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shy_girl
shy_girl asks:
Q:

My son is cutting himself. How can I help him?

what can i do ? he will not tell me why or anything for that mater.

please i need help so i can help him!!!!
In Topics: Cutting
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Feb 12, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

It’s great that you are reaching out for advice on how to help your son.  It’s also good that you found out about the cutting early on.  Cutting is very dangerous behavior both emotionally and physically.  If left unchecked over time, the cuts can become infected and lead to other health problems.  He may be cutting because he is using it as a way to cope when he feels overwhelmed or depressed.  Many kids who cut themselves do not have suicidal thoughts, but other kids cut themselves and also think about ending their lives.

Even though your son is not giving you much information or sharing his feelings with you, try to be patient and understanding while letting him know that what he is doing is very dangerous.  Tell him that what he is doing is a sign that you and he need help and you are going to be there with him to get back on track.  If you take an approach that you are in this together, rather than single him out as the problem, he may be more likely to view going to therapy as a positive rather than as a punishment.

If your son’s wounds look as though they need medical attention, please take your son to his pediatrician or to the hospital to have them checked as soon as possible.  The next step is to find a family therapist who has experience working with youth who cut and self-harm.  Your son’s doctor or your son’s school counselor or social worker may be able to provide referrals for therapy.  If your school counselor or school social worker has expertise in this area, they may be willing to help.  In the meantime, remove all cutting tools such as razors, knives and scissors from his room and bathroom.  Move the kitchen knives to another area where he can not get to them.  

You are on the right track by reaching out and getting your son the help he needs.  Please continue to provide him with hope and understanding that things will get better and that you are always there for him.  With professional help and your guidance, he can learn positive coping skills which he will be able to use throughout his lifetime.  

Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000
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beanner21
Feb 4, 2010
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Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
Hi,my name is Erika and I am 21 now....but only a few years ago when I was about 15 yrs old I started cutting and I kept a lot to myself. I wouldn't tell my parents why or anything kind of sounding your son is doing with you. I thought that was the easy way out of all my problems. I found out it wasn't the easy way of releasing my problems even though it was making me feel good at that moment. I saw how it was making my parents stress out and worried. I am one that doesn't want people to worry and don't want to hurt people, but in those moments I was in my own world thinking if I talk about my issues and my problems to my parents it would make them send me off to like a mental unit and make them worry more than they were. I didn't want to be labeled crazy,mental,psycho etc. and thought I could deal with it on my own, even though in the long way I couldn't at those times but I couldn't see it. I was a teen and still a kid just like others teens and kids, but I didn't think I was normal or regular thought I was different from others my age. My parents really got onto me trying to help me when I wasn't ready at the time for help from them and were not giving me space which made other problems and I acted more out on that. I was sent to a counselor in 7th grade and still see her today which has made a big difference in my life. My parents couldn't handle it and needed help and I didn't like it but I was sent to a Child/adolescent psychiatric unit which was locked. It took awhile for me to progress but the staff were really caring and helpful, even though at times I thought they were out to get me but that was when I acted up. I made a lot of lifelong friends which were nice. I finally progressed and got moved to residential which was a great feeling and step up. It was scary and a long process which took days and weeks but it helped. The place I went to was Brattleboro Retreat in Vermont.

I have a question which is would you be willing to say if it's just cuts that are little cuts or really deep cuts that are really serious? My parents were really scared and worried about me but they knew it was best that I get help. They were scared about sending me away but I think a lot of people were there for them and helped them throughout the whole time so they weren't as worried. If I was a parentand my kid was is acting out in different kinds of behaviors that are self harming to themselves and my kid wouldn't tell me anything I would seriously get help as soon as possible before it turns into anything really serious or could turn out into suicidal thoughts or actual trying to commit suicide. Anything that is even little self harm is as serious as something big. Maybe keep trying to talk to him, try to hang out and have some time together.Don't try to force him to talk about that stuff like give him space but also he might come out a little more on his own. Talk to him about seeing if he would go to a counselor. If he doesn't say anything and things still keep going on that worries you try to find a counselor and get him some help. I don't know much what to do but I just want to let you know a little more how that teenage or kid feels when they're doing these kind of self harm behaviors like cutting. Please try hard not to give up, it can be hard at times, but if he gets help it can change most of the time into good and maybe more connection between you and your son which will make you feel better I think and probably make him feel better at the same time. I'm not a professional but I just wanted to somehow help. Stick in there and hope all goes well in this journey. Take care.

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Additional Answers (5)

dgraab
dgraab , Parent writes:
Hello, I'm very sorry to hear about your son's cutting.

This is a very dangerous behavior, and he needs professional help. Please consult your family doctor, a child psychologist or school counselor who can help your son in person as soon as possible.

Please know that there are other families who are also suffering with this issue, and who have asked similar questions:
http://www.education.com/answers/teen-cutting/

One organization that offers supports to teens and families in these situations is Boys Town National Hotline (a JustAsk Expert and Reference partner):
http://www.education.com/answers/profile/Boys+Town+National+Hotline/

They have a toll-free number you can call for immediate support: 1-800-448-3000.
> 60 days ago

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taxllady
taxllady writes:
MY son did this once.  I was very scared when it happened.  I gently spoke to him about using knives and then removed all the knives except one from the kitchen just in case he was tempted to do this again.  It left him with scars on his chest and tummy. They were just flesh wounds and a little aloe and cocoa butter took care of the scars.  I spoke to his doctor and we were all alerted and kept a keen eye on him.  This happened almost a year ago and has not happen since.  

If you child will not open up to you (and sometimes depending on what is bothering him) then you need to get him some help.  A good link is sometime the phsycologist at his school.  They can pull him out of class and get information out of him that you sometimes can't and a referral can be done through the school.  There are sometimes county run programs if you don't have a regular doctor or insurance.  Your school councilor can also get you a referral to services from Boys Town
> 60 days ago

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BarbK
BarbK , Teacher writes:
He is in pain and needs professional help.  Don't wait.  Most health insurance companies will cover treatment.  I just finished writing an online course that dealt with cutting and it is a serious matter.
> 60 days ago

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ihatemyself108
ihatemyself... writes:
Hi, my name is Marissa im 13 and i cut myself, i never talk to anyone about it because i think that they will think of me differently or dangerous or something and my mom saw them on my wrist one time and she asked what happened and i said that the cat had scratched me and she believed it. Another time i was wearing shorts and i wast aware that my scars from the cutting were actually that noticeable and so she asked again what happened and i said that my dog was sitting on my lap and the doorbell rang so she scratched me but she didnt believe it this time she said that to stop lying tp her and its pretty obvious that im cutting myself but she couldn't understand why so she put me in therapy and i never talked to the therapist because i thought what would she know about im going through you know like she do-sent self harm so what the hell???? All i wanted was someone to hold me in their arms and cry with me and just tell me that everything was going to be OK and that they were there for me and that they love me but that still hasn't happened and i cry every night just hoping and praying that someday that will happen . Your son is worried to talk to you about the self harming issue because he probably thinks that you will think of him differently and judge him because of what hes doing and if he dosent want to takl then just say ok whenever your ready i WILL ALWAYS BE HERE FOR YOU and i love you sooo much , your son is obiously in pain and he  needs time to think things over so all you can do is DONT GIVE UP ON HIM NEVR!!!!!!!!!!!!! please never ever give up on him

-Marissa
> 60 days ago

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HighSchoolTeach
HighSchoolT... writes:
You mind find the following articles helpful:

http://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/g201308/teenager-self-injures/#?insight[search_id]=6b2675b3-1a2d-4d41-962c-749f132b947e&insight[search_result_index]=1

And:

http://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/family/teenagers/ask/why-do-i-cut-myself/

I hope they help you and your son!
> 60 days ago

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