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Annemarie Lange is a licensed professional counselor in the Philadelphia area that utilizes mindfulness and meditation to help her clients deal with a variety of challenges.
Jan 16, 2018
You’ve recently discovered that your son or daughter is engaging in self harm. You’re likely feeling confused, scared and saddened by this. As parents, it’s one of our primary roles to keep our children safe. When they’re young, we teach them to be careful using scissors and keep them away from knives to protect them from getting cut. It’s so confusing then to find out that your teen is intentionally hurting themselves.
An important thing to keep in mind is YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Per Mental Health America, 15% of teens reported self-harming, and between 17% - 35% of college students report the same.
Some examples of self-harming behaviors include:
Individuals who engage in self harm are not typically doing so in a suicide attempt. Most often, these are individuals who are struggling with expressing themselves in emotionally healthy ways.
Some reasons individuals may self-harm include:
Self-injurious behaviors are to be taken seriously! Happy healthy individuals do not cut or burn themselves and even if your child is telling you “it’s normal” and “their friends do it too”, they still need your support and likely mental health intervention.
Some suggestions for reacting to learning your teen is self-harming:
All parents need to proactively monitor what their children are doing online. Consider installing a parental control software the will send alerts when your child has tried to visit a website about self-harming. Reports on web browsing history can be early clues that your child may be considering self-harming.