How to Talk with Your Child About Cutting and Self-Harm

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that teenagers and young adults who engage in self-harm are 25% more likely than their peers to die by suicide within the following year.

If your child is self-harming, it does not mean you have failed as a parent—but it does mean your child needs help. Self-harm is often a coping mechanism used to relieve intense emotions, and a sign that your child may need help learning to process their feelings in a healthy way. As a parent, it is imperative that you step in and help your child get the care they need right away.

Our team at Therapeutic Solutions is prepared to serve you and your child during this time. Call (530) 899-3150 to get the help you need and learn about our teen programs.

Signs of Self-Harming Behaviors

When you suspect your child is hurting themselves, it helps to know what to look for. Self-harm can take a number of different forms, including (but not limited to):

  • Cutting
  • Pulling out their hair
  • Burning
  • Overdosing on drugs or over-the-counter medications
  • Excessive piercing
  • Punching or pinching themselves
  • Carving words or signs into their skin
  • Excessive picking at scabs, scars, etc.

How to Talk to Children Who Are Currently Self-Harming

Remember the following when bringing up the subject of self-harm with your child:

  • Self-harm is a symptom: Teenagers and children who engage in self-destructive behaviors such as cutting often struggle with anxiety disorderdepression, or both. When bringing up your child’s self-harming behaviors, it is important to remember that they typically signify a deeper problem.
  • Don’t stay silent: Self-harm is a sign that your child is emotionally hurting, struggling to process strong emotions, and/or experiencing outside pressure to engage in self-destructive behaviors. Even if your child is resistant to talking about the root problem or admitting that they are self-harming, the worst thing you can do is silently allow it to continue.
  • Get professional help: For most parents, the issue of self-harm is beyond their depth. Don’t be discouraged if you are unable to understand why your child is hurting themselves or if they shut you out. In many cases, addressing self-harm and its underlying problems requires the intervention of experienced mental health professionals.

Behavioral Health for Teenagers & Families in Northern California

You may be devastated, angry, or bewildered to learn that your child is engaging in self-harm, but you are not alone. Our team at Therapeutic Solutions is equipped to compassionately and effectively address a range of mental and behavioral health challenges in teenagers and young adults. We provide flexible treatment options designed to meet your family’s specific needs, including family therapy and more.

Allow us to walk alongside you and support you as you seek to do what’s best for your child. We serve Chico, Butte County, and families throughout Northern California.

Call (530) 899-3150 today to learn more about how we care for struggling teens, or click to schedule your free program assessment.