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DS (12) is obsessed with self-injury.(8 Posts)
I'm looking for some non-judgemental advice please.
My little lad is 12 years old. He's very 'normal', likes a bit of football, enjoys video games and often finds me embarrassing!
He has this rather odd obsession with self-injury. He regularly bruises himself (quite severely) and he usually ends up with quite a significant lump. I always phone the GP, but they need him to come in, but he refuses. He's a small lad, but I'm not going to be dragging him to the doctor. He says he just likes the feel of it. I've spoken to him about his feelings (he's rather open) and says he just likes the feel of it and the way it looks (he doesn't do it somewhere on show though, so can't be for attention) and he just likes it.
Has anyone had any experience with this?
I did think that. I tried to speak to his school, but they said that they no longer refer to CAMHS and it needs to be done through the GP?
They offered him sessions with their support worker who comes in (isn't a counsellor) but he used to get annoyed when she came to get him from lessons and it affected his attitude towards staff (something that has never been an issue) so they said it wasn't worth continuing as he is much happier and well behaved when he isn't taken from lesson and he doesn't speak to her anyway.
I'm at a loss.
Are you sure he's doing it to himself and it's not done by somebody else? Maybe being bullied at school? I don't want to alarm you, but I would make sure of that first.
I think he probably is going to need o be seen by cahms if it continues but obviously it might be easier said than done to get him to gp.
Is he willing to talk to you about it more? It might be helpful to just try and understand it a bit more-are there any triggers/patterns for when he self injures? Does he ever try to resist the urge-how does he feel if he doesn't do it? Is he wanting to hurt himself in other ways? Have you noticed any other changes in his behaviour, eating, sleeping, mood?
First off like 73, I'd want to be absolutely sure he wasn't being bullied or having those bruises inflicted by someone else - even if consensual.
Second, I think he needs to talk to someone because basically he is using quite destructive habits to self-sooth/manage anxiety/fill some need in himself. This would be a good time for him to learn other ways to deal with whatever problem the bruising is now solving for him. Lots of kids do this - hair pulling/mild cutting (rampant in my experience) but it isn't a truly healthy response and he needs to deal with it now before the full force of teenagerhood hits him.
Start by talking to him about your concerns maybe?
I have experience of managing children's homes for those with self harming difficulties. I'll try to keep any advice concise...
1.) CAMHS are unlikely to work with DS if doesn't want to go into their centre
2.) However; they can offer support for you by phone if you ring them directly
3.) When/if they he is ready - CAMHS may be able to send a worker to you home to meet you both and provide a friendly intro to the service. They often makes child consent easier.
4.) Communication can prevent this worsening. He has already started the process of telling you what he is doing. Small, general talk keeps the gates open so they feel easier talking about deeper subjects.
5.) If he can't tell you when he is going to harm. He can send a signal - a red jumper worn, a word signal, a gesture. So that you can intervene early
6.) Social media is horrible for encouraging self harming in pre-teens. Monitoring of accounts is essential
7.) As are the quality of his school relationships.
8.) Call the school nurse and explain where you are at. She can check him (discretely) at school and also act as support for you.
9.) You need to say that you are going to find ways to stop the behaviour before it becomes a habit and offer distractions - discussion, treats (as appropriate)
10.) Camhs would suggest using a harm reduction method e.g putting a rubber band around his arm which he can snap when he is struggling with feelings.
I have loads more ideas and I'm willing to help if you want. Just PM me
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