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mommabk
mommabk asks:
Q:

I just found out that 4years ago my daughter would cut herself. I had no idea & I'm very scared i don't know how or if i should bring this up to her?

In Topics: Teen issues, Cutting, Communicating with my child (The tough talks)
> 60 days ago

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Expert

BarbK
Nov 5, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Whether it happened today or 4 years ago, I would seek out help for her.  Usually people cut themselves to release the pain; therefore feeling better.  If she hasn't resolved those issues, then there is a chance it might happen again.

First thing you need to do is hug your daughter.  Tell her how much you love her and you would hate for anything to happen to her.  I would also apologize for not seeing the signs. This is not to make you feel guilty, but to let her know that you really do care.  Like you said you didn't see the signs and chances are she was probably very good at hiding them.  Reminder her that you will always be there for her.  then listen.  Listen to what is troubling her.  Listen to the good things she shares with you as well.  When she is talking to you, really pay attention.  Stop what you are doing, face her and listen.  If you are in the middle of something where you can't give her your full attention, then ask her if you can do it at a convenient time for both you like after dinner.  Keep the lines of communication open.  She might not tell you right way why she was cutting.  Don't push, just be there if this happens.  A professional can help figure that part out.

The next thing you may want to do is get her professional help.  Some children feel more comfortable talking to someone other than a family member.  Many towns have free or low cost counseling services.  Also, check with you family's health insurance company for what is covered.  One more place to check is your employer.  Many companies today have employee services that include mental health.

Education.com has some additional information that you might find helpful.
http://www.education.com/topic/teen-cutting/

Two other resources are listed below.

Now go be with your daughter and tell her how much you love her.  You're doing the right thing by finding out how to help her.
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Additional Answers (7)

Sugarlips
Sugarlips writes:
If a girl, cuts herself, its to relese stress.  If her matter is not helped theres a chance she'll start agian.  Try to find the reson why to resolve this problem. Take her to a theropy, or you be her theropist. She needs to let out her pain.
> 60 days ago

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Wayne Yankus
Wayne Yankus writes:
If you found out now, do bring it up in a non threatening way.  You are in "discovery" and ask what could you have done to help or what signs did the family miss. Don't apologize, however, if she wanted you to see, it would have been obvious. Ask how she is now and offer support and possible counseling. Is she still depressed? Stand by her but ask her to follow up with her physician.

Wayne A. Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics
> 60 days ago

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tjsqueak
tjsqueak writes:
As a parent who went through this experience, I strongly recommend that you sit down and talk with her immediately. I came home one day to find an ambulance in front of my house with my daughter in it. She had slit her arm. I am not a certified therapist, but it ultimately was what my daughter needed. She ended up being hospitalized to secure her safety.
> 60 days ago

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Boys Town National Hotline
Thank you for contacting Education.com

You don't mention your daughter's age, but regardless, it is important that you talk with her about the past cutting. Be yourself when you talk to her, and let her know that you are very concerned about what you have found out.

It is possible that she will deny that she had cut herself, but hear her out and let her explain things in her own words. You want to find out if she is still cutting or doing anything to harm herself. You know your daughter better than anyone so you may get a feeling if she is hiding something from you.

Explain that it is your duty as her mother and as her parent to make sure she is safe. Make an appointment for a check up with her pediatrician for starters. Before the appointment, call ahead to explain the situation to the doctor. Depending on her age, the doctor may want to talk to her without you for a few minutes. A good doctor will understand the issue of self injury and will give you appropriate referrals if necessary.

Now, if your daughter already has a therapist, go directly to the therapist and tell him/her about the cutting, so it can be addressed with your daughter. Either way, you don't want to sweep this information under the rug. It may have been a one-time situation four years ago or maybe an experiment or peer pressure to cut herself, or it could have been something much more serious and is possibly still affecting her today. With professional guidance you will hopefully be able to find some answers.

If you would like to speak with one of our counselors about this situation in more detail, please call or e-mail our Hotline. If you are in need of finding a therapist, we may be able to find one through our database. Our counselors are available 24 hours, 7 days a week to help parents and children through any problem.

Take care and best wishes to you and your daughter. We hope to hear from you soon!

Sincerely,
Cynthia, Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000
hotline@boystown.org
> 60 days ago

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pinkey14
pinkey14 writes:
YOU NEED TO TELL YOU DR>
> 60 days ago

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JC1205
JC1205 writes:
I did "self injurious" behaviors as a teenager and pre-teen.  I did not know about cutting, because if I had, I would likely have been a cutter.  I think kids cut to help balance the pain they feel inside and make sense of it by causing pain on the body.  It does not make sense, but it is like a pressure release valve in a way.  It had some to do with feeling out of control for me.  I suggest connecting with your child as much as possible so she knows you care and are really "there" in every way in her life.  Maybe ask if there are any ways you can help her deal with the pain in her life because you know being a kid is really painful.  Hopefully she will open up to you or have ideas of how you can help.
> 60 days ago

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JC1205
JC1205 writes:
I did "self-injurious" things to myself as a young person, and I did not know about cutting, or I'm sure I would have been a cutter.  I felt a lot of pain during that time in my life, much of it I had no one to talk to about.  Hurting myself was not something I planned in advance.  It was just a way to balance the pain I felt on the inside by causing pain on the outside.  That is the best way I know to describe it.  It helped to make sense of it in a weird way.  For me, I also felt very out of control, and I could control that pain, where other pain was out of control inside of me.  I do not know your relationship with your child, but I suggest connecting as closely as you can with your child.  Let your care be evident, and be willing to see pain you may not have known exists in your child.  Maybe let your child know you see them hurting and remember what a painful time in life the teen years are.  Ask if there is anything you could do to help her through the pain in her life.
> 60 days ago

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