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self harming

(20 Posts)
NewLife4Me Tue 17-Nov-15 12:18:34

I am posting here for traffic as if there is anybody as green round the gills as me, you may be surprised by this. I hope IANBU to inform you.

The poor children who have stress or trauma in their life or for whatever reason find release from this are not the only ones who are doing this.

This week I uncovered a group of girls including my own dd who seem to be jumping on the band waggon to fit in with other girls who are posting online about self harming. Immediately I contacted the school with the list of names in the group on Instagram, my dd told me of 3 girls she knew to be cutting regularly.

They are 11 and have no emotional problems, or stress, trauma but want to fit in and they think it is cool. They don't necessarily cut, in my dd case she opened up a healing wound, by squeezing it. Thankfully I knew/ witnessed how it had come about. My dd said she couldn't bring herself to cut herself, but she admitted to wanting to fit in.

The upshot was that the children received a talk at school from the CP/ welfare officer and a representative from the medical centre. I can't thank them enough, the poor woman CP/welfare was sorting this out on her day off and has been so helpful, kind and supportive to the girls and parents.

I suppose I am informing that it isn't always the shy, introverted children with problems but the confident outgoing girls who you would never suspect of doing this. They are girls who are usually confident, self assured, but for some reason want to be a part of a group like this.

I was going to talk to her about this during year 8 and feel such a bad mother for not talking to her about this before. We have had little discussions about the fact some children do this, but it obviously wasn't enough.

Seriouslyffs Tue 17-Nov-15 12:21:06

It's still concerning. I agree with you, there is a bandwagon/ peer pressure angle to SH, but don't ignore it.
The stakes are high.

NewLife4Me Tue 17-Nov-15 12:26:55

It has really shocked me how it is being glorified by some and almost considered as daring.

I can't imagine what it must be like for parents whose children really feel a need to do this and have trauma to overcome in order to stop.
My heart goes out to you thanks

drivinmecrazy Tue 17-Nov-15 12:28:56

My DD is extremely confident, outgoing and self assured yet still self harms. Not due to fitting in as you suggest, but because she is a teen (14yo) learning how to cope with the increasing pressures of being a straight A student and being perceived as a child who has everything going for her.
Your wild generalization shows that, particularly for the sake of your own DD, you spend a bit more time researching the caused and affects of self harming, and hope to god that your child copes with the coming teen years without suffering any kind of anxiety as the pressures mount.

AliceScarlett Tue 17-Nov-15 12:30:17

I think it's become a bit of a right of passage, less drugs and alcohol, more self harm. Good education is what's needed.

NewLife4Me Tue 17-Nov-15 12:31:35

drivin

I'm sorry, I am ignorant and just learning.
Had I known more sooner, I would have been ready for this. I do apologise for generalisation. Was it presuming that confident self assured teens don't do this?

drivinmecrazy Tue 17-Nov-15 12:41:45

I think it's very dangerous to assume that a child would be doing this just to be part of a group.

My DD did not fit any pre-conceptions I had when this became part of our lives. I was also guilty of feeling as if she were doing it due to the awful sites we consequently found she was following and posting on.
But in fact it was the reverse. She found these sites because of what she was doing, not the other way around.

We consider ourselves very fortunate we are able to deal with this openly as a family. But the thought that people might think she does this for glory or for adulation amongst her peers is offensive, just because she might not fit the image of who you think might be in danger of self harming.

DD does still self harm, is having counseling, and by talking we are finding other ways for her to express her anxiety and cope with the pressures she is putting herself under

chocafrolic Tue 17-Nov-15 12:46:31

I have a friend who works in a senior school and he told me that self harming is the 'thing' for a lot of teen girls and thanks to peer pressure it is rife.
It makes me so angry, as someone who really struggled emotionally & self harmed in secret for many years, that this fad is trivialising such a serious issue. The children who feel the need to do this genuinely need massive emotional support but instead of it being picked up as a cry for help could be dismissed as being 'just part of the crowd'. It's such dangerous territory.

LagunaBubbles Tue 17-Nov-15 12:46:32

They are 11 and have no emotional problems, or stress, trauma

You cant possibly know this!

NewLife4Me Tue 17-Nov-15 12:51:44

chocafrolic

This was really my point, thank you very much.
Out of this group 3 girls were/are? self harming on a regular basis and need help and support, the reason I gave their names and evidence to the school.
from the conversations we took screen shots from the others were trying to fit in the "part of the crowd", my dd included.

As I said above I had no idea about this and presumed the children who self harmed were doing so out of stress, trauma, and pressure of exams/work which the latter I forgot to mention in my OP, but was aware.

NewLife4Me Tue 17-Nov-15 12:56:20

drivin

It wasn't my intention to belittle the children like your dd, but to talk about awareness of peer pressure and how some girls are becoming involved for the glory and to fit in.
My sincerest apologies if I came across like this, it was furthest from my intention.

drivinmecrazy Tue 17-Nov-15 13:01:29

I agree. But are you in the best position to judge the other girls and their reasons for doing it?

You are best placed to judge your own DD's intentions. But maybe misguided to generalize about everyone else in the group.

Speaking for my own DD, she would have felt mortified had her school approached her before she was really ready to accept the fantastic help and support they have subsequently given her. i would argue it would have actually increased her anxiety, increased her efforts at hiding it, and indeed increased her need to self harm

alltouchedout Tue 17-Nov-15 13:06:20

Who gets to decide which person is doing it for 'real' reasons and which person is not? How do screen shots prove anything?

I self harmed throughout my teens and early 20s. There was a lot of 'oh they're only doing it for attention of course' bullshit around then, too, and a few DM articles on the danger of the cult of SH, and a bunch of people who counted themselves as real SH-ers and others as people who wanted to be part of a thing, a fad... You can probably find it all still being discussed at buslist.org/phpBB/ and the other self help sites.

NewLife4Me Tue 17-Nov-15 13:14:00

drivin

I was worried about the girls that dd told me were self harming regularly and thought their parents needed to know.
I don't know what each child said during the meeting but know they were spoken to individually as well.
My dd said she was there for an hour, others longer i believe.

I think with the one's evidently not self harming they spoke to them, informed parents first of course and had a medical representative too.

I only know of the intentions of the ones within the peer pressure group as the CP told me, this was the group my dd was in. I don't know anything else as obviously it's confidential.

Of course I hope the ones who are in the same position as your dd receive the help and support they need.

I think they are two different groups and need to be treated differently, the children like my dd need educating so it doesn't escalate and they are aware where to go to for help if they need it.

I know the ones who were self harming were told about keeping cuts clean.

I am so sorry your dd is going through this.

JasperDamerel Tue 17-Nov-15 13:18:59

Children who are struggling aren't necessarily the quiet ones with no friends. If they were, it wouldn't be a thing that other girls copied.

When I self-harmed in my teens and early twenties, it was because I had horrifically bad PMS. I also had a plenty of friends, did drama and singing, and generally had a pretty good social life.

I didn't look unhappy on the surface at all. When things were really bad and I felt numb, other people perceived that as me being calm and serene.

MyNewBearTotoro Tue 17-Nov-15 13:22:49

It is sad to hear about self-harm becoming common in younger and younger children.

I started self-harming at fifteen and I still struggle with it over a decade later. On the surface my life probably looked fine but in reality I was emotionally struggling with so much both at school and home. In hindsight my problems weren't so bad but at the time they felt huge. Now self-harming is a problem in and of itself. It becomes almost addictive.

Unfortunately it is not always possible to see how much children may be struggling to cope with their feelings - often people who self-harm feel a lot of pressure to maintain the illusion that everything is okay. There may not have been any obvious trauma, abuse or stress and from the outside they may look to have a very happy life. Also it is not only girls who self-harm, I have a couple of male friends who both self-harmed as children (one as a pre-teen) and one who has self-harmed as an adult.

I am sure my parents never imagined that one of their children who start self-harming and I think that, until they found out what I was doing, they would have said I was happy and problem free.

Social media and the Internet has possibly made the world of teenage self-harm even scarier. There were a handful of websites and communities dedicated to self-harm when I was a teen but nothing like there are now. Although I agree genuinely they are sought out by those already self-harming, I don't believe such websites genuinely seek to 'recruit' children. But they can encourage teens to keep self-harming or to take more risks. Aged 16 I ended up in hospital after I cut through an artery because I wanted to cut deeper than any of the self-harm photos other cutters had posted on one such website.

I don't believe that many long-term self-harmers are doing it for attention, due to peer-pressure or to otherwise fit in but I can believe that some children might try it once or twice out of curiosity or to copy something their friends are doing. Hopefully if there are no emotional problems it wouldn't be continued but I imagine for a child who is struggling emotionally that could be the first step onto a long, dark road.

OP I am sorry that your DD has experimented with self-harm and I hope that is all it was, curious experimentation. Hopefully you and the school were able to intervene before it became a problem, either for her or her friends. I hope if not they will now get the support they need as 11 is so very young to be dealing with this problem. flowers

drivinmecrazy Tue 17-Nov-15 13:25:52

I'm sorry my responses have been very defensive. It is, by far, the most heartbreaking think I have had to face since becoming a parent. It has been such a huge learning curve for both myself and DH.

I do agree there can be an element of 'rite of passage', but as alltouchedout has highlighted, the whole issue pre-dates the current trends and widespread usage of chatrooms and websites.

I was guilty of not scratching the surface whenever I asked my DD how she was coping. I listened to her words she said instead of looking at her actions.

I have a DD2 (10) who I will be watching like a hawk. She has unfortunately witnessed much of the journey we and her sister have been on. I cannot bear to think that she might ever find herself in the same place as her sister.

NewLife4Me Tue 17-Nov-15 13:32:48

I'm sorry, but I think I need to say if my OP wasn't clear.
I am not saying anything about those who are actually self harming.
This isn't the group i am talking about. I don't presume anybody who does this for glory or attention or anything else. I have sympathy for all children and parents who are affected by this.

This is a group of children who have heard, seen other children's cuts and are making out they too are self harming so they can appear older and fit in with older girls or those their own age who are self harming.
My own dd fell off her bike and cut her arm, it wasn't a clear cut but jagged as it would be. It was healing nicely with plaster and cream etc.
The next couple of days I found it open again, dd said she'd picked the scab off, which I had no cause to believe differently.
The next thing I found the group and pictures of dds arm bleeding from the exact same place. There was nothing different about it on inspection, no added cuts or anything.
She admitted doing it to try to fit in, which of course is worrying but a different ball game to those who have underlying causes and need different help and support.

NewLife4Me Tue 17-Nov-15 13:38:18

drivin

I don't mind if you are defensive, you have a right to be and I can't imagine how hard it must be for you and your family.
It has shocked me to the core, hence the thread.
My dd knows she has been a silly little girl (her words), but if nothing else I am learning from you and others on the thread and hope with this Knowledge I'm able to help her stay clear of this in the future.
I did read one of the threads on here last night, it is heart breaking to see how many people suffer like this.
thanks drivin

RedMapleLeaf Wed 18-Nov-15 05:59:58

I am not saying anything about those who are actually self harming

But your daughter is actually self harming; my understanding is that aggravating a wound, picking skin etc is self harming as much as cutting with a sharp edge.

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