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My 13yr old daughter is cutting herself

(42 Posts)
Ploddy Sun 03-Jun-12 23:01:45

I found razor cuts all over my 13 yr old daughters wrists today. She's been getting upset over boys at school lately. I don't incourage boyfriends at this age and she doesnt spend any time with them out of school. There is a boy in her year who has got another girl in their year pregnant, and he's been hasseling her for a few weeks to go out with him. I've told her to stay away from him, but have found out today they went out for a day and then he dumped her and all her friends have turned on her, calling her a slagg and other similar names. As an adult it sounds daft to us but the whole experience has hurt her so much she's cutt herself. Has any one else delt with a similar experience ??😖

purplepansy Sun 03-Jun-12 23:47:47

Hope this is helpful, poor kid. Being a teenager is really shit, we forget how cruel kids are I think.

AgentZigzag Mon 04-Jun-12 00:12:30

It could be an expression of what she feels like inside but doesn't know how to say in any other way.

It'd be easy to say to try and get her to talk about how she feels, but not all 13 YOs want to talk about their feelings, or even know what it is they are feeling let alone finding the words to describe it.

It's horrible feeling isolated and excluded by your peers, have they all been horrible to her or are there maybe one or two (perhaps on the fringes of the group) who she could rely on to not be shitty with her?

Could you encourage her to look outside this group?

How are you doing? It must have been a pretty frightening thing to discover, how did she respond to you when/if you talked to her about it?

bananacrepe Mon 04-Jun-12 00:16:17

Make sure you tell the school - they will need to know about this. He could have been hassling others too. They can also help stop it. Most schools have a counsellor they can refer students to which may help. I'm sorry I can't offer more advice but they should be able to help. I'm sure you know this but I'd avoid telling her not to be silly over the boys as she may feel more isolated and think you think she's overreacting about trivial things (not saying you do and you're obviously a very caring parent!).

Northernlurker Mon 04-Jun-12 00:24:50

Now she's told you about it she may never do it again. People who do this, do it as a way of controlling and expressing feelings they are struggling with. She isn't trying to seriously harm herself, in fact the opposite - she's trying to control powerful and scary feelings.
From a practical point of view it's important she uses something clean and can access antibacterial cream etc. I wouldn't make a big issue of this but gently mention that cuts made with dirty items can be dangerous. There's no point trying to hide things she can use, if she's going to do it she will find something and it's best that she use a clean razor that won't cut too deep. I would make sure there is plenty of savlon etc in the house so that if she does do it again she can keep herself safe.
The real answer though is to deal with the stress that led to the cutting and it's very positive that she's talked to you about that. You sound a lovely mum. You'll get past this with her.

HerRoyaleHoighnessDirona Mon 04-Jun-12 00:30:31

So sorry for you and your dd, she must be in an awful place

I would suggest outside help either through the schools councelling service or the gp's, they can both refer to camhs if needed

If she's willing to open up to you, brilliant but don't push her, don't minimise it, keep telling her she's so strong and brave. She may find it easier to open up to someone else though, if she does, allow her her privacy and she will come to you eventually

Bio-oil for scars but deep ones need a+e

I self-harmed

Loopyloveschocolate Mon 04-Jun-12 05:15:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

madmouse Mon 04-Jun-12 09:10:57

What Northern and Loopy say.

Mamabearemma Mon 04-Jun-12 09:26:48

In familiar with that problem, not with my own child but I had a hard time at school, an unbelievably hard time, my best friends used to cut herself daily, usually with teenagers there's nothing you can say, I mean what teenager listens to there parents anyway? I agree if you tell her not to do it she'll probably do it in secret, instead encourage her to show her emotions in other ways e.g. Music, art, or maybe even take her to somewhere she can release her anger like paintballing.

If she does decide to talk to you, dont give an opinion even if what she's doing is wrong just be there to listen, her venting might help if she doesnt feel pressured.

If the cutting progresses I'd remove all sharp objects just for safety reasons. Especially shaving razors, Most teenagers use these to cut themselves in the bath because its painless while underwater and les intimidating than a knife. I'm sure this will pass.

Maybe making a new friend online that has the same problems or had the same issue with there friends turning on them would help her get through it, I know I felt completely alone when m friends tuned my entire year against me and I secretly took over 50 days off when my mum thought I was in school I'd sneek to the local park or town all day, and it ruined my education completely, so her taking to someone her he would be good.
I'm still a teenager so I'm quite familiar with this topic.

If you need any other advise feel free to email me.

Ploddy Mon 04-Jun-12 09:37:15

Thank you all for theses supporting advice replies. She started to get upset a couple of weeks ago over these boys and her girl friends, so I did go into the school and she is seeing their counseller, the cutting has started after seeing her. It seems to be becoming a bit of a trend with girls in her yeah somehow. She's told me of a few of them that cut and or want to kill themselfs or have tried, one girl even brought a suicide not into school to show everyone. Then she said a couple of weeks ago she wanted to kill herself this is why I got the councilling. I'm very tempted to take her out of the school as it seems like a bit of a pier pressure thing. Or am I wrong and it's her individual problem and nothing to do with school?? Feel like my heads going to explode, have I gone wrong somewhere?

Ploddy Mon 04-Jun-12 09:59:50

Thank you, I'm sad to hear that and hope it doesn't stay with you too much into adulthood which I know myself it can and is what I fear fo my daughter. Do you feel you might of been better off changing schools? I went to an all girls school and had an awful time, which is why I sent her to a mixed school but she's having these awful problems there😔

Mamabearemma Mon 04-Jun-12 10:32:04

I think secondary school experiences are something that Eric with you whether you want them too or not it's th age of transition into a young adult and t that age your still trying to figure out who you re so it's bound to be difficult. There was many times I thought I wanted to change school, but that's also a hard road making new friends with people you didn't start school at the same time with is tricky. It's something you should sit her down and talk about. I went to a mixed school and found that girls like to bully to show off to the boys so it's the same amount of bitchiness as a all girl school. Being in a mixed school is important in my opinion, it helps when it comes to socialising with the opposite sex, otherwise you could potentially have a boy shy teenager on your hands in later life. Well not always a bad thing come to think of it.

You most defiantly didn't do anything wrong it's a normal occourance now days with teenagers. Most parents are somewhat helpless when it comes to teenagers. It's that time in life they have to learn to work out things for themselves.

Peer pressure is probably a part of it, kids these days watching tv as well, especially things like twilight they mak a connection in there minds and romanticise pain and love into something there not and the connection with death is undoubtably an influence.

Also the trend with 'emo' 'scene' and 'goth' is a normal teenage phase so it might be slightly influenced by that.

Like I said talking to a girl her own age about it could help a lot, just knowing she has someone who will listen and not scold or look down on what she's doing will help after that I think the need to cut will stop. I did the same for my best friend. Worked like a charm.

mermaidbutmytailfelloff Mon 04-Jun-12 10:50:10

My son cuts amongst other things. When I found out I took him straight to the GP on an emergency appointment and they referred him to CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health service). They have been great and can see you too and explain things you can do to cope.

I left his blades where he could find them but asked him to tell me if he used them so I could help. I took the view better "safe" cutting than a rusty blade? but it was so hard to do. One of the other things we did was buy a punch bag and assortment of gloves - oh and some hand weights. We tried to give him a "safe" outlet to hurt himself if he needed to.

Still plodding on....

I would tell the school too, mine has been incredibly supportive even down to the head of year phoning me and asking how he is doing.

Ploddy Mon 04-Jun-12 10:50:19

I will look into that, see if any of my friends children can relate, if not like you said I can try the Internet. I know 'emo' and 'goth' but what is ' scene'?? 😳

Ploddy Mon 04-Jun-12 10:52:46

Does CAMHS have a long waiting list or can you get seen pretty quick?

mermaidbutmytailfelloff Mon 04-Jun-12 11:00:48

I was seen within 48 hours of referral but it can be slow I think it depends where you live.

Mamabearemma Mon 04-Jun-12 11:07:03

Well I'll be happy to listen to her if you can't find anyone.

Scene is a influenced style based upon subcultures like 'emo'
It's put simply a happier version, that express themselves through music , clothing, writing, tattoo.
Some adopt the emo trend to cut themselves or hard themselfs more discreetly, drugs is a big thing as well as smoking.
Again the vampire trend is going round so kids do things to express the darker side of there emotions.

It's a phase with teenagers to do any of these things is normal every child will do it once.

AgentZigzag Mon 04-Jun-12 11:09:43

There are so many things you can't be sure of the outcome of if you choose to take that route.

Accepting she's doing it and 'letting' her have access to things to do it with and giving advice on where it's safer to cut, could leave her thinking it's an acceptable thing to do - it most definitely is not.

Treating it as normal and not as a seriously dangerous act could result in her using it as a routine way of expressing herself, and progressing on to bigger and worse things. The doctors and CAMHS sound an excellent way of trying to avoid this.

It might start out as a 'trend' at school, and hopefully like Northern says it could be a one off thing she never does again, but the risk of it developing into the norm for her is something you should try to help her stop at all costs.

HerRoyaleHoighnessDirona Mon 04-Jun-12 11:40:17

The emo goth scene is exactly the same as all the other scenes and all those risks are the same for any child.

I think you should inform the school if there is a trend and get your dd to the gp. CAMHS are usually quick to see children and are the best people to know how to handle things. She needs professional help to process her feelings in a healthy way.

Peer to peer councelling for this is not a good idea, professional intervention is needed.

HerRoyaleHoighnessDirona Mon 04-Jun-12 11:46:45

As mermaid says, finding a better outlet is good, like kick boxing

I used to self harm but don't anymore. I was told to not use sharps at all and to use an elastic band instead if I felt I needed to cut

I put an elastic around my wrist and pinged it when I couldn't cope. I also had therapy to process my thoughts and learn other coping methods and took up sports

I think you can self refer to CAMHS or if money allows find a private specialist childrens councellor

She really does need professionals

Ploddy Mon 04-Jun-12 13:43:21

She's had two sessions with the school councillor as I said, but the worrie there is the holiday are a matter of weeks away and my fear is the councillor may just be having a positive affect and it will all come to a stop for the hols. Also the changeing school situation, I haven't made my mind up yet?? So CAMHS sound defiantly the best route. I'll be ringing my GP Wednesday morning. Thank you all for your positive advice

Agent zigzag. You totally summed up my worrie. I am worried that if I condone her cutting and put 'special' sharps into place for her to use that she will see this as a green flag to go ahead and do it again.
Of course I want her to be safe and clean if she does it again. But like any parent I think, I don't want her to do it again.

As herRoyalHoighness says, about using an elastic band has reminded me I once hear about holding a hand of ice cubes and trying to crush them in your hand. As this hurts it's not as dangerous as cutting. I might try talking to her about these methods😁

JuliaScurr Mon 04-Jun-12 13:48:20

We found this organisation very helpful

Does the school have Student Support? Are they covering this in PSHE?

Best wishes

Northernlurker Mon 04-Jun-12 13:48:58

Agent - my understanding is that those who cut themselves DON'T usually 'progress' - the cutting gives enough of a release that it helps them manage their feelings. However it is a distressing and undesirable activity of course. It seems important to me to ensure that it can be done as safely as possible though. In any domestic setting you are never going to be able to eliminate sharp things and you do not want a child hording a 'thing' to cut with again and again as there are obvious health risks there. Nor do you want them hiding this behaviour. I agree professional support is a good idea. Peer support is not a great idea, more than likely they just give each other ideas and it becomes competitive. I was reading an article about Kelly Holmes recently. It mentioned that she self-harmed when frustrated about her health and training. I hope that can slightly reassure you OP - lots of people do this and get past it.

JuliaScurr Mon 04-Jun-12 13:49:36

Sorry, just noticed school counsellor mentioned

HerRoyaleHoighnessDirona Mon 04-Jun-12 14:18:47

Replacing sharps with non sharps is less traumatic for everyone.

Removing sharps helps to stop "accidents" where a cutter may go unintentionally too deep.

Ice sounds like a good idea too, even a ruler would do.

Say to your gp you're concerned for her over the holidays so could he please stress to CAMHS that it's urgent.

There are some good professional based websites and I think there's a specialist self harm charity in London but I may be mistaken. I'll try to find it.

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