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Self Harming Teen

(15 Posts)
ClaireBear7769 Thu 27-Feb-14 13:39:49

I discovered that daughter (13) has been self harming by reading her diary while tidying her room (was left on her bed and had blood over it). First and foremost, the cuts are not too deep (although cover her lower arm and wrist) and we have talked somewhat around what has been happening, factors leading up to it and possible ways of helping her. She has agreed on several things (docs etc.) and has been offered safer ways of outing anything emotional. I feel quite confident in having the ability to support her through this.

My issue is that two teachers at her school were aware of this (daughter revealed to them in October). I was not told as daughter had said that she had only done it once, would not do it again and she did not want to upset me (I was pregnant and had child in December). So, I was not told! As far as I am aware, the teachers did not look at her arm on her revelation and did not follow up with her. Apparently, daughter has been coping by covering up in PE (this is one of the teachers aware of the initial instance) by wearing non-compliant long sleeved t-shirts. There was even recently an incident where daughter forgot her long shirt and spent the lesson crying in the changing room as the teacher would only lend her a short sleeved one. Her arms were still not checked, nothing was followed up with my daughter, and, I was still not told.

Obviously, I feel guilt over not noticing what had been going on and in hindsight the swimming refusals, disappearance of my bio-oil etc etc. all point in directions I should have picked up on...... but it feels like someone did know and could have told me!! It is still quite fresh in terms of finding out (1day) so I guess I am seeking somebody to confirm I should/shouldn't have been told????? I cant help thinking she may not have gone on or carried on to hurt herself to the extent she has if I had known!

I have had a short meeting with school where I emphasised my feelings on it and they have simply said that I was not told due to daughters wishes (as I was pregnant) and they have now offered for her to see their pastoral teacher. It seems so wrong and whilst I am thankful I have found out now before she does some serious hurting, a little late???

Suicidal5833 Thu 27-Feb-14 14:09:39

Hiya we have had a lot of trouble with my sister who is twelve self harming and social services were involved. First things first if you do not take her to a gp for this and social services find out you knew and didn't seek medical help they will take a very negative view. You need to stop worrying and blaming people because you didn't find out and get her help. My sister under social services advice has been taken to the gp every time she has self harmed. She has then been addmitted to hospital and had to wait there till she can speak to cahms. Self harm is very addictive and it takes a lot to stop I'm a self harmer. I very much doubt she will stop just because you know you need to take her to see the gp today.

Suicidal5833 Thu 27-Feb-14 14:14:14

Also sh tends to escalate in severity what starts as superficial sh often ends up bad enough to require stitches she needs professional help. I can see why your angry at the school but that won't help things she needs to speak to cahms to ascertain why she is self harming and whether any further action needs to be taken.

SeasonofTheWitch Thu 27-Feb-14 14:28:02

Oh darling, what a truckload of thoughts and feelings to deal with all at once, especially with a baby and all the hormones and sleep deprivation that goes with that.

I am surprised that the school didn't tell you or do more to look after your daughter. Whilst it's not helpful for you to dwell on this, it does sound as though there needs to be some training and/or processes changed at the school. Do you feel they have taken your concerns onboard?

As for helping your daughter, I know that the methodology I coach with, the Three Principles, can address self-harming but I don't know of a published case study that you can look at (I will ask around).

Have a look at the case studies here: there's a couple with children (though younger than your daughter) and others which suffered from eating disorders and other related issues, which you might find helpful.

For more on this, have a look at my blog which explain a bit more about it:

Bear7769 Thu 27-Feb-14 15:00:46

Thank you for your replies - I really appreciate you taking the time. I am also glad to hear your sister is getting some support and I hope it helps. Does anybody know about your self harm? Are/have you being/been helped?

SilverStars Thu 27-Feb-14 15:01:23

Schools seem to have various policies: going from extremes to not informing parents to phoning social services as soon as they are aware. They have different policies.

Most areas have CAMHS who may assess your dd and offer treatment of they think it is appropriate. A gp can refer, not sure if all schools can or do.

Suicidal5833 Thu 27-Feb-14 15:03:33

Thanks I am currently not sh for the sake of my sister. Because I want to show her it's not ok and that there are healthier ways of dealing with things I'm doing really good I've only slipped once in three months.

Bear7769 Thu 27-Feb-14 15:08:12

Thank you season of the witch...the three P's sounds as like something I have read somewhere else in trying to find out information on this. I will take a look. Thanks. Like suicidal5833 has said, I would fully expect to have social services involved IF I did absolutely nothing to help despite knowing what was going on - so it seems that the same principles should apply to the school surely.....will take a look at your link...

Bear7769 Thu 27-Feb-14 15:14:25

suicidal5833, It sounds as if you are doing really well in coping with it and that you are being a great role model for your sister. I hope that doesn't place too much responsibility on your shoulders however. Who is supporting you?

SeasonofTheWitch Thu 27-Feb-14 15:15:32

Sorry i just realised I didn't paste the link to the case studies, here:

Bear7769 Thu 27-Feb-14 15:16:37

silverstars....are all schools meant to have a policy?

Suicidal5833 Thu 27-Feb-14 15:23:25

I'm actually quite shocked by the schools reaction it was my sisters school who phoned ss. Yes I have lots of support thanks.

SilverStars Thu 27-Feb-14 18:43:05

Schools have child protection procedures yes, but how they deal with self harm varies. All staff should be trained and know what to do and who to report such incidents to and the named staff should then decide what to do, depending in their policy. Every school will differ but you have a right to know how they safeguard children. Safeguarding is a key issue for anyone who works with children - from scout leaders, Sunday school teachers to piano teachers to school staff etc ...

SilverStars Thu 27-Feb-14 18:44:57

In schools they should have a named member of staff to whom issues are raised - straight away. Is what I should have written - as do churches and other organisations. It is that person ( some schools have 2/3 if large) who should contact SS if concerned.

Bear7769 Fri 28-Feb-14 10:37:48

Thank you x

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