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depression

What to Do When Your Child Self-Harms

Febrauary 19, 2021     By Boys Town Contributor

Cutting, Harmful Behaviors, Self-Injury, Teen, Troubled Youth, Tween

Sadly, self-harm in the form of cutting is a trend that has increased greatly over the past couple of decades in society at large. It is common among the tween and teen generation and can even be a source of acceptance. In fact, one in six people have inflicted self-harm on themselves. And nearly 1 in 4 teen girls, ages 14 to 18, in the US self-harm.

Knowing the children you love might hurt themselves is a painful realization for parents. And it reminds us to place extra importance on letting them know that they are loved and that they matter every single day. You can’t hide kids from what their contemporaries are doing, but you can make sure that they know their home is a place of sanctuary and that they can talk to you about anything at any time.

If you suspect that your child may be self-harming or tied-in with friends who are, please use the links below to learn more about this phenomenon and how to address it in your home. If you have friends or acquaintances with tweens and teens, feel free to share this blog, so they have access to the same information. The more people we can reach during Self-Harm Awareness Month, the better we are fulfilling our mission of Saving Children and Healing Families.

A Guide to Self-Harm

Teens and Self-Harm: The Causes and Signs

How Parents Can Prevent Teenage Self-Harm

Video: Do Depression and Self-Harm Go Hand in Hand

​How Self-Harm Affects an Entire Family

Video: Why is it So Important to Address the Issue of Self-Harm?​

If you become aware that your child is engaging in self-injurious acts, remember that it is fairly common. If the injury appears to pose potential medical risks, contact emergency medical services immediately. If the injury doesn't appear to pose immediate medical risks, remain calm and nonjudgmental, contact your child's pediatrician to discuss the concerns, and ask for a referral to a trained mental health professional who has experience in this area.

Another resource that is always available is the Boys Town National Hotline. Specially trained counselors are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to offer you parenting advice or to help your teen if they need someone to talk to. Program this number in your phone and your child's phone so it's always available: 800-448-3000.

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