Kids can be mean, and many young people feel left out, uncool, ugly, and misunderstood.
There are different ways teens handle these feelings, and unfortunately, many of the ways are unhealthy.
Some young people try to manage their feelings by cutting. Cutting and other forms of self-harm are becoming more common among teens and pre-teens. Parents must be watchful for the warning signs of cutting, such as scars or marks on the forearms or legs, a teen that always wears long sleeves, and a teen that is withdrawn and unwilling to talk about what is bothering them.
If you have discovered that your child is cutting, there are some things you should do:
- First of all, eliminate all immediate danger. Take away knives, razor blades, and other sharp objects and keep them locked up until you are able to get help.
- Next, call a professional. Seek the help of a counselor or therapist who has experience dealing with teen cutters. Take your daughter to be evaluated to find out what the underlying issues are and get treatment that will help her work through her problems in a safe way.
- Finally, stick with it. Disorders like self-harm or eating disorders can take time to overcome. Once your daughter is out of immediate danger and has been helped by a professional, don’t expect all of her problems to be over. She will need to spend time developing healthy ways to manage stress and anxiety, and while she does this, you should be there to encourage her along the way.
Be understanding of her difficult days and above all, don’t give up on her. Let her know you love her and are going to help her get through this.