Self-harm comes in many different forms. Cutting is one of the most popular, but a self-harmer may also burn his or herself with matches, lighters and cigarettes; rub an eraser until it burns the top layer of skin, pick scabs and wounds or puncture the skin.
No matter what form of self-harm is being done, help should be sought out.
I have worked with many parents that have discovered that their teen was self-harming. Their initial reaction to the news was shock, disappointment, anger, and sadness.
Some of the best parents I have worked with have taken a step back and asked how to best deal with this information.
Here are 4 helpful tips to best help your teen.
#1 DO talk to them about it.
Your child needs to know that you are aware of the issues and that you are concerned. Open the lines of communication for them. Ask them how they are feeling, what has led to this behavior, how long it has been happening, etc.
#2 DO NOT react in anger or disgust.
When you open up communication with your teen, even if you may be feeling angry, you want to be sympathetic with them.
You can show that you’re disappointed and sad that they are hurting, but do not punish them as this will encourage the shame they are already feeling and possibly more self-harm.
#3 DO show them that you love them regardless of this negative behavior.
You want to be a safe person for your child, someone they can come to and talk to during their time of recovery. The best way for this to happen is to constantly show them that you love them.
Remind them that you are there for them (this will not translate to them that you condone their behavior, but rather make them feel that they have a support system).
#4 DO NOT wait to be proactive.
If your teen is cutting, or you think your teen may be cutting, (See 5 Signs that your teen may be cutting) then get the help he or she needs today. The first step towards recovery is to seek out professional counseling.
It is hard to feel completely confused and lost as you see your baby struggle. Meet with a professional counselor to develop a specialized treatment plan for healing and recovery.
Call Life Counseling Solutions at 407-622-1770 today to schedule an appointment or book online here! We are here to help you teen and your family.
Author: DeAnn Maccloskey