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6YO self harming - really need some advice!!!

(11 Posts)
JonahB Tue 26-Jul-11 21:36:42

My 6YO DS has taken to what i can only call self-harming. when he thinks he has done something "stupid". His dad and I sometimes catch him hurting himself eg, digging his nails into his lip or into his arm and leaving a noticable mark, or punching himself. What's really worrying to us is that he does it when he thinks we are't looking, so i don't think he's looking for attention. He's not copying anything seen at home. Although his dad and I aren't together any more, we have a v amicable relationship and we give him loads of positive encouragement and praise. Has anyone got any experience of this, or offer any advice? We arereally worried......sad

Chundle Tue 26-Jul-11 21:45:49

Hi my dd is 7 she digs her nails into her legs where we can't see until it bleeds! I only found out as I found some tissue with blood on it. She was hiding the harming from us a well. Dd has ADHD so I assume it went with this as he also has low self esteem. No idea what to suggest as I mentioned it to her paed today and he didn't say much abou it

JonahB Tue 26-Jul-11 22:28:10


diyqueen Wed 27-Jul-11 08:35:39

You could try giving him something that isn't himself to take his feelings out on - a cushion to punch, a ball of plasticine to poke with a pencil, a stick to whack on the lawn, a balloon to pop, whatever might work... and keep trying to get him to put his feelings into words as well.

JonahB Thu 28-Jul-11 18:50:23

Thanks DIY. That's good advice. Maybe i'll suggest that to him re something else. I will keep trying as well. he says stuff like "I'm so stupid" or "everything i do is wrong". we all spend a lot of time trying to boost his self confidence and giving him examples of all the things he's v good at, but i guess we need to keep on trying.....

Chundle, sorry to hear about your DD too...

PeggyCarter Thu 28-Jul-11 18:58:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JonahB Fri 29-Jul-11 15:02:45

Thanks Puddlejumper and thank u for being so honest.
If you don't mind me asking, what (if anything) made you stop? Please don't answer this if this is too personal a question........

PeggyCarter Fri 29-Jul-11 21:47:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

olibeansmummy Sat 30-Jul-11 16:40:02

I also started self harming at this age ( year 2, so 6 or 7) but I didn't realise this is what I was doing until I was a lot older, it was just something I did.. Like pp it involved scratching myself until I was sore/ bled and like pp it was not picked up on and resulted in me cutting myself with razors. I still have the scars and it pains me to know I will one day have to explain myself to ds sad.

I don't know what you should do about your ds as I had no help, but I do think you should seek help from your gp and not give up until you get some, to try to get to the cause of this and find ways of stopping it asap.

olibeansmummy Sat 30-Jul-11 16:43:14

Ps please never make him feel bad for doing this. When my parents found out I was 17 and school told them. My mum later said to the dr she didn't take me to the dr straight away as ' we are all very ashamed.' although she's a good mum usually, this was the absolute worst thing she could have said as I wasn't ashamed, I was hurting and didn't know how else to deal with it, SHE was ashamed.

Albrecht Sat 30-Jul-11 18:50:03

I think its two fold really, getting him to stop physically damaging himself and then working on ways he can get his mental / emotional pain / stress out in other ways.

I was in the doctors and they had some posters with self harmers saying how they weaned themselves off it. So things that hurt but did not damage eg twanging an elastic band on the wrist, rubbing a tooth brush on arms, holding an icecube as long as poss. Might be worth talking about something like that if he can't stop himself.

Have you read How to Talk So Children Listen... Might give you some ideas about how to discuss things and let him open up about any problems. Also Playful Parenting has a good bit about wrestling with your children to let their aggression etc out and playing to act out things that are worrying them.

sorry got to go hth.

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