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Addressing Self-Harm in Our Children

Not my child . It's a sentiment that is easy enough for any of us to think when it comes to the idea of self-harm. Our children wouldn't, couldn't do that to themselves. Where would they learn it from? Why would they hurt themselves? What can we do to make it stop? Self-harm is a self-destructive behavior of any kind that is carried out regardless of motivation. Drug and alcohol abuse is inherently a form of self-harm. Self-mutilation through tattoo and piercings is also a form of self-harm. Eating disorder behaviors and other forms of physical destruction are forms of self-harm. The prominent and most troublesome form of self-harm about which we need to be the most worried is the kind that involves cutting or physical harm to the body. The Netflix series 13 Reasons Why highlighted a growing issue of suicide and self-harm in adolescents and teens. Not all self-harm is a sign of suicide or a desire to commit suicide. Self-harm can be suicidal ideation which is thinking about death or suicide, but not necessarily with an intent. Primarily self-harm is a means of emotional management. Teens and adolescents are not capable of coping with extreme amounts of emotional pain from substance abuse, family conflict, trauma, physical abuse, social difficulties at school, or other sources of pain. When they learn about self-harm, they see it as the option they felt they were missing. If you are struggling with self-harm or thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline immediately 1-800-273-8255. The difficult topic of self-harm in teens and adolescents has to be one that we as the family members and parents of children need to discuss.  

Forms of self-harm

The way a child might be participating in self-harm could seem like a compulsive behavior or something that wouldn't be taken into any particular consideration. If your child is repeatedly participating in these behaviors, it is critical to get them assess and into treatment if necessary, as soon as possible.
  • Cutting
  • Burning
  • Hitting
  • Head banging
  • Hair pulling
  • Poisoning with household items
  • Poisoning with drugs and alcohol
  • Over-picking of the skin

If your child is struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, there is help and there is hope. Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center offers the premiere residential adolescent treatment program in the south. Call us today for information: 662-598-4214