Unfortunately, many teens self harm. According to Psych Central, 2 to 3 million Americans engage in some type of injuring themselves, and those who do it at one point in their lives may even struggle with it later on. Here are some ways to help your teen daughter who is struggling with a history of self-harm.
Validate Your Child’s Feelings
This is one of the most important things your daughter needs from you when it comes to her history and her feelings. Those who harm themselves are often dealing with serious and difficult feelings, and having a parental figure acknowledge these can help them begin to cope without these actions. Listening to why your child is hurting and understanding what her needs are will go a long way toward helping her.
Knowing the Signs
If your child harmed herself in the past, it’s always important to be aware of the signs of self-harm for later on in her life. She may start cutting or doing something else to harm herself in the future, so make sure to look for signs like
- Wearing long sleeves/pants in hot weather
- A collection of sharp objects she keeps hidden
- Wounds that do not heal with time
- Becoming anti-social or not wanting to spend time on activities she used to like
Getting Her Help
Self-harm is serious and can even be dangerous. In addition, it is also usually a manifestation of other feelings, such as depression or anxiety, and can be a sign of a serious mental disorder. Making sure your child has access to therapy is incredibly important to her recovery because she might need professional help to work through these issues. Many therapists also recommend family therapy for teens, and you can be a part of this. In some cases, medication may even be necessary.
Check in with Your Child
After a child goes through something like this, it can be hard not to constantly watch over her. Instead, though, it is better to check in with her periodically. Ask her how she is and ask her to talk to you about anything she is going through. When she does, always remember to stay calm. Your calm reaction will ensure that she comes back to you with her problems and trusts you with them.
Need More Help?
You don’t have to deal with this alone. There are experts who can help you with this situation. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them because the risks and stress are too great.