12 yo Dd has been cutting herself- advice please(14 Posts)
Yesterday got a call from DD's dance teacher as she has noticed scars / scabs on her arm. DD really upset and said she had done 5 days before and it was because another girl in yr8 (my DD is yr 7) had been calling her a "whore". I'm aware of this as my daughter had told me last week and although upset I knew that her friends had stuck up for her and told her just to ignore etc. And hasn't been mentioned since so I hadn't taken any further steps with school. There is a back story here as well my DD had also told me about 2 girls in her year harming themselves and we had talked a lot about it - these other girls do have quite a troubled home life. So I'm struggling to come to terms with the fact that my DD has chosen to do this to herself. She says she won't do it again. And I've said speak to me about anything and how seriously adults take self harming as a cry for help or attempted suicide. I don't know what to do next. Do I trust that she doesn't do it again and what's steps should I put in place ? My gut says that this is something she has done because she has heard about it from others and wouldn't have occurred to her otherwise. But there were about 8 scars (all almost healed) so after doing it the first time when didn't she stop ? That's what's worrying me and making me scared about her repeating it.
There's a similar thread about a 13yo where you might find support.
I haven't been there but my gut feeling is that it would become a regular thing for me to ask my DD about ("What's going on, is there anything you're unhappy about? Have you felt like doing that lately?")
I think the best thing you can do is keep the dialogue open. I felt I had no one to talk to as a teenager (terrible home life) and it just took one kind teacher to take me to one side and say "are you really Ok" before I opened up.
Janknitti - that other thread is about my dd. I've had some good advice over there. My dd has only recently turned 13yrs so they are a v similar age. It's utterly crap isn't it.
Alwaysdancing - that's what is so awful, dd has a good home life I think/thought. We are open and honest with DC, we have fun together, dd has a group of lovely friends. I just don't understand why she has done this
Self harm is a way of coping with life and feelings, not usually a suicide attempt or a cry for help (wounds are usually hidden). She needs to talk to someone, and she needs to want to stop, not be forced to as the issues that caused her to harm will still be there and may come out in other ways.
I'm going to attach 3 images, that I out on the other thread, one is about the cycle of self harm, and 2 of ideas to do instead of harming.
This is a link to a fact sheet about self harm from rethink. My counsellor pointed me to this.
Mary, I know it's easy for me to say, but try not to take it personally. I'm early 40s with some amazing friends who've been really supportive as I've gone through counselling this year. I'd not harmed for 19 years but the last session I had raised something that I've found difficult to process. I'm currently waiting on referral again (it was short term counselling on the NHS so come in blocks of 6 with 3 months in between). I harmed again last week and I know my friends will be hurt that I haven't spoken to them. But it's such a mess and tangle of emotions inside that it's difficult to formulate into words sometimes. And it might look/be horrible to onlookers but it is really effective at calming the storm and pressure inside your head. I was walking back from the school run with a friend and she's was so pleased at how happy I was, I was more the old 'me' much lighter, but that's because I'd got rid of some of the pressure that I'd been feeling through harming.
Mine can also be hormonal related, the urge is stronger 3-4 days before I'm due on, but only when I'm already lower in mood. Mine has re-surfaced due to issues from my past that were buried and not dealt with. That's why I said on your thread that she needs to talk to someone professional.
Thanks all for your responses. Yes definitely to keep the dialogue open. I am bit shell shocked because she is so positive, clever, good friendships groups etc. If it had been last year then yes could have understood as had a horrible time with a queen bee and huge separation from her friendship group. But now is in such a much better place. Do you think I should involve school in light of my own daughter plus hearsay about others self harming. Have decided this week to keep her close to home, good food, plenty of fresh air, her dancing classes etc. Then we go on holiday on sat so she will hopefully chill out a bit there.
And you don't have to understand (it is really hard to if you haven't been there), just be there and let her know she can talk to you about anything. She will, when the time is right for her.
Talk to the school, talk to GP (they should refer to CAMHS). It could be that it's come out because she's in a better place this year, when you're in the thick of it and fire-fighting a problem you just get on with it, it's only after, when you have time, and space to think, that it can go round and round in your head.
Although you must act on this be careful not to label her as 'a self-harmer' just yet. Loads of teenagers 'try it out' iyswim without adopting it as a long term coping strategy, especially if others in the peer group have been doing it. I would deal with the self harm in a very matter of fact way but then focus on whatever the underlying problems are. In my experience people tend to focus on the self harm and talk endlessly about that where the self harm in itself is not the problem.
For most teenagers it's just a phase in what is a very complicated time of life. It may be that she regrets doing it now. Your plan for lots of time and love and a holiday sounds perfect to me
Agree with Arion. See your GP and let school know. GP can refer to CAMHS who will decide which type of counselling would be most beneficial and she may well be referred for counselling to another organisation.
School may also have their own counselling service that they use without going through CAMHS, so well worth a discussion with her head of year/house. They will be very used to this and you shouldn't worry about her being labelled at all. It is far more common than you would think.
You would be amazed at how much counselling can help children and young adults who need a little bit of emotional support.
I think it is extremely unlikely that CAMHS would see someone for a one off episode of self harming. It's a specialist service for more significant issues.
Self harm is very, very common nowadays as much as it shocks us as parents. I agree - keep talking, help her with strategies for managing her feelings etc. I personally would advise against medicalising this by going to the GP and talking about CAMHS.
There are online forums for her and you as a family:
Young Minds also have a good website.
Thanks all. I had concerns about giving her a label too as instinct says this is a one off. I have also counselled not to share this with her friends in the worry that she becomes subject of more attention and gossip. But it's a fine balance between that and not appearing to sweep it under the carpet. But I worry that once it's out there with her friends that's a another label which could perpetuate a potential one off. Going to speak to school - have to really as I aware of 2 others in her year group.
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