In today’s high schools, teens are experiencing an extreme amount of stress. They are pressured to do well in school and excel in extracurriculars, all while having an active social life. Getting into a good university is more difficult than it has ever been in the past. Because of this, teens are turning to outlets to relieve this stress. For some, these outlets come in healthier forms like daily exercise and art. However, others turn to substance use and even self harm. Self harm in teens is a way for some people to get fast acting relief when they are feeling extremely stressed. Knowing if your child is self harming can be hard. Being able to identify the signs of self harm in teens allows you to take the appropriate preventative measures.
How can I identify self harm in teens?
Spotting the signs of self harm in your child is the first step to getting their the help they needs. The following are symptoms of self harm in teens:
- Marks on their skin that may have come from cutting or burning
- Hidden objects in their room that they may use to cut or burn themselves such as knives, razors, lighters, or box cutters.
- Locking herself away for hours on end after coming home from an upsetting day at school.
- Someone else (such as another adult, sibling, or friend of your daughter) reports seeing cuts or burns on your teen’s body.
- Your teen covers themselves up with long sleeves and pants even in hot weather.
How do I help my teen?
Talking to your teen about their self injurious behavior is not easy. Here are a few tips for helping a teen who self harms:
- Don’t be judgmental: Judging your teen for harming themselves will only make the situation much worse.
- Find out what the issue is: Try to understand why your teen has resorted to self harm. This can help you see your teen’s struggles through their eyes.
- Start a conversation: Opening the lines of communication with your teen during this difficult time can help them express to you what they’re feeling in a positive way.
- Be supportive: Don’t overreact and punish or threaten your teen because of their self harming behaviors. Instead, let your teen know that you’re there to support them and can talk to them anytime they would feel comfortable reaching out to you.
- Find professional support: Solstice, a residential treatment center for teen girls and assigned female at birth ages 14-18, can help your child get the therapeutic support they needs.
For more information about Solstice, please call (866) 278-3345.