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Anonymous
Anonymous asks:
Q:

My 13 yr old is cutting herself

Please help I have just found out my daughter is sending pictures of herself in her undergarments. Because I confronted her about her behavior she said that she is cutting herself. When asked why she said IT WAS MY FAULT.  I have always tried to be there for her and don't understand why she would blame me.  She said she cuts herself at night with scissors on nights that she has a bad day!  I asked if she has bad days @ school and she said NO ONLY @ HOME. I really don't know what to do to help my daughter but I am scared of losing her she is my ONLY daughter and my OLDEST child of 4.  Please help with any advice that you can give I am afraid that I am waiting too long to get her help!
In Topics: Cutting
> 60 days ago

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Expert

MomSOS
Oct 9, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

It is never too late to get help for your child. The optimal time to get help is as soon as you realize there is a serious problem.  Cutting is a serious problem, and a growing cultural problem among teens, especially young girls.  Here are some ideas and guidelines that may help you deal with this issue.

First, finding out that your daughter is engaging in self-injury is alarming. It is important not to take on personal blame, but to take this problem seriously. From what you say in your question, it sounds like the pictures your daughter sent are the tip of an iceberg, under which cutting is another layer. Behaviors like these almost always give a signal that the person is stressed, and is hurting. Young adolescents often act out their stress and emotional upsets by turning to cutting and other forms of self-injurious behaviors (SIB's).

Second, the good news is that your daughter told you she was cutting.
SIB's are often done in secrecy, and kids are not always able to let the adults in when confronted. The reasons that your daughter is having "bad days" at home need to be understood; but whatever the causes are, even though she is casting blame, they are not your fault. They may be  deeper than even your daughter herself can understand. As irrational as it may seem, in many cases, the SIB is an attempt to solve a problem of psychic pain that the person is unable to manage emotionally.

Third, your daughter needs treatment, and there are professionals trained to treat those who injure themselves. Start with your daughter's doctor, and ask who in your locality is trained to treat SIB's in young teens. While it does not help to take on guilt, it is important to take responsibility for getting your child to the proper mental health provider; and to also be prepared that treatment may involve yourself and other family members. While SIB's are not due to parental fault,  there may be stress in the family that is affecting the person who is cutting. Any familial stresses must be addressed if the person is to fully recover.

It is normal for you to be afraid that you will lose your daughter; however, the reality is that despite any anger or blame she is casting, she needs her parent(s) more than ever to recover from this problem.  There is every reason to hope that by getting her the proper treatment as soon as you can, your daughter will be able to find more effective coping strategies, and the entire family unit will benefit.

Bette J. Freedson, LICSW, LCSW, CGP
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Additional Answers (4)

Gerry1023
Gerry1023 writes:
please by all means get real counseling we almost lost our granddaughter from this it starts out small things and gets much worse, contact your school and utilize every availabel program you can there are many , really many that cost nothing, we will keep you in our prayers.  My granddaughter still has thoughts of doing this but has learned to direct her thoughts in a different area.
> 60 days ago

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samanthadelgado
samanthadel... writes:
tell her all the bad things you did when you where her age and tell her not be be the way you where you want her to have a normal or better life than what you had whene you where unger
> 60 days ago

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edconsultant
edconsultant writes:
I know of another family that just struggled through the same thing. A 13 year old daughter, the oldest of five was exhibiting this behavior. The most interesting thing to consider about the cutting is that it is considered an addiction and should therefore be treated as one. There is a feeling of relief from tension that apparently takes place with cutting and that is what makes it addicting.

Having said this and having read some of the other comments, it is my hope that you realize that counseling and interaction with a family physician or pediatrician is absolutely imperative. Do not ignore this. This child is trying to get your attention and to ignore this will only drive her to seek out other ways to get your attention that may be far worse than what she is doing now.

I would also work alongside of the school as much as possible. If things continue or become worse you may want to consider bringing her home to reconnect with her and educate her at home for a while. The other family I mentioned has done this and it made a big difference with their daughter because the peer pressure was gone, the other "cutters" were out of the picture, the focus was on being a family and healing relationships at home. The girl also had the chance to enjoy some hobbies and passions that she previously had no time for being in a traditional brick and mortar institution. It is now two years later and she is excelling in high school through a non traditional correspondence program, she has been recognized through some writing awards and she has recently been chosen to participate in a pageant for Ms. Teen Colorado based upon her academic achievements.

There is hope.

Monique Zarcone
M.A. of Ed in Teaching and Learning
> 60 days ago

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ihatemyself108
ihatemyself... writes:
i'm 13 and i cut myself and i honestly dont like to talk to anyone about  it. I do it  because of the pain i feel every single day of my life . I hate myself and i hate my life i wish i would just die ! But your daughter feels like you betrayed her by yelling @ her because of what she did. I think your daughter maybe regrets what she did and now feels regret and she self harms because of that and she feels sad inside. Maybe she hates herself for it ? I know im only 13 but i know what shes going through just try talking to her :) it might help u never know ? Bye and good luck
> 60 days ago

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