The Danger of Self-Harm and Cutting

Cutting and self-harm can be dangerous behaviors when your kids are engaging in them. Self-harming behaviors can be the sign of different issues going on with your child. If you notice that your child is engaging in any behaviors of self-harm or cutting, they may benefit from outside intervention, such as therapy or counseling. These behaviors can become worse over time, especially if the underlying issues are not addressed. Remember that behavior is a form of communication. To help your kids with cutting and other behaviors resulting in self-harm, you need to have an understanding of what these types of behaviors might be communicating. When you understand the motivations behind the behaviors, you can start to find solutions to support your child.

Learning More Information

By learning more about cutting and self-harm, you can be more comfortable with discussing these things with your child. You might feel uncomfortable or distressed with the behavior itself, especially when your kid is doing something as shocking as cutting. By educating yourself on topics that are unfamiliar to you, you can lessen your own feelings of shock when approaching your child. While you may not fully understand the motivations of the behaviors and your child will likely need professional interventions to work through this, you can at least support your child and be there for them. We want to be able to speak with compassion and understanding. Remember that they are in a fragile state and need to know that you love them. By learning more about these behaviors, you can minimize your risk of making your child feel bad about themselves. You can assure them that this is something you can help them resolve.

Signs of Self-Harm

Cutting is one of the most common forms of self-harming behaviors. However, any behavior that results in some form of scarring or self-mutilation may be considered self-harm. Some other common forms of self-harm can be things like deep scratching, burning, or hitting oneself. You might see some of these signs like scars or bruises on your child’s body. They usually appear on the arms, but can be on other body parts, as well. You might even notice that they seem to be covering up specific body parts with their clothing. For example, if your child is wearing long-sleeve shirts or long pants in the summer months, they may be covering up scars on their arms from cutting. 

Reasons for Self-Harm and Cutting

Self-harm and cutting are considered maladaptive behaviors and might be your child’s way of coping with feelings of internal duress. They might feel a temporary release from the behavior, as the pain that they feel externally distracts them from their internal pain. When your child is engaging in this behavior, they are looking for relief from their inner turmoil. They have found something that helps them deal with the pain. However, the relief is only temporary. They need to seek support and help to find effective means of managing their inner thoughts and feelings.

Kids engaging in cutting and self-harm may be dealing with low levels of self-esteem and might even be experiencing suicidal ideations. They may also have other issues, like an addiction or an eating disorder. They will most likely need the support of professionals to help them learn to cope with their stress and talk about their feelings. They might have some underlying issues of depression, bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder. Once you and your child understand the roots of their behaviors, then the appropriate treatment can begin. By seeking help from a professional, you and your child can better understand the reasons behind their self-harm or cutting.

As parents, we do not want to see our kids hurt and we may feel especially alarmed when our child is the one inflicting pain upon themselves. We can help them by reacting calmly to the behavior and being open to talking about it. Remember that this is a way of communicating that something is going wrong inside. Our children can find solutions to their issues and effective coping mechanisms that lead to growth and fulfillment rather than harm and self-destruction. When we intervene with these issues early on, we can help our child from developing more issues down the road.

You may need to work on some of your own feelings about your child’s behavior. Make sure to seek support when you feel overwhelmed. No one likes to see their child in pain; be strong for them by also managing your own emotions. By doing so, you can show your child that you care about them and love them no matter what.

Listen to “Interview with a Mom: Cutting Free” on Spreaker.

Self-harm and cutting may be shocking for us to witness. We may feel surprised and upset that our child is resorting to such extreme means of dealing with their pain. Our kids are using this behavior as a means of temporarily relieving internal duress. We can help to support them by remaining calm and allowing them to express themselves openly and without judgment. These behaviors might get worse if they go ignored or untreated. Look out for some of the warning signs. If your child is wearing long-sleeve shirts or long pants on hot days, they might be covering up new cuts or scars. While this behavior is shocking and distressing, there is hope for our kids. Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center is here for you and your kid. We can help your child learn better ways of dealing with their internal feelings and help them build their self-esteem. Call us today at (303) 443-3343.

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