Cut it out

Is this just a phase?  Will she grow out of it?  Parents often ask these questions when we are in the therapy session, as they gaze upon their teen’s multiple scars that resemble a game of cat’s cradle on their forearms.  Ultimately, parents want to know why their teen cuts and how to make it stop-they want their child to cut it out.  In spite of the myth that adolescents cut on themselves because they want to manipulate Mom and Dad into getting their way, cutting is actually a cry for help. 

Here are a few facts that you should know about cutting:

Self-harm can begin as early as 11 years old. 

Some adolescents learn self-injurious behaviors from their peers.

Most teens are not trying to commit suicide by cutting on themselves.

It is a negative way of coping with one’s emotions.

It is important to talk with your teen and let him know that you are there for support.

Seek out professional help from a licensed Therapist who can help your adolescent sort out her feelings and teach new coping skills.

Schedule an appointment with your teen’s PCP (primary care physician) to rule out any other contributing chemical causes, such as major depression, etc.

Adolescents cut on themselves in secret. 

Overall, one in twelve teenagers cut on themselves.  Sadly, ninety percent of them began when they were pre-adolescents.  You can’t just tell them to Cut it out, because they will only cut deeper…

Reference list:

livescience.com (September 2010) Why Do Teens Hurt Themselves?  The Science of Self-Injury.  Retrieved November 9, 2015, from(http://www.livescience.com/11043-teens-hurt-science-injury.html)

helpguide.org  (September 2015) Cutting and Self-Harm.  Retrieved November 9, 2015, from(http://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/cutting-and-self-harm.htm)




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