Parents helping teens who self harm.

Often when you first tell your parents that you self-harm they do not understand why you do it and they can often become very sad or angry. It is often very confusing for a parent to be told this and from my own experience this is very true. No matter how much you explain it they will not understand it. So it might help to sit down and talk to them about it. Here are some of the things that might help you to make it clear to your parents about self-harm:

They are not alone!! They need to be reassured that there are other parents out there experiencing the same things as they are. Although it is very important that you receive the right help to conquer your self-harm it is also very important that your parents receive some kind of support to help them during this journey with you.

It takes time!! It takes time to overcome self-harm it is not something that will just happen overnight. The young person first needs to realise why they are self-harming and see how this kind of behaviour helps them. They need to realise that it is not making the situation and better although they may think that. It is normal for young people to have mixed feelings about giving up self-harm. Once the young person realises that this is an unhealthy behaviour they will soon begin to want to stop their self-harm and battle the problem head on and overcome it.

We don’t do it for attention!! Many parents or adults begin to think that self-harm is a way of looking for and getting attention when in most cases it is not. Many people who self-harm keep it a secret and will go to great lengths to hide their self-harm marks. If someone was doing it for attention they would show their marks and want to be asked questions about them. Most young people do it as a way of coping with difficult things and will hide them so people don’t find out about them. The two most common reasons as to why people self-harm is to control painful and frightening experiences of overwhelming feelings and to escape from the feeling of being empty and numb.

These ore some of the most important points that parents and adults need to know about self-harm. They need to try their very best to understand the situation although that is not always possible. Young people need to try and understand how their parents are feeling and parents need to try and understand how the young person is feeling. To get over self-harm bother parents and young people need to be on the same page and they need to help each other through the hard times on the road to recovery.

References: Michael Hollander(2008): Helping teens who cut.

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