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Parents Helping Teens To Disassociate Self Harming Behaviors

Parents Helping Teens To Disassociate Self Harming Behaviors

Self-harm behavior is a serious issue that afflicts many teenagers. According to HealthyPlace, nearly 90 percent of those who self harm begin during their teenage or adolescent years, and approximately 2 million cases are reported each year in the US. It is likely that the rate of occurrence is actually much higher because many cases go unreported.

Teens self harm because they are attempting to cope with internal turmoil, emotional stress or an unmanaged psychological, mental or social disorder. It is also important to note that there are distinct differences between self harm and suicidal behavior, and each behavior has its own pathology.

If your teen is struggling with self harm, here are a few ways you can help them disassociate from these habits and seek healthy stress relief.

1. Remain Calm and Collected

As a parent, it is natural to be extremely upset and worried if your teen is engaging in self harm behavior. Do your best to work through those initial reactions of shock and anger on your own, before you approach your teen about the topic. Setting the tone with a calm demeanor will make him or her more likely to open up. Your role is to diffuse stress and offer solutions and support, not add extra stress to an already charged situation.

2. Enlist A Professional

Self harm is not run-of-the-mill teenage angst, it is a serious problem that likely requires the guidance of trained professionals. When tackling this tricky topic, you don’t have to go it alone. Psychologists, counselors and therapeutic treatment programs, not only have the clinical background necessary, they also have experience working with other teens who have successfully disassociated with the behavior.

3. Uncover The Underlying Trigger

When you talk to your teen about self harm, instead of focusing on the act itself, talk to them about the thoughts or feelings that lead them to self harm. It could be stress from school, strain in a family or friend relationship, coping with past abuse, depression, anxiety, etc. Self harm is a symptom of a deeper problem and addressing the core issue is the only way to disassociate from the behavior.

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