Struggling to find help and guidance for my daughter whos almost 12 who began to self harm about 3mo ago. So far shes tried cutting herself with paper clips multiple times while at school. We’ve got a dr apt coming up and she started counseling yesterday. Anybody been through this or going through this. What did you do?
Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. Self Harm Trigger Warning
Honestly, I did this as a teen because I felt I had no control over my life. It was the only thing I seemed to have control over and it helped my anger. No amount of help helped me. It just played itself out. I know that doesn’t help you much,but just wanted to share my personal experience.
I use to be a self harder n it’s actually a cry out for help because something has happened to make her feel like she doesn’t matter so something at home or school or even friends something has happened . You’re doing the right steps tho. Counseling was the first step and also the doctors appointment but I do want to warn you they may want to put her on medications to try or they may send her to an inpatient facility that can help her.
Self harming can be a number of reasons of why she’s doing it :
And her doing it to control something in her life
Give her a journal and let her know it’s her journal only and nobody else can read it but HER (so not you not dad not siblings not counselor NOBODY but her) get her a fidget toy
Teach her tapping so when she feels the urge to self harm have her get a rubber band or hair tie or even her fingertips will work n have her use those on her wrist instead.
Stress balls too
At school tho since they’re probably aware I would definitely tell them not to give her anymore paper clips and to not give her any papers that have staples in them n to keep her in the front of the classroom just to keep an eye on her.
I know when I was her age I was in a behavioral school also which helped a lot too
I did this as a teen, too, and struggle with it to this day. No amount of counselling or therapy helped me. I did it because I would rather my pain be physical than emotional or mental.
My older sister did this as well and therapy and medication worked for her.
Find a mental health facility and walk in. Don’t leave until u see someone
I did it as a teen. Definitely need to figure out what is causing her to do it and fix it asap.
I did this. Started at 14. I had childhood trauma that stemmed from it. I also have several mental health issues. Please just dont get mad at her. And be there for her as much as you can. Cutting is also like a drug. When you cut it literally feels like a high. She’s hurting and something is the cause of this. Let her talk to you when she’s ready. She needs lots of support. Your already doing the right thing by having her in therapy and getting into a doctor which I hope is a psychiatrist. Good luck
For myself, I was in so much pain. From home trauma to school trauma to outside the house trauma. I needed to feel the physical pain to help not feel the emotional pain, it was the only thing that made since. I tried stopping so many times but it becomes an addiction I’m now 31 years old and have only been “clean” for 2-3 years. It felt like it wasn’t as bad because I wasn’t doing drugs or drinking but the scars are a constant reminder and it SUCKS. For me, I just didn’t want to be in pain anymore and with physical pain you know there’s an end to it but it really the emotional pain that needs to be healed. I needed control in my life when I had absolutely no control over anything, not even my own body so in my pre-teen/teen brain I took control. I would definitely suggest sitting down with her privately but don’t make it weird or to formal it needs to feel natural and safe without judgment and if you show your own sadness for what she may tell you she may shut down and not say anything else because she doesn’t want to shock you or make you sad or even mad. Ask her what SHE wants to do, give her control over parts of her life that make since for her to make decisions about. And ONE BILLION PERCENT NEVER EVER EVER JUDGE OR SHAME HER! She is going through something because self harm doesn’t come from nothing.
On a side note medication can work for some but in my experience it doesn’t work for most. It’s just a bandaid and without solving the problems that are causing the pain the wound will continue to bleed out.
I did it too…don’t come down on her hard,she’s suffering and it honestly can feel like the only escape… It’s a way to relieve the pain you feel without being a burden on anyone else or having to tell anyone how you feel… just be there for her and get her help … She’s probably not suicidal …just in alot of pain! The worst thing would be to fuss at her or make her feel bad about it… just love her through it and get her some help momma
The one time I cut myself as a teen was because I was in so much emotionial pain I wanted to die but I couldn’t bring myself to commit suicide. Even though I felt like it. Is she being bullied? Did a crush break her heart? Has she lost friends? There are many reasons a teen can feel that much pain. You are doing the right thing by consulting a therapist. However you should let her see therapist alone if you really want her to open up to them. Eventually she will open up to you too after some therapy. She needs therapy to be her safe space. Until she opens up give her hugs often and tell her you love her as often as possible. Sometimes it is hard to feel that love when all you feel is darkness, but enough love can conquer anything.
Honestly, for now…just love on her and always come from a place of love and trying to understand. I’d start with a heart to heart and see what’s laying so heavy on her. Having an 11 year old, sometimes I think we are too tough on kids and forget they are just that…kids. Hoping you can find a professional that helps her work through it! In my opinion sometimes mental facilities really aren’t the greatest, self harm is a lot more common than people like to think and it’s usually coming from a place of emotional overload. Thinking of you mom, and your daughter too!!!
My daughter started this at 12 as well (she’s the oldest) She learned from a friend who was a cutter. That’s how she coped when her gma died… Her father and I spoke to her separately. I’ve raised my kids to know they could always come to me to talk about anything yet she couldn’t about that. I said don’t be embarrassed. I explained how it was unhealthy. I have her a journal/notebook to write out her feelings. I said you can swear in here, write a letter to yourself, share what you’re feeling. Not only when you get the urge to cut but whenever. It worked itself out and she was done within 6 months. What helped me relate, I did the same as a teen. I knew why. Please don’t put her down or have her think that something is definitely wrong with her. Be there every way you can. Always keep and open mind and a listening ear. Best of luck for you both
Not going to tell you my child’s experience on an public site
But I will say there are some great groups people parents in your situation with lots of advice
I did it was a teen I started at 11 and have tendency to try to revert back as a 30 year old when I feel like I have no control. Reason I started was beacuse I was a big kid who was getting bullied and my parents would fight, I thought I was losing control of everything I knew and loved and the pain numbed that.
I was that girl as a teenager, and let me tell you something. It had nothing to do with wanting to kill myself. I wanted my mother to listen to me and pay attention to what I was telling her for over a year. It wasn’t what she wanted to hear but it took a big argument and me cutting my wrists right in front of her. Needless to say, she listened after that. I got sent off to a facility and was out in less than 3 weeks when I finally got it through to them that I wasn’t doing it because I was suicidal. I was trying drastic measures to prove a point. Honestly, being sent there hurt our relationship even more for a couple years. As a mother of 3 now, I’m not sure how I would have handled it differently. But when she dropped me off I felt pretty abandoned and like she still didn’t get it. Please, just listen to her. Don’t yell, don’t accuse, don’t even get mad. None of it is worth it. She’s a teenager now - be real with her. Before you know it, she’ll be an adult and your relationship with her will surely affect her decisions in these most important years to come. My mom is my best friend now but it took a lot of hard years for us to get here. A lot of people judge for parents acting like their children’s “friend” but sometimes that’s what a teenager really needs. You can be both, just do your best to be there and listen listen listen.
I did this as a teen. as soon as it starts its an addiction. I wasn’t even depressed when I started I started bc a friend insisted I did it with her and as a young girl who wanted to fit in I did. then it was my comfort, my hobby.
Something that helped me when I was younger, it do henna where I wanted to cut and I’d make different designs each time
Yes, been through it with two of my adult children.
There isn’t much you can do, TBH. Just be there; be a safe place for her, don’t push but make it clear she can talk to you. If you or another family member were bullied; explain how you dealt with it.
Please, do NOT trivialise her feelings by saying “ignore them” or something similar. Whatever it is has pushed her to a point where she feels she can’t cope.
She may not talk to you - you could be too close and she may think you won’t understand (kids think we’re ancient) but she may talk to a family member closer to her own age.
Do you know her friends? Could you get some info from them? She doesn’t need to know - but it’d give you a base to work on.
Is she doing it to kill her self or cause serious harm? Then…emergency room asap!
If it’s more of a pain release or control issue then counseling. Some kids do it for attention also. And it’s more of deep scratches.
Good luck. I have been thru self harm with my son. It’s so hard not to be able to help our babies