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ReInvestments22
ReInvestmen... asks:
Q:

I coach a 13 year old female who just told me she is cutting herself when she is angry at her parents.  What should I do?

I coach a 13 year old female who said she has been cutting herself for a while now. She said the anger is usually because of her parents. Should I tell the parents?? I have never met them and I am not sure if they have harmed her in the past.
In Topics: Cutting
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jun 11, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

It's a great compliment to you that one of your players trusts you enough to confide in you about her cutting. That means you are a great mentor and listener.

Unfortunately, it's becoming all too common for teens to deal with their emotional pain through self injury. The problem is that self injury is truly only a way to avoid or delay ones actual feelings. Also, teens are often unable to gauge how deep their actual cuts are, which can lead to unintentional, but serious injury.

Your player's safety is the most important thing right now, and although she may be upset if you talk to her parents, she needs to get professional help so she can learn more appropriate coping skills. Remember that when a youth tells an adult something like this, they are really reaching out for help. First, set aside a time to talk with your player when no other teammates are present. Next, give her empathy for what she's going through using a statement such as "I know you must be hurting right now." Explain to her that there are better ways of dealing with her pain and that talking to someone about her feelings can really help. Next, give her the option of you talking to her parents or her talking to her parents. It's better if she chooses to talk to her parents herself and even offer to be with her when she tells them. If she wants to talk to them on her own ask her for a specific day she will do this, and check with her to make sure she followed through with it. If she absolutely refuses to talk to them, let her know that you will have to tell them because you want to make sure she's safe.

We talk to people everyday who are in the same situation, so feel free to call our free hotline if you want to talk to someone further about how to handle this situation.

Keep up the good work coach!
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000

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Additional Answers (6)

Devi
Devi writes:
I used to do that, I am 28 years old, I stopped a year ago.
I think you should not tell her parents because they are the reason she cuts herself, it could get worse, just talk to her, let her trust you, become a friend. I am very lonely so instead of talking to some one about what was going on I would cut myself.
Hope you can help her.
> 60 days ago

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dgraab
dgraab , Parent writes:
I'm saddened to hear that you are in this situation and facing this difficult decision. While you mentioned that you don't have a relationship with the parents, and you may have a good one with their daughter, you must consider the serious danger this child is in when she cuts herself. It's very important that she get some professional help as soon as possible.

If you are uncomfortable confronting the parents with the information their daughter shared with you, please involve another authority figure at the school (principal? school psychologist?) or at the sports program/organization where you coach (a city manager? recreation dept manager? executive director?). Her parents and licensed mental health professionals must be involved as soon as possible to help this teen.

There are also some resources on Education.com that you and the other adults in this child's life should review....

Teen Cutting info center
http://www.education.com/topic/teen-cutting/

Other JustAsk Questions on this topic, with Expert Answers:
http://www.education.com/answers/teen-cutting/

Good luck in your efforts to find her the support she needs.
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
One of the most challenging things about being a mentor or coach is helping young women find  themselves. In today's society (which i think is a zoo lol), it is hard to do this. So many conflicting messages are being sent to youth. I would first try talking with her about the "cutting". The cutting is related to a pain she has. More than likely she hasn't told mom or dad about this pain or she has and nothing ever came out of it to help her deal with it. I would also do some online research regarding "cutting". Some say that ages 13-14 are the toughest for young girls. However, I would suggest that daily intervention be administered. Offer time everyday to help her with the issues that are causing her stress. Try to implement a plan on how to solve or deal with past pain or current issues instead of cutting.
> 60 days ago

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MsEmpathy
MsEmpathy writes:
I use to do this. Don't tell her parents or she won't trust you anymore. Your the only person she thinks cares about her feelings thats why she told you her situation.Just continue to care for her this might stop the cutting , feeling  like there is someone who actually cares. This is what stopped me . I haven't done it in five years.Plus if you've been this kids coach and don't know her parents this shows how concerned they are about where she is after school and who is there child being supervised by.You should meet them but don't tell them yet.
> 60 days ago

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MrsKren
MrsKren writes:
Go with her to talk to the social worker at her school.
> 60 days ago

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ihatemyself108
ihatemyself... writes:
Hi, ReInvestments22. Im 13 and my coach saw my cuts by accident when she was showing me how to hit the volleyball and she said not to that because i was better then that i was ssooooo scared that she was going to tell my mom but she didnt i guess she cares about me she said that if i needed someone to talk to that she and my other coach are their to talk if i needed them i just got lucky but just let her know that you are there for you and if she needs to talk and tell her to TALK TO YOU WHEN SHE IS GOING TO CUT give her one more chance before teling her mom or dad hope thsi helped.

-ihatemyself108
> 60 days ago

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