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How to help with possible self-harm in 8yo DD.

(4 Posts)
WeAreSix Sun 09-Feb-14 09:50:08

Apologies if this is in the wrong place, or a trigger subject for anyone - I know self harm is a sensitive subject. I need some advice and guidance from MNetters with experience, please.

DD is 8. Confident, cheeky, has good friendships at school. She's doing well at school, lots of positive feedback at parents evenings.

Last summer, she had a couple of bites on her legs which she wouldn't leave alone. Since then she's been a bit of a picker. However, just before Christmas I noticed that her legs were dotted with several areas she'd picked and she's scarring herself.

I've obviously encouraged her to stop. I haven't been angry with her, just explained about scars etc.

On Friday she said her back was itchy at school. I asked to look for rashes etc and she refused. She agreed later on and I was horrified. From the middle of her back down to the top of her bottom is a mess. Scratched, picked and areas which have been bleeding.

We've talked and she says she does it when she's worried, and doesn't always realise she's done it. What she describes sounds like anxiety and the scratching as a coping mechanism. She's said she sometimes gets scared and then she feels like she can't breathe.

I'm not sure where to go from here. I've suggested we get a book so she can write down feelings to get them out, and told her that I'm not angry but I'd like to help her stop feeling scared.

Have I done the right thing? Do I need to talk to GP? It's so sad to see my beautiful girl hurting herself like this. Any advice would be gratefully received.

lljkk Sun 09-Feb-14 09:52:17

I think you've done good, better than I could manage. I've got some similar problems with 9yo DS and I'm seeking a referral to CAMHS (which will take weeks to even talk to a GP, argh).

Some of it sounds like reasonably normal anxiety/exploration stuff. But referral to CAMHS can take ages so no harm in pursuing it now, you could always turn it down later when it finally comes thru.

LEMmingaround Sun 09-Feb-14 09:58:22

To me it sounds like habit mixed with growing anxieties and i can relate to that, i suffer from anxiety and i am very much a "picker". I do think you need to talk to the GP because the habit seems to be deveoping into an addiction and you need to break the cycle somehow. Find her another outlet for her anxieties. It does sound like you have handled it really well though x

WeAreSix Sun 09-Feb-14 21:16:54

Thanks for replies.

I've had problems with anxiety & depression, it's so hard seeing the things you hate in yourself affecting such a young child too sad

I'm planning on a quiet word with her teacher tomorrow and then GP. CAHMS here are diabolical, so a referral would be useless.

We've been and bought a pretty notebook today, and we've 'booked' a day just me and DD in half term. Hopefully it's small steps toward helping.

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