the self-injurer to use dull or rusty or otherwise unsanitary things; it’s actually making her less safe. Another reason is that, for me at least, having tools is like having a security blanket. The thought of being able to do it was enough to tide me over sometimes.
    Also, I would get really, really bad anxiety without them.
    You wouldn’t take your toddler’s security blanket away on their first day of school, right? Because that would be fucking terrifying for them. Think of this the same way. And if they’ve been doing it for a while, they’ll only have one way to deal with anxiety.
    It’s the same with checking their body for cuts. They’re either going to freak out and do it anyway because their only coping mechanism is being taken away, or they’ll just find less obvious places to do it. I know it seems like that’s in their
    best interests, but…

    I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try to help them. I’m not going to get all radical and say that you should give them gauze and peroxide and possibly clean blades. (not going to lie, that would be awesome, but I’m not going to press my luck.) By all means, get thee to a therapist! Be supportive and willing to talk. Ask questions but don’t press. Ask what you can do to help.
    Okay, I’m going to stop rambling now. Best of luck to all of you!

  • Leanne March 1st, 2013 at 5:12 PM #49

    Wow thankyou to all for sharing. My daughter is 14, I was so frightened for her when I found out she is my baby. I have been doing all the things you suggested but still feel helpless when I find blades in her room. But at least reading all your articles I am not alone. Good luck to you all and thank you for sharing as parents we don’t always get it right but it’s nice to know we aren’t alone in this.

  • Random Girl April 6th, 2013 at 11:38 AM #50

    I’m 14 and my parents recently found out about my self harm. I used to cut my left wrist when I got upset and they found out. My mum decided to ground me until she can trust me again. Whenever I mention it to her she just screams and shouts, she keeps on telling me that I’m stupid and she makes jokes about it and even tells me to go slit my wrists whenever I get upset. She tells me to talk to her about it so I’ll feel better but whenever I do she gets angry and makes me feel worse, ever since she found out about it she has made me cry more and get angry a lot more than I did before she knew. I feel like I have no one to talk to anymore. I don’t have a bad family background and I never thought my mum would ever act like this, I’ve tried everything to stop her from punishing me but she just won’t, she keeps punishing me, making jokes and making me feel worse about myself but she won’t stop.

    I’m writing this to ask if anyone thinks punishing me for self harm is right? I really need to know if my mum is being fair because to me it’s the worst thing she could do.

  • Dawn April 8th, 2013 at 2:17 PM #51

    I think the hardest part as a parent is feeling like you caused this. Maybe I didn’t show my child enough attention. Maybe I was too tough on them. Maybe it’s me and she doesn’t trust me enough to tell me what’s wrong. I feel helpless when I think of it. I did see my daughter with cuts on her arm and at first she said it was the cat. After a while I noticed she was always covering her arms. I asked her if she was cutting herself and she looked at me with scared eyes. I started crying. I asked her to come into the bathroom with me and I cleaned all her cuts and put neosporin on them. I told her I was always there for her if she needed to talk to me. I had explained to her that I could remember feeling helpless when I was 17 and not having anyone who understood me. I empathized with her and the next time I saw her cut again, I cleaned, and bandaged her cuts. She stopped after that. She became more open with me. I think by showing her empathy and explaining my own feelings when I was 17 helped her a lot. I now have a 14 year that is going through it. I still blame myself because how can a parent have not one but two that cut?

  • admin2 April 8th, 2013 at 4:22 PM #52

    Hi,
    Thank you for your comment. We wanted to make sure you had some more resources, not only for learning about and coping with self-harm, but also for dealing with the family tension and relationship stress that can come with it.
    If you would like more information about self-harm, you can look at this page: http://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-self-harm.html
    For additional resources about trauma and family counseling, please see this page: http://www.goodtherapy.org/resources-for-therapy-clients.html

    Finally, if you are in crisis you have several options. You may:
    • Call your local law enforcement agency (911);
    • Go to the nearest hospital emergency room;
    • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TTY:1-800-799-4TTY). The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is equipped to take a wide range of calls, from immediate suicidal crisis to providing information about mental health. Call to speak with someone who cares; call if you feel you might be in danger of hurting yourself; call to find referrals to mental health services in your area; call to speak to a crisis worker about someone you’re concerned about.

    Best of luck and warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Rebecca April 9th, 2013 at 4:38 AM #53

    Dear child….I am a parent of a 13 year old son that I just found out a month ago that he is cutting and I was soo heartbroken and felt helpless as a parent who used to do the same myself at his age…now yesterday I saw he was still doing it and now I have increased my diligence in keeping an eye in him….but NO I do not understand your mothers behavior about your cutting…it is obvious that your mother has some issues of her own she needs help for…but u are not alone….please find someone u can trust and talk to…I am still at a lose on helping my son…I do have him in counseling at school and at the psychiatrist….I only get upset because I don’t want him to hurt himself ..he’s my only child and my world…and honey u are not alone either…find a teacher…a friends parent or counselor that u feel safe talking to…I will pray God will send u someone u feel safe to talk to….but please keep talking …

  • karla April 10th, 2013 at 12:50 PM #54

    I just found out this morning that my 20-year-old son had cut himself a while back. I was absolutely DEVASTATED! still am! he doesn’t know that I know yet, but he told his dad he was afraid to tell me because of how I would react & because it would upset me. thankfully, his dad told me first, so now i’ll have time to get calmed down enough to talk to him. I don’t even know where to begin. he told his dad he was only doing it for attention & that he had no intentions of doing it again. I can only pray that’s true.

  • karla April 10th, 2013 at 12:54 PM #55

    and to random girl up there, no, child, your mum is WAAAYY off base on this one, sweetie! find someone, anyone to talk to!! whether it’s on here or at school or church or whatever. maybe your mum making jokes is her way of dealing with this situation. please stay safe, honey!

  • denise April 11th, 2013 at 10:28 PM #56

    Today my husband brought to my attention that our 12 year old daughter has a lot of little slices on her ARM, this isnt the first time, when Ive asked her about it She says Shes itchy, it concerns me these last cuts do not look like finger nail scratches. She is a very moody person, very hormonal around her time of the month. Shes always been to herself, although we are very involved with her activities. She is a straight A student. Her brother attempted suicide when She was 8 and She had a really hard time with it, we put her in therapy but She never talked. His suicide attempt was due to bad side effects of medications. Then a couple years later we had problems with some teenager boys that took advantage of her sister, to the point were police were involved, i know this was very confusing for her. I cant help but to think She has suffered some sort of trauma from all of this. I had her start a journal a while back to express herself, but Ive never seen it, nor will She let me, and She refuses to see a therapist. I just dont know what to do…She stays in her room all the time, and She says its because She has a lot of homework, She spends a lot of time with her music, i think it soothes her so we leave her alone to play her music. I told her that if someone such as a school official sees the cuts on her ARM they can raise concern, i just asked her not to do it anymore, and if something is bothering her that She can tell us. Its a really scary thing to experience with your child. I dont know what to do to help, especially since She refuses to see a therapist, and i dont want to force her and push her over the edge.

  • another surprised mom April 14th, 2013 at 5:44 AM #57

    I feel that you are talking from my mouth. I’d love to hear how it went with your daughter. I just found out yesterday and can’t stop crying….and then I think that if my daughter sees me crying it will hurt her more because I’m certain that she wouldn’t want to be the cause of MY pain. I’m heartbroken, scared and emotionally drained. My poor baby, she is such a nice kid and has so many friends and involved in sports – this shouldn’t be happening to her. It’s a weekend of course, and no doctors on call. I will be taking her tomorrow morning (Monday) and I hope and pray that she will get the comfort and healthy outlet that she needs. and I pray that I can be the mom that she needs at this very difficult time in her life. Thanks to all of the kids, you really have helped.

  • Nicola May 3rd, 2013 at 6:15 PM #58

    My 15 year old daughter has been in therapy since January for her cutting habit but again today I saw fresh cuts. She refuses to discuss it with me other than to say that I should back off and that she doesn’t want to stop. Trying to stay strong in front of her is very hard but it’s something that I work on daily so as not to add to her negative feelings. She has 2 older sisters and an older brother none of whom have ever had any issues other than the usual teenage phases of hating me so I have no experience to guide me and feel utterly helpless.

  • heartbroken May 8th, 2013 at 5:31 AM #59

    how do you find the right therapist? is it a counselor? therapist? psychologist? im so sad & heartbroken. my daughter is almost 14. shes very sad too. seeking support- please respond. thank you

  • Terrah May 9th, 2013 at 3:42 PM #60

    My daughter is 14. A couples months ago she told me she had been cutting herself. Tore me apart. I’m a single mother. I have done everything in my power for her. Well we got into a fight yesterday. She has been extremely moody lately. Well today at lunch she told me she started cutting again. She told me that she has been depressed and all her friends are fake. She is my whole world. I have taken her to see a counsler. The counsler told me my daughter was a normal teenager and that she didn’t need to come see her anymore. I don’t know what to do. I’m lost and scared and don’t want this for her. She so wonderful. Its always been her and I till the wheels fall off. How do I fix this.

  • Lost and feels alone says May 12th, 2013 at 7:56 PM #61

    I wish my mom was half or even a little of what you mothers are like……. I have cut myself 8 times in the last 2 months I’m 17 and having a hard time……. My mom seen my two fresh cuts today and said that people who cut are messed up and that if I did it again that she would send me away……
    I would just like to say that don’t ever say this or do this to your kid it just makes them feel so much worse about themselves….. I know I cried for hours in my room……. Even before my mom found out about my cutting she would yell and scream that I was usless and couldn’t do things right….. Don’t do this even if your kid when they messes up bad it just makes them hate themselves more……
    I know I’m not much help to anyone but people who cut do it to live not to die because it wouldn’t be hard to kill one self with cutting we only do it to make us feel like we exist and that we are in the world not just the dirt under people’s feel or the air around them……

  • Crystal May 13th, 2013 at 9:44 PM #62

    Ok, first…quit the therapy. I was a cutter and I didn’t turn out that bad. My mom caught me because a button popped open on my sleeve and she saw the bandage. I hope that your little girl gets stuff straight, before she goes the wrong way (aka drugs…) tell her to start picking scabs. It isn’t healthy either but this is how I deal with stress today. Maybe later in life she will look at her scars and realize (like I do EVERY DAY) that it was a stupid idea to start. Give her love…hugs when she isn’t paying attention. If she is on the phone, ask her to go help in the garden…ask her what she wants to do.
    (Sorry, I’m rambling.)
    I have been there and am going through it with my 13 year old…this is the only advice I can give…the advice I wanted when I was cutting. My mom didn’t pay enough mental attention to me and I feel now that I am not giving my kid enough mental attention. Give her LOVE!!!
    Sorry for your pain, Crystal

  • Don't know what to do....plz help May 22nd, 2013 at 6:12 AM #63

    Hello, I’m so happy to have found this site & see there are other parents going through the same pain & confusion as I am. I have an 11 yr old son & I recently found cuts on his wrists. When I asked him why he done that, he said it wuz my fault. I then read some text messages on his phone & I saw where he was talking to his girlfriend & he wuz telling her that he wuz going to kill himself & that he had already cut himself. He wuz telling her that it wuz because she wuz breaking up with him & that nobody liked him. Well two months later I saw where he had done it again. He had feel asleep with his Facebook still on & I read sum messages where he was tellin them that he was going to kill himself. He has had another little girlfriend & I guess she had broke up with him. Anyway, he had been talking to a few different friends & he told them that he wuz killing himself because nobody like him & that his family tells him he’s worthless( I would never say That to my child) and that he had nobody. Well all of his friends that he had told that to was telling him they loved him like a brother & not to hurt himself & so on. Well he had took a pic of himself holding a knife to his throat & a broke piece of glass to his wrist & throat. He sent the pics to the friends that he was talkin to. Everyone knows how cruel kids can be & the first time he cut himself, the girl told basically the whole school & my son got teased alot for it. So I don’t know why he would keep doing it & putting himself through that. When he done it the first time, I thought he was just trying to get the girl to feel sorry for him, but he’s still doing it. As I can tell its basically the same reasons.
    Well I just don’t know what to do. He has several old & new cuts on his wrists. They are not deep but they are leaving scars. Everytime I ask him why he does it, he always says that it’s my fault. I just don’t know what to do. If anyone has any advice, I’m all ears because I don’t know what to do. I’m scared to death, does my child has some type of mental condition, does he need put on medication, I’m just lost. Has anyone else’s child ever cut themselves for a reason similar to this? Like I said, I’m desperate & all ears.

  • catherine May 28th, 2013 at 10:04 AM #64

    Im going through the same issue with my 13 year old daughter..I dont understand why she is doing this. She tried to OD we brought her to the hospital.. She was admitted for a couple days… Promised not to do it again… She did it again.. This time carved hope into het arm along with slashes up her wrist…we put her on paxal as this medicine is suppose to not be dependable for youth or adictive…

  • Anonymous May 28th, 2013 at 4:46 PM #65

    I have been self harming for a substantial period of time. it started out with me punching myself and telling myself that I was useless, it then progressively ‘escalated’ to me cutting my body. My advice to parents would be to not ask your child up front about what they are doing. To ask your child “Why are you doing this to yourself” puts them on the spot, and more often than not, they don’t fully understand why they do it and wont be able to answer you. However, do not neglect to keep communication open with your child. Try to be open minded and don’t automatically shoot down their feelings and ideas because you don’t personally agree with them. Most importantly, allow your child to come to you and talk to you, at any time. Even if you don’t fully understand their issue, it helps to just have somebody to listen, and accept them. Don’t be pressing about their problems, because this makes them feel as if you don’t trust them to be open with you, or if they told you their problems they would be criticized, and shot down. Making your child feel guilty about what they are doing is the absolute worst possible thing you can do. This means do not tell them that what they’re doing is wrong, and do not tell them that they’re hurting everyone around them. We are well aware that hurting ourselves can create conflict and despair within those we surround ourselves with, though when we hurt OURSELVES we have no such intention to cause pain to anyone other than ourselves.

    If you notice your child had cuts or other injuries constantly showing up on their body, let them know that you’re aware. Do not automatically jump to the conclusion that your child is suicidal, as in many cases they are not. be calm about it, and don’t make the issue about yourself. You can tell them that you will get them help, but don’t use therapy as a threat to get them to stop. Your child will only stop when they are prepared to. Cutting/ self harm is a method of controlling overwhelming emotions. Giving up that control is incredibly difficult, and recovery takes years. Do not expect a quick fix solution.

    You need to support your child, move at their pace and love them unconditionally. Do your best to not let your pain get involved with their issue, and let them know that you are an understanding parent who wants them to get better. (let them know through your actions, as words only say so much).

    As for why your child may be harming themselves, there are a multitude of reasons, and their personal reason for it could be any combination of them. Inner emotional instability, inability to cope with adversities, loss of contact with friends, conflict with those they hold/ had once held close, destruction of relationships either within or around their family and friends, feeling isolated and alone and even the death of a loved one are a small number of possible triggers for self harm. Really, any combination of things could trigger an onset of self injury, and there isn’t a sure fire way to prevent it from occurring. It depends greatly on the individual afflicted, as some people are more apt to self harm than others. Furthermore, whether of not the self harm is attention seeking or not is irrelevant. The fact that they’re exhibiting self destructive tendencies is the only thing that matters, and is indicative of the fact that there is an underlying issue that is not being adequately dealt with.

    (TO CATHERINE: I strongly suggest getting your child off that drug immediately if it was not prescribed by a dependable psychiatrist whom has been able to make a diagnosis pertaining to the mental state of your daughter. Paxil is a powerful antidepressant with a surplus of adverse side effects, and is rarely prescribed to children. If a doctor or a psychologist prescribed this drug for your child, they were not qualified to have made such a prescription. My mother suffers from extreme anxiety and was prescribed Paroxetine (Paxil) by our family doctor. She experienced a sense of emotional emptiness, accelerated heart rate, sweating, dehydration, more sever anxiety attacks and irregular bowel movements on only 1/2 of the prescribed amount.

    Paroxetine is know to cause an increase in suicidal tendencies in children, so please be very wary when administering this drug to your daughter.)

  • Sally June 13th, 2013 at 2:39 AM #66

    I am a little bummed too at no concrete “what to do’s”…given the title. My teen cuts – her arms and legs. Has been for months, just found out about 2 months ago. Intuitively I didn’t push her, but would look, and discuss it with her.
    Now she has graduated 8th grade with 1 D and 3 F’s. I had no warning and am stunned her good teachers did not warn me with progress reports…no mention of summer school. She is intelligent so this and the cutting…is scary. I have gotten her in therapy. She says she doesn’t want to stop cutting. I am just scared for her. She spends a lot of time online…I think I will limit in summer to 2 hours a day. No exercise (stereotypic emo…hates p.e….I did too), but also just no good fitness, no yoga, journaling…nothing. Tiny social life. I feel very powerless.
    She is also ultra defiant and stubborn about doing everything her way or no way. Its very hard to have a relationship.
    After ranting…I think my point is I feel I should be DOing something. She takes her backpack everywhere – guess she knows I will look for her razers? Even if I could get them…I’m a single mom out of the home a lot…she would just go walk and get more. I have very little control. But also feel I am not taking seriously enough.
    One thing I will do is make an appt. with her doctor. I liked hearing from the mom who checks daily her daughters cutting. I may try that…if it gets worse…at least seek medical attention immediately.
    I really like hearing from parents…this really sucks and we can at least empathize…and also hearing from teens – cutting and those who have stopped. Thanks for being here to share whats going on. God Bless. Sally7

  • Sunny7 June 13th, 2013 at 9:06 AM #67

    My daughter, who is 14 now, has been cutting off and on since the 4th grade. Lately it has been more than less. She has friends who cut. I hate this. She was a straight A student. She has a fairly privileged life. We are a mixed family but we all show our love and support for her. I’ll be honest. I’m angry. I’m angry that she is being stupid, she’s better than this. I’m angry because she has not had any incidents in her life that I know of that would be traumatic enough to do something so destructive. I was beaten, I was sexually molested, both of my parents are estranged from me and I never cut. What’s her problem? She lies, she hides, she rolls her eyes whenever I try to be supportive and listen to her and ask questions to help her. She obviously does not care. She used to be a good kid. Now she has loser friends and is acting like them. I’m sure it’s all my fault. I should have never had children. I’m a horrible mother. My older two children also have never had this issue. I think she has the spoiled little rich girl syndrome.

  • anonymous July 3rd, 2013 at 5:00 AM #68

    I wish my mom were like you all. She recetntly found out and all she does now is stare at my arm and shake her head. When no one else is around she tells me I’m sick and messed up. She swore not to tell my dad if I never do it again, and I don’t. But I just wish she would stop insulting me because it hurts. The reason we do it is because it releases pain mentally inflicted upon us by people who don’t care. People always say there is no love like a mothers’, so when your own mom insults you, it really feels like there is no one there for you anymore. It hurts and I’m still depressed. The only time I get any peace is when I’m in a dreamless sleep because even in most of my sleep I have nightmares and I want to just leave every thing and just go somewhere quiet and alone and just weep.

  • Jeesus July 24th, 2013 at 8:45 AM #69

    What is wrong with you?

  • Me August 16th, 2013 at 11:19 AM #70

    My mom found out yesterday that I had been cutting my left arm and on my legs. She wouldn’t believe me when I told her the cat scratched me so I was put on the spot. She made me tell her about it and she seemed really supportive and told me she was going to get me an appointment to see a psychologist about the cutting and my depression. She spent the day with me then she told my dad and we had to have a talk. They told me we were a team and that we would get through this together. They took all my blades and my razors which was upsetting but I decided it would only get better from there. My mom slept with me that night (Bc I have bad dreams) The next morning I woke up and they demanded to see my phone and have me delete all social media from my phone. They also decided to confiscate it because they think my music is influencing me to self harm. They then went on to have me remove my black nail polish and give me some good ol tough love. Wtf. The whole morning I was crying and upset I tried to tell my mom how I was feeling (I thought we were suppose to be a team) she told me I was beating a dead horse and called my dad to come pick me up. I feel more suicidal than ever before and I just want to swallow all the pills in our medicine cabinet.

  • GoodTherapy.org Support August 16th, 2013 at 11:57 AM #71

    Thank you for your comment. It sounds like your parents might have access to resources and therapists, but we’d like to make sure that you are able to seek extra help if you need it. If you are experiencing a crisis, here are some options:

    • Go to the nearest hospital emergency room
    • Call your local law enforcement agency (911)
    • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TTY:1-800-799-4TTY)
    • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is equipped to take a wide range of calls, from immediate suicidal crisis to providing information about mental health. Call to speak with someone who cares; call if you feel you might be in danger of hurting yourself; call to find referrals to mental health services in your area; call to speak to a crisis worker about someone you’re concerned about.

    We wish you the best of luck!

  • Me. September 8th, 2013 at 2:13 AM #72

    Don’t you get it? You’re angry at your child for cutting, saying she’s a loser and a spoilt rich kid. She needs love from you, not anger. That may be why she is carrying on cutting. Because you’re acting like you don’t care about WHY she’s doing it. She needs love and support yet you’re ranting online about how stupid she is. Cutting is a mental health problem. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t cut. good for you, no oner cares. What does matter is that your child IS cutting and you’re not supporting her, you’re ANGRY at her.
    So i’m angry at you. You are being a terrible mother right now and you need to sort it out and help your child.

  • Karen December 4th, 2013 at 8:54 AM #73

    My 18-year-old daughter is cutting herself. She acknowledges that she does it, but says that she “doesn’t do it as much as she used to.” She did it yesterday — she also hit the wall with her fist. She has been to a therapist, but refuses to talk about it, and refuses to go to another one. What should I do?

  • Zane December 7th, 2013 at 1:21 PM #74

    My 13 year old daughter is a cutter. I believe it is the obligation of the parent to teach the child how to think through feelings. Every emotion has a thought/belief attached to it. Explore these thoughts and prepare yourself to guide your daughter through the thoughts. Do not push her. I have gained tremendous ground by allowing my daughter to feel comfortable knowing I will not react to her thoughts and feelings in a protective or otherwise threatening way. She opens up at night when we sit alone and she allows me inside her mind at these times. I do not violate the trust. Tell no one of your conversations and you will keep her trust. My daughter still cuts but at the same time she is learning to do it less and less and learning to cope with negative feelings in a positive manner. God bless you Karen. I pray for your strength and ability to allow your daughter to express herself without the threat of you getting protective or freaking out. Understand…it is okay to feel pain.

  • Abigail December 12th, 2013 at 1:34 PM #75

    Listen I’m a teen cutter so he needs someone u letting him have a girlfriend is bad when the break up he will go straight to cutting bury all his blades use plastic and talk to him take him let him know u love him but don’t try to get him to talk be like once in a while if you need to talk I’m here but don’t push him don’t judge him don’t be pitiful and NEVER say I understand what your going through

  • J December 16th, 2013 at 8:10 PM #76

    It’s stories like this that keep my from telling anyone about my self harm. Your reaction is my worst nightmare.

  • Ally December 18th, 2013 at 6:19 PM #77

    If you kids cut themselves then they have an issue. They do want to tell you but they can’t

  • Ally December 18th, 2013 at 6:32 PM #78

    Kids think parents do not understand it’s true but still parents have to be there for their kids . If parents takes phones and electronic it makes kids more desperate to cutting themselves or they can hurt themself by slaming there Faces to the wall

  • Ally December 18th, 2013 at 6:50 PM #79

    Does she have a notebook to write down her feelings or if she gets mad give her a pencil so she can get her mind out of cut. So give her the wooden pencil and tell her to break it

  • Lisa U December 21st, 2013 at 9:06 PM #80

    I have a friend whose 10 y/o daughter cuts herself in her mother’s presence. She uses violence and threat tactics to try to get her way. We already know she was molested by a trusted friend. Several members of the family have been molested by other people. The mother has her in counseling. She tries to talk to her but she clams up and starts yelling at her mother telling her she doesn’t want to talk about it. Then she’ll start breaking things around the house and punching holes in the walls.

    The mother works 5 days a week and is the sole supporter. She’s limited to what she can do – especially regarding finances. She has 3 other daughters to support.

    Can someone please recommend reading material that might help her break through her daughter’s pain and get her to start talking to her mother? The mother feels so helpless, especially when her daughter starts cutting herself in her presence.

  • Lisa U December 21st, 2013 at 9:25 PM #81

    I’m a new visitor to this website so forgive me for replying months after you posted your comment.

    I have to say that I LOVED your post. We all deal with pain in different ways (I overeat). My friend’s daughter cuts. I’m going to pass her this website and direct her to your post because I feel it will give her greater insight on how to respond to her daughter and the questions (NOT) to ask.

    Thank you for your post.
    Lisa

  • Shylo December 30th, 2013 at 8:03 PM #82

    I’m a 19 year old, and I have been cutting since I was 13, I always hid my cuts, untill oneday, I decided to sit down and tell my mom and dad, that I needed help ( I would have been 16 at the time) So I removed my sweater, revealing cuts and scars. My mother just looked at me with shock. And my father, he said nothing. I never got the help I needed. I still don’t I have been clean from cutting for a month. My mother always thretond me that she would take me to the hostpitle so they would lock me up. I still get the urges to cut. But I just cry, and cry, and cry, instead of cut. I’m at the point again were going to slip up again.

  • Shylo December 30th, 2013 at 8:16 PM #83

    I’m terribly sorry ma’am, But that is rude of you to say about your daughter. And I who is a recovering cutter. Have had many traumatic insidences in my life, that none of my family knows about, and no mater the people I hung out with, my mother never told me my friends were losers, she always told me I was hanging out with the wrong crowd. You are highly being disrespectufl about your daughters choiecs, yes I understand you’re angery, and that she maybe a “spoiled” chiled. But what it sounds like to me is that you’re angry about the fact that you may have never gotten the help YOU needed for your traumatic experiences. And maybe something did happen to your daughter. Don’t just assume something didn’t happen to her. Please understand I am not trying to be rude. I’m just trying to offer some advice. Oh, And if she continues to cut, Contact a theropys see if she will talk to one of them. If not. Take all sharp objects away. And hide your house knifes or any type of sharp object.

  • Ally January 5th, 2014 at 9:07 PM #84

    Shyol i have been cuting myself since i was 8 years old. My mom fownd out then she takes me to see a (doctor) and well she tales my mom that i need to go and see a grupo. And talk out my felings so i did but it did not work out

  • Alexis January 5th, 2014 at 9:20 PM #85

    Well my 12 yearold boy is cuting his self. As a good mother i put all the nifes were he cant find it. So what do i do next,i mean i need help

  • GT Support January 6th, 2014 at 9:20 AM #86

    Thank you for your comment. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Annie Jean January 9th, 2014 at 4:41 PM #87

    My name is Annie I’m 33 years old. I haven’t cut myself for 10 years now. Sometimes because of our parents lack of education or understanding, they inadvertently cause us more pain when we seek their help without even realizing what they’re doing. Our emotions are extremely intimate personal. I was never given the help that I needed as a child. As an adult I sought therapy for myself. My personal being has been illuminated during therapy sessions. Have found painting running and music along with dancing all have helped tremendously during times of bad feelings. I encourage you to continue your search into your personal being, and then finding healthier coping mechanisms during the times that are hard. Good luck to you!

  • Annie Jean January 9th, 2014 at 4:51 PM #88

    Understand that your child has deep emotional pain. It is very important not to have a big reaction ( as hard as that can be!) try to remain calm through it. Know that a lot of parents are going through this and educating yourself is key to understanding the very delicate issue here. I believe in therapy. Sometimes having a professional step in and work with your family can be hard work at first but super rewarding as time goes on. Good luck to you, hang in there!

  • SBSB January 15th, 2014 at 9:52 AM #89

    We just found out our 17 year old son is cutting his arm. We confronted him and he admitted he has been doing this for weeks now. Our son is a good boy, makes good grades and is very likable at school. But he has told us that his dads divorce from his mother (I’m the step mom) and death of his grandmother in combination with a recent failed relationship, has caused him to cut himself. We are now walking the tight rope with him, trying not to push him to talk but yet trying to keep the communication lines open. I don’t believe he is suicidal but he is very quiet and hard to read sometimes. This is new to us and we really don’t know how to help him. I don’t think he will talk to a therapist either. When we asked him openly, he did talk…but only in bits and pieces and we are putting the puzzle together now. He has said he won’t cut again, but I’m very fearful this is only the beginning of something worse. I’m praying that he will find a way to cope and we have told him he can talk to us any time.
    - Feeling helpless and worried about our son. :(

  • admin2 January 21st, 2014 at 9:49 AM #90

    Hi SBSB,
    Thank you for your comment. We want to make sure you have access to resources that can help! If you don’t know whether your son will see a therapist, there are many other avenues for getting the support you need for talking to your son. You can learn more about cutting here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/cutting
    If you feel you or your son are in crisis, you can find hotlines for immediate assistance here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html
    To look for a therapist on GoodTherapy.org who specializes in helping with cutting, go to the following link and select “Cutting” in the drop-down list of concerns: http://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html
    Finally, if you are interested in submitting your situation with a question for one of our Topic Experts to answer, you are welcome to submit it through the following form for our consideration: http://www.goodtherapy.org/dear-goodtherapy.html

    Wishing you the best,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Native February 15th, 2014 at 7:26 AM #91

    My 16 year old daughter is cutting herself because she is deeply invole with another female and she comes from that type of family. I told my daughter she needs to be my daughter & leave her alone. My daughter would get upset and blames me then shes cutting herself. Or my daughter would cut herself because they argue and had disagreement between them (lovers qurral) so my daughter cuts herself. I dont understand im the adult and im supposed to protect my only daughter from beening harm. My daughter counselor told me (i was at fault for not beening a mother) Iwork, I cloth her, I feed her, she has descent place to live, I protect her, We laugh together, we cry together. I dont understand my dayghter anymore. Help!

  • Sheryl Davenport February 24th, 2014 at 4:57 AM #92

    I’ve just discovered my daughter started doing this also.. It breaks my heart. It seems to come from everything going on at school.. I would homeschool in a second, but she insists she needs to stay at school… Thanks for your advise.. I’m trying to understand and ask her to tell me what I don’t understand.. Tough.

  • Leeanne March 20th, 2014 at 3:20 AM #93

    My son is 12 years old and I have just found out he is cutting himself he is saying it is the first time but OMG I don’t know what to do ,I know he worried about his weight and he lost his grandfather a little while back (my father ) and he tried to be so brave then ,he has seen his father and I struggle with money issues and other things and I know this has all played a major role ,I work full time so does his dad I’ve spoken with the school and we are working on counselling and trying to get to the bottom of it all ,and help him he is our youngest so four children and I wonder if it’s because him being the youngest we have focused on our other three because of there issues that he was a little forgotten ,I hope I’m on the right track to getting help for him …… I’m heart broken to think that he is feeling this way and I didn’t see it before it got this bad for him :(

  • Layne April 3rd, 2014 at 3:09 AM #94

    I have been cutting for about 5 years now. Ever since I was 11. It has slowly over time gotten worse. My mom has caught me I would say three times. She doesn’t know how to talk to me. I try and sit down and talk to her but she will start yelling at me. She has never asked to see what I use to cut. She just says ‘don’t do it’.. Because that helps right? She expects a lot from me and it’s been really stressful for me. I have to have perfect grades I by myself have to clean the house every day I have to have a job i hve to be her server basically. If I mess up just a little then she tells and yells and yells. It’s gotten to the point where I have run away to my friends house for a week because I couldn’t handle her anymore. The school caught me once and I came home she started yelling the minute I got home. ‘Do you know how bad this makes me look’ not even as bad as you are.. So parents if you read this. Don’t yell. Don’t expect to much of your kids. When my mom was nice to me- I didn’t have urges to cut.

  • annelis April 5th, 2014 at 6:43 AM #95

    Layne, Thank you for your comments. I am a parent with a 17 year old daughter who cuts and its helped me to hear what you had to say. From your words, I can tell that you are a strong and self aware person and it sounds like you are willing to talk to your mother, and maybe even want to, but that its hasn’t worked when you’ve tried. I am sorry. I hope you can find someone else that you can talk to and feel supported by right now, if it can’t be your mother.

  • Marti April 9th, 2014 at 6:17 PM #96

    It has been helpful reading these posts and knowing I’m not the only one going through this. My heart goes out to all of you who find yourself posting here. I just found out today that my daughter in 12th grade has been cutting. I am still in shock, but I know w/ God’s help we’ll get through this. She admitted to it when confronted and said it’s only been a few months. The scars are on her stomach, and all are almost healed for now. I know she’s felt like an outcast at school and stays more to herself. She’s told me she feel like she doesn’t fit in before. I just never knew how serious it was. She has her dad and my full support to help her through this. I just don’t want to do anything wrong. I just want her to know we’re here for her. Reading about the post about music made me concerned. I do know she does listen to some depressing music. I just don’t want to take it away from her and cause her to withdraw more. She’s seeing the guidance counselor in the morning. I hope that’s the right move. I will do anything to help her.

  • Michelle April 15th, 2014 at 11:27 AM #97

    Thank you so much for your insight. I am so sorry you are in pain. In my opinion you’re mother needs therapy bc her expectations are unfair and unrealistic and cruel. You are her child. Talk to friends and their parents whom you trust and get some counselling. It’s hard to stay sane when you live with people who behave otherwise.
    You will soon be out on your own and free to live and develop your own life without her adding to your stress. Stay strong and keep the goal in mind always

  • Michelle April 15th, 2014 at 11:36 AM #98

    Absolutely. What I have learned is that no matter how overwhelmed and sad you are as a parent, stay calm. They trusted you and came to you. The last thing they need is more judgment bc there is already so much shame attached to it. It’s like that overweight person who binges on choc cake. It feels great at the time, then horrible and disgusting after bc you feel that diss appointment in yourself. Just be accepting of it. It’s done be there for support show love and go through things you can do together when those feelings once again arise. I am trying urge my daughter to come running with me . Running dissolves away every last drop of anger and pain when you get in that zone. It works and it’s positive.

  • Mom April 16th, 2014 at 8:02 PM #99

    Hello, our relationship with our 13yr old DD is growing more troubled. A few monthes ago I noticed a friendship bracelet that was too tight on my daughter & leaving a mark. I finally insisted she cut it off and a month later i noticed a mark on the wrist…she admitted it was self inflicted & self induced. I was shocked because we have talked about self harm & how important it it to find healthy ways to express all the emotions a teen inevitably feels. While she & I have a volitale relationship, I did feel she had a grasp on self harm. My husband & I are accessible, try to empower her, & interested in her interests. She is very bright and has a solid group of friends. Our issues with her revolve around refusing to pull her weight (as in a daily houshold chore yes generally only 1) and how she treats her family…nasty. No matter what the chore she is out comparing with her younger siblings (1 in a preschooler & 1who puts a lot into helping & trying to be DD1s friend. We have been in family on & off for a few years but finally showed her “real self” to the therapist then refused to go back. We all agreed she was showing signs of depression & she agreed to try a med. During the winter she wanted to quit a sport she has been active in for years, while we enourage them to try new things, we think its important to finish what you start (yes we did investigate if any abuse or issues were there). She reused to continue preferring to hole up sit on instagr , read, and generally do nothing. Instead of finishing the sport out she chose to lie about attending practice, hiding out instead. When my husband really pushed why she quit she showed grid like marks on her side that a sports outfit would have bothered. Since thAt time she lashes out @ me the most. Accusing me of lack of interest being mean etc…then threatening to cut or kill herself again. Note this is usually when she not “getting her way” as in attend an event or have a priviledge. Unfortunately, my dh is out of work so our resources are nil…We recently stopped the anti dep bcuz she was getting headaches (and we saw little to no beh diff & so did she)so the dr d/c them. It was such a low dose I dont believe it ever got therapeutic. I understand that any self harm or threat of is sign of expressing pain, but its hard not to feel continually manipulated. She holds our family hostage with her acting out, crys wolf when it seems convenient, and the time of clairity shrinks every month…. She has not appeared to cut since we found her out in Jan but once again tonight found out she couldnt do something we dont have the $ for acted out, lost priviledges, so now she throws out if you dont then I…. What do I do?!?She wont let me near her but rants her story when I’m not around or trys to play Mom vs Dad. Hellllp I reallly want to help her she is so talented and I am so worried for her.

  • Olivia April 19th, 2014 at 1:11 AM #100

    IMPORTANT:
    -do not call your child emo or goth as this is a vicious stereotype that will only make them angry and feel alienated
    -do not make jokes about how your child should “technically” enjoy anything that causes physical pain. Making jokes about self harm is not okay in any situation and will not ease communication between you and your child; it will have the opposite effect
    -do set realistic and reliable expectations. If you say you will do a body check on them once a week but only do it half the time, they will not see you as taking the issue seriously and are more likely to SH again
    -do give them some leniency during the first couple weeks after you find out about them self harming. As stressed and upset you as a parent might be, telling a parent or having them discover you SH is one of the hardest things a teenager can go through because it involves shame, sadness, anger, embarrassment, guilt, and confusion. I still regard coming forward about my SH to my mom as the toughest thing I’ve ever done.

    Hope this helps!
    -a fully recovered teen :)

  • Olivia April 19th, 2014 at 1:19 AM #101

    It seems to me that your daughter might have another reason for not wanting to participate in that sport. Having a sudden pack of interest in something that they used to pursue eagerly is one of the most commonly known effects of depression, as is laziness (not wanting to do even one chore), anger, and wanting, needing, even, control.

    Hope this helps!
    -a fully recovered teen

  • Wendy April 20th, 2014 at 12:10 PM #102

    Thank you for your perspective. I just discovered my teen has been cutting and want to help her and it was great to hear from a recovered teen!

  • Marti April 21st, 2014 at 11:40 AM #103

    Olivia, Thanks for your suggestions of what not to do. My teen has spoken to a guidance counselor twice and wants to put it all behind her. She says the way she copes is forgetting she did that and doesn’t want me to bring it up. I feel that is not resolving the issues of why she cut in the first place. I have not checked her for new injuries in over a week. She says she has stopped. I feel like I’m walking such a fine line as to not upset her, but I’m so concerned. I did buy a book which is helping me understand more. Should I insist she talk to someone other than her dad and I?

  • Olivia April 21st, 2014 at 11:25 PM #104

    If she insists on not speaking to anyone else, it’s probably best to give in to that unless more problems arise/persist. Based on what you said, it seems she is having a common reaction to her own self harm: shame. Self harm is seen as something assigned to a certain group of people and while it is satisfying to SH while it lasts, regret and shame often come soon after. If she feels this way, it’s probably best to leave it alone for now. If you do end up deciding to have her see a counselor/therapist regularly try to make sure it’s someone she is comfortable with, otherwise she’ll never open up. Also, if you feel that she is still SHing, it is ALWAYS okay to check her for new cuts. Safety comes before comfort.

  • Olivia April 21st, 2014 at 11:29 PM #105

    Wendy,
    So glad I could help! I hope that everything turns out well for you and your daughter!

  • Marti April 24th, 2014 at 1:56 PM #106

    Thanks again, Olivia. My husband is disagreeing w/ me about not having her talk to someone. She said she’s coping by listening to music and reading. She was doing that before, so I’m scared that nothing is different. Is it possible for someone just to up and stop?

  • Olivia April 25th, 2014 at 11:01 PM #107

    Thats understandable. I still use music to cope and reading is my go to escape. It’s possible that these two were already helping her cope before you found out about her SH. If you’re still concerned, I would gently suggest other coping methods that you think would benefit her (if she is artistic, suggest that she paint, etc.). This way you aren’t saying that what she is doing is wrong, it’s just a way that you’re trying to help her heal. As for your other question, I don’t think that it’s possible to just decide to quit and be done with it unless it was a new thing or something she didn’t do often. Quitting is a difficult process for most people I’ve corresponded with.

  • Emma April 28th, 2014 at 9:20 PM #108

    So I’m a 14 year old cutter and I’ve cut for 2 years now and from my experience with most of this and
    Yes my mom and dad know. Your son can be cutting with anything from a pencil razor blade to a safety pin. Knives are not a main use. Razors are so if you want to be safe check and see if he has any razors. You can also tell kinda what they use by their cuts. Knives are usually deepest and razor cuts are deep but there usually not as big. I don’t cut with knives often but you need to talk to your son about it. Telling him to stop doesn’t do anything. And there actually may be nothing you can do to make him stop at all. Just letting you know cutting becomes like a drug, you need it and you get addicted to it. The urge becomes stronger the more you do it and you eventually loose yourself in cutting. I have many reasons I do it. But it can’t stop for a long period of time without that urge. One cut on my wrist led to cuts all over my thighs and wrists. It’s bad. You say you’ll do it once and a week later you have 6 more cuts. A little along way. So don’t just hide the knives and whatever. There’s a lot you can do. And don’t tell at your son it makes everything worse. My life is complete sh**. But if you think I’m just a stupid 14 year old saying all this for nothing I’m not, believe me ik cutting well. So trust me with what I’m saying. He may said he stopped but have you checked his thighs?

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team April 29th, 2014 at 9:44 AM #109

    Thank you for your comment, Emma. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Any April 29th, 2014 at 3:49 PM #110

    Hi, my name is Amy I am not a cutter but im so tempted to do so.. Over these past weeks maybe even months.. Im not quite feeling myself lately.. Ive held that razor to my wrist so many times but i just couldnt i really need help .. As thee is also a lot of things going on in my life… Im being bullied again and more … Id say it wpuld depend on what happend in the past too because of my alcaholic father who i cant see ext. Ect.. I do go to a phsycyatrist and a counsellar but i need more help i cant speak to my mother it feels uncomfortable but i can speak to my phsycyatrist and yes i do go to family therapy with my mother and brother but i cant speak up … What are your recommondations ?

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team April 30th, 2014 at 8:41 AM #111

    Thank you for your comment, Amy. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Alicia May 1st, 2014 at 4:09 PM #112

    We just found out my 17 year old sister is self harming and has been for the past 3 or 4 years. I noticed it first and told my parents to keep an eye on it. My Mom spoke with her last night and was devastated to find out it has been going on for so long and she had no idea. She suggested helping her find somebody to talk to which she immediately refused. She said she will deal with it herself and that she talks to her boyfriend an that is enough for her.
    We are all still worried about her and don’t know what the next step should be. I was going to suggest my Mom contact the school guidance counsellor for advice. Any suggestions?

  • Rose May 7th, 2014 at 9:12 AM #113

    My 15 year old has recently become reclusive, only wanting to listen to music and play on his iphone. He has been doing kik for a couple of months and conversing with total strangers. I think he got this cutting idea from kik. I snoop on his phone and saw a picture he sent to a kik friend of it. Te next day I “found” his cuts and we actually talked a little. He doesn’t want me to tell his dad or the doctor. I feel like I am over my head. Is it possible it is a one time deal?

  • mom:( May 16th, 2014 at 11:18 PM #114

    I just discover my 11year old daughter with a blade cutting her amr…I yeald at her ask her why she was doing it and hern answer was because a friend from school told her if she does it she will be cool.. she always have done good in school…and in her dance classes.I’m very confused and hurt,what should I do ?she needs help?how can I help her?

  • B May 22nd, 2014 at 9:31 PM #115

    Ok so I’m a 14 year old and I cut. I also use kik and yes sadly I so talked to stangers but not all that often. I have sent a picture of my cuts to a friend and it got out. My parents found out and treys to help but I shut then out. I think the feel helpless now because now when they see cuts they not ask about it. I recently got into an argument with my dad wile he was driving me home from school. He finally asked about my wrist and I said it was non of his business and that he would never understand, he replied with yes he would never understand why his little girl was hurting herself. He went on to say how him and my mother noticed the negative changes happening with me. I had stopes hanging out with my friends, I stoped dancing and singing witch I had loved. I gave up my skateboard and bike and started wearing heavy makeup. I talked about a lot with my dad but he respected when I didn’t want to talk about serten aspects of it. By the time we made it home we had a plane. He was going to get me a punching bag and hang it in my room so I could do that instead of cutting. My advise to you is try to be patient. If he asked you not to tell its a better thing not to tell. Doctors aren’t even remotely necisary unless the cutting gets to a point were it’s going to threaten there life. I know I’m younger and I’m not an adult but if you ever need help from the standpoint of a kid all alwase be happy to answer any questions ou may have.

  • B May 22nd, 2014 at 9:35 PM #116

    I am I cutter but I find drawing on your wrists helpful when I get urges to cut. It could be anything. Band symbols or abstract designs anything and as much of as little as you want. There’s no permeate damage and no scaring and you can have it for as long as you want.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team May 23rd, 2014 at 9:05 AM #117

    Thank you for your comment, B. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Emma May 25th, 2014 at 6:30 AM #118

    It’s possible but as long as he doesn’t become addicted. For a lot of people cutting just once can ruin you. It’s like a drug only your destroying your self with a blade. I’m 14 and stopped cutting a few moths ago but before that I did it for 2 years and my body is ruined. So I don’t think he got the idea from kik there are probably other depressing reasons you just don’t know.

  • Emma May 25th, 2014 at 6:33 AM #119

    ^^Best comment in this whole thing.

  • heather June 6th, 2014 at 5:15 AM #120

    My daughter has cut many times. I have been on her the past few weeks because she hasn’t been keeping up on her homework, getting mouthy, and not following rules, and being sneaky. She’s on Google plus role playing in a very sexual matter. My husband says let that be, now with the end of school and she is getting an f and a d in 2 classes because she won’t do the homework. She procrastinated on everything and it’s come to a head. She swore before she wouldn’t do it again and my husband is like just let her go. She stole the family kindle after we took Internet away from her. She says it’s my fault she cuts because I am on her to much. I’m at a loss.

  • Bri June 8th, 2014 at 9:16 PM #121

    Hi heather I’m going to try to explain things for you, and maybe try to help you. First let me tell you about myself, I am 15 years old, I have been cutting for 4 1/2 years, and the reason I am on this sight is because I’ve been thinking of telling my parents but I want them to understand why I cut. You say you have been on her a lot, I understand you just want to raise her properly and all that, but nagging and yelling at her does not help, and actually triggers her to hide and cut more. You say she is talking back and falling behind in school, I find I do the same thing when I am very stressed (and have been cutting a lot). What I think would be best is tell her in the middle of the day or when things are winding down around the house, that you want to talk to her before bed. Then talk to her when she is climbing into bed, tell calmly her how you feel. How, what she is doing concerns you and worrys you, and the reason you’ve been on her so much is because “what ever your reason”. Do not yell at her! She will probably be a bit hesitant to talk, if she does not want to talk do not pressure her, just say that you are always there for her and will help her the best you can, and leave it at that and try again in a week or two. If she does talk, do not interrupt her and listen to what she says! Sorry it’s so long! :D

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team June 9th, 2014 at 8:52 AM #122

    Thank you for your comment, Bri. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do if you are in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Lizzy June 24th, 2014 at 7:49 PM #123

    Hi, I know you must think something’s wrong with your daughter because she’s cutting, but I’ve been cutting for around 3 years now and I started when I was 12. At the time I was really frustrated and wasn’t very happy with anything happening. When my parents tried to help they yelled a lot and it made it worse, yelling when you try to help is the worst thing. If you want to help her talk calmly and don’t try to act like you understand everything that’s happening in her life, tell her she can come to you for help if she wants it don’t force her to tell you whats wrong it’ll only push her away. I find it’s more comfortable when it’s just me and the person I’m talking to, and knowing that the person won’t judge me or yell at me while we’re talking. Try being supportive of your daughter without being smothering, and you have to know that you don’t know what she’s going through, every situation is different so try to be patient when talking to her and let her come to you, if you see her cutting again comfort her and let her know you care, that’s why got me to stop cutting a while until people stopped caring, you have to always be sure to show her you care. I hope that helps

  • I'm so scared June 24th, 2014 at 8:13 PM #124

    I’ve been cutting for a little over 2 months now. I’ve quit recently, but only because I had to. I plan on restarting when I get back home. I want to tell my dad but I just can’t. How do I do it?

  • Tammy June 27th, 2014 at 9:12 PM #125

    Thank you bri for sharing. I know that must be very hard. I would like you to know as a parent I’m sure your mom may seem like she’s coming down on you and giving you a hard time but I’m sure it’s because she loves you with all of her heart. In fact I bet your her angel. Thank you again for opening up.

  • Jane July 4th, 2014 at 10:09 PM #126

    My 12 yr old son has been cutting for 8 months now. It all started with this girl he liked doing it and he then started doing it and telling lies like I’m on drugs and his dad is abusive because that is the girls true home story. He had gotten better for awhile and all of a sudden is doing it again. It seems to occur mainly when he gets in trouble about something. Up until last year he was a wonderful person, did great on school, showed respect to everyone, did what was asked of him, helped out at home and when all this started he began to talk back, cuss at his stepfather and I, began hitting me, hitting the wall, telling me he doesn’t want me or his stepfather in his life, telling me he’s not going to change and this is all my fault. This all came out of nowhere and I don’t know what to do. We are seeing a psychologist now and he was diagnosed with add but won’t take his medicine. They tried antidepressants but he honestly made no change. Like I said the cutting and hitting come when he is told to do something or gets in trouble for being bad. What do I do?

  • anonymous.. July 5th, 2014 at 2:03 PM #127

    I cut..for 2 year now. It all started after I was attacked in an alleyway by a few men. They touched me and tried getting me to go with them. I could have ran but I didnt and I punish myself everyday for it. I wasn’t really that bad but it got worse I was being abused by my boyfriend..im only 14.it gets to the point where I see a razor or a knife and I cant stop myself. Only my best friend knows and she begs me to stop but I cant. Ive managed to keep the scars from my parents cuz they’re clueless. The last few months have been unbearable ive wanted to end it all for so long I cant forgive myself for letting those men do that to me and I dont know what to do anymore..

  • Jackie July 5th, 2014 at 2:33 PM #128

    My daughter is 13 and I found some cuts on her arm when she was getting out of the shower one night. She had a friend over and I told her to pack up and had my husband take her home right then. I knew that this friend had cut herself in the past but she said she didn’t do it anymore. I was scared and mad and hurting and I had no idea what to do. I had talked to my daughter about this before because of the friend and she told me she would never do it. I made her let me check her whole body and she had cuts on her arm and both of her legs. I was so mad at her and all I could know for sure was that there was no way I was going to allow her to keep hurting herself even if I had to handcuff her to me! I ask her why and she said she just wanted to and I called mobile crisis and let her talk to a therapist over the phone but she wouldn’t talk to her. I took away her I pod and all access to the computer, phone everything I kept her with me 24/7 she was not allowed to go to the bathroom by herself she had to sleep in my room with me. She did good and opened up to me soon. She said she was sorry and that she wouldn’t do it anymore. After two months I let her start earning back her privileges her room and own bed first then electronics and friends. She is doing good now and no more cutting. This is how I dealt with it and it stopped my daughter from doing it. Every site that I read says don’t yell at them don’t punish them, get them therapy. I did not do that but I stopped the cutting and showed my daughter that her and her problem were my number one priority and that I love her so much that I can not let her hurt herself. I would have done what ever it took to keep her from cutting even if I had to handcuff her to me to make sure that she didn’t do it again and I think that is what these kids want they want to know that we love them and care about them and will do whatever it takes to take care of them.

  • GoodTherapy Admin July 5th, 2014 at 5:53 PM #129

    Thank you for your comment. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • iz July 5th, 2014 at 10:01 PM #130

    thank you so much someone who understands me!

  • serena July 7th, 2014 at 10:47 PM #131

    I am trying to help my son, but I am having a very hard time. My son is 15, pdd/adhd, although up until about the last 6 – 8 mons, he had been doing extremely well, he got out of special ed, stayed mostly on honor roll for about the last 3 yrs. Last year he got his 1st gf, at first I was very happy for him, bc he always had probs socially. After a while though things went bad, each time they split he took it very bad. Seemed after a while he was on a emotional rollercoaster w her, depending if she was seeing him that week or not.. her dad didnt want them dating, and finally after this last break up, I have said no more contact, bc he cut up his left forearm.. when I found out he had did it, a day later, we talked for a long time, he told me he wasnt trying to kill himself, just very upset. I understand that, and made him appt w dr, bc he was still depressed, thought he may need meds for awhile. What I dont understand is after he cut himself he msgd to let his ex gf know what he had done, then I took him to dr appt, they set up for us to have psyc evalv but the appt was at 5pm, we got done at the dr referring at 330, to drive to appt takes about 3 – 4 hrs to drive, so I had to call them that we couldnt make psyc evalv, but when we got hm, he msgd his ex gf friend to send her msg that he was being put in mental hospital. I just thought it was kind of odd, and I am having a hard time getting through to him, I just want him to be ok, I love him, I am really just trying to help him, bc I love him… but I just dont know how to fix this, how to help him feel better.

  • Holly July 8th, 2014 at 7:53 PM #132

    Hi, I’m 14 and I’ve been cutting for about a year and a half. I want to share what I believe is the best way to deal with finding out your teen/child cuts. First of all do not yell at your child and threaten them by saying you’ll take them to the hospital if they ever do it again. Secondly I don’t think it’s at all helpful to take away what they are using if they are set in their ways they will find something else to cut with instead help your teen/child give their blades to you or flush them down the toilet. Thirdly do not assume your teen/child is suicidal it is not always the case in fact in most cases self harm is what is keeping them from suicide. When you approach your teen/child tell them you are not mad at them and DON’T ask why they are depressed it is never a straightforward or easy to answer ask your teen/child if they would like to see a professional to assist them. Lastly stay out of their personal business and friendships this only pushes your teen/child to become more secretive about their behavior. Good luck :)

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team July 9th, 2014 at 8:47 AM #133

    Thank you for your comment, Holly. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Reginald July 9th, 2014 at 8:28 PM #134

    Thanks for great advices. i love this article.

  • Marti July 11th, 2014 at 3:42 PM #135

    Just coming in to give an update on my daughter, who I found out was cutting a few months ago. She refused to talk to anyone and said that her way of stopping was putting it behind her like it never happened. The few times I brought it up, she immediately got on the defense. She was attending church, even went to church camp so I was feeling good about her. I thought the past few months were looking up.

    Then one morning I go to her room, and she’s gone! She left a long letter informing her dad and I that she started cutting again. She said she cut at night in her room when she couldn’t sleep and thoughts started crowding her mind. She said she was afraid if she stayed, she feared what she was capable of. She said she was moving in w/ a friend who can help her. Her letter went on to say how much she loved us and that one day we will hear from her.

    Needless to say, we were beside ourselves wondering if we’ll ever see her again. We called our pastor to pray for her, and I took her letter to his wife and for her to pray w/ me. My daughter had a good relationship w/ this lady and had confided in her about the cutting during church camp. As I was leaving church, I got a phone call from my daughter crying hysterically asking me to please come pick her up. She gave me directions and I immediately went and got her. She said she hit bottom and now wanted help. I set up an appointment to speak to the pastor’s wife and she is also now seeing a LMHC weekly. She’s learning new ways to cope, one she was told to hold an ice cube and let it melt in your hand. She’s also taking some meds to sleep, being that’s when the demons seem to come out in her head.

    It’s going to be a long road, but at least she wants to stop this time. I learned that you can’t force your child to stop. They have to want to stop.

  • Anonymous July 12th, 2014 at 5:52 PM #136

    This makes me sick. This is not the way to help your daughter. If my parents found out I cut and took away everything that I like then I would leave, run away. Pathetic. You’re supposed to make your child feel wanted and loved and let them know you want to help them stop, not cold turkey. Cutting is an addiction. You don’t force an alcoholic to stop drinking all at once because they’ll feel too much withdrawal symptoms. It makes me disappointed in how parents think these days. I bet you made your daughter feel fantastic right? Take away the things she likes, basically grounding her, making her feel like she’s in trouble. If only it wasn’t too late, then she wouldn’t have done it in the first place. So you go ahead and do whatever it takes to make your daughter feel loved.. But just know that you only started feeling like this once you realized what she was doing.

  • PerfectLittleAngel July 14th, 2014 at 5:59 PM #137

    Honestly, I only do it because I like seeing the blood and I hate people ask about it. I have a huge scar down my arm from burning myself constantly. Honestly to me it’s more of a masochistic thing for me. some people just do it because it’s cool. but those of the teenagers that do it because it’s a way to release, write music, play a sport, do something to release. hit a volleyball against a wall for a few hours. spike it. hard. that’s my way.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team July 15th, 2014 at 9:13 AM #138

    Thank you for your comment, PerfectLittleAngel. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • LivingInWonderland July 18th, 2014 at 5:02 PM #139

    My mom said she has to go to court because I used to cut last year.
    Will I be taken away to child protection services? I dont want that to happen.

  • Brookieeesnookieee July 26th, 2014 at 4:18 PM #140

    I never heard of going to court. And no you shouldn’t go into foster care or nothing. I know from experience

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