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Daughter's friend is self harming

(13 Posts)
NotMySecret Thu 07-Mar-13 18:12:26

That's it, in a nutshell, but the longer story is this.

DD is 13. A friend (A) confided in her today that a second friend (B) is very depressed and is self harming. A is not supposed to tell anyone, and DD is not supposed to know, and not supposed to tell anyone. Obviously she has told me. B does not want her parents to know, as they are part of the problem, apparently.

I need advice on what to do. I have rung the counselling service that serves their school, and they have told me that this would be a confidential situation. DD is going to speak to A to try to get her to encourage B to go to the counsellor. So, that's a start.

This seems a bit ineffectual, though. I would really hope that if was happening to my daughter, and other parent dulls knew, they would do something.

However, I am constrained by the fact that neither DD nor I are supposed to know.

I feel quite upset about this, and hope there are some useful suggestions.

(I have namechanged - a bit paranoid, but I don't want to risk being recognised.)

Adversecamber Thu 07-Mar-13 18:17:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

coatonarack Thu 07-Mar-13 18:25:04

I found out my DD was self-harming by accident - I found her on a website and read a thread which she was typing. However, the website was Childline and I would strongly recommend you tell your DD tells friend A to tell Friend B to get straight on that website.

DD was horrified that I found out. Absolutely horrified. But she is now on the CAHMS priority list for counselling and seems a bit more relaxed about things: Christmas was awful as she was in such a weird mood all the time.

But the other thing that occurred to me is that the number of teenage girls who self-harm is on the increase and is very prevalant. So in our day, we would just have a quick fag and raid our parents' drinks cabinet to blot out the misery. Today's kids are taught to shun fags and booze, so it occurred to me that cutting themselves is their way of finding a quick fix release and blotting out misery by causing themselves pain. after all, for those who have smoked, the early fags weren't pleasant.

I dont' mean to demean self-harming, my poor little girl has been in a terrible state and it's going to take a very long road to recovery, but I can really see why they do this now.

The other thing to tell friend A to tell friend B is to keep the wounds clean to avoid infection. We had a counselling session the other day and the nurse basically admitted that if you can't stop the cutting, at least do some damage limitation.

I can understand that you are feeling helpless, but maybe offering advice down the grapevine might help.

NotMySecret Thu 07-Mar-13 18:37:21

Thank you so much for posting. DD and I are reading, and will keep discussing what we can do.

TooYappy Thu 07-Mar-13 18:45:47

My DS friend is doing this too, he confided in DS , I asked Ds is anyone else knew and he is in counselling for it, DS asked why he did it and he said the pain he had from cutting himself was better than the pain he felt inside, he didn't say anymore as to what it was about, very sad. Around the same age too.

stephrick Thu 07-Mar-13 19:15:57

My DD was self harming 18 months ago, she was 16 at the time, It was obvious to me, though she said it was the dog scratching her, I kept a close eye on her, I kept finding bent paperclips and bloody toilet paper in her room. I kept asking her about the cuts and after a month I let her know that I knew what she was doing. She has stopped now, I did make an appointment with her GP, as she was over 16 she could go herself, which I believe was the right thing to do, I still don't know why she did it, maybe it was exams, growing up who knows, but the confidential talk did the trick. She has scars on her upper arms but they are fading now, but I do have a sneaky look every now and again, just in case. The worse thing is to ignore, let them know that you are aware, ask them to talk, they probaly won't, never shout and say you don't understand.

WishIdbeenatigermum Thu 07-Mar-13 19:31:40

coat that's spot on. And I'm glad you've come up with the smoking analogy. I didn't want to minimise it when DD was doing it, but I did feel that it was an extreme response to norm teenage feelings. She also engaged with CAMHS, who were excellent, and also concluded there were no underlying causes for concern. Teenage girls today are taught that their emotions are to be valued and know a lot about different ways of acting out, but there's actually very little awareness of what's normal and ways of staying mentally well, stress avoidance, how to access support, etc.

NotMySecret Thu 07-Mar-13 22:00:49

Thank you for posting.

DD now has a plan. She will speak to their form tutor, firstly without giving names, and ask him if he will speak to friend B, as if he has noticed she seems sad (she does, according to DD). He is quite young, and the students seem to relate to him very well - DD told me about another situation he has helped to resolve for another girl in the class.

So, if either A or B don't go for the counselling, DD feels she has a way forward to help her friend, as do I.

I will definitely get her to mention the cleanliness aspect to A, to pass on - not something. I would've thought of.

mindfulmum Fri 08-Mar-13 08:22:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Notmysecret Fri 08-Mar-13 09:31:53

Thank you so much mindful. I was just going to ask parents whose DC had self harmed if they would want an adult to act, even if it meant breaking a confidence.

Thank you for the link.

I did know that the self harm is a symptom of the main problem, and not the problem, its self. I will reiterate this to DD.

The girl (B) has told her friend (A) that she does it so she won't do anything worse.

My heart is just breaking for her. She's a lovely girl, fiercely intelligent, and very talented.

Notmysecret Fri 08-Mar-13 13:14:30

Just an update.

I rang the school, today. The teacher was very grateful for the "heads up" and promised to be discreet as far as DD is concerned.

In fact, she said she knew about it, but when I checked the name, it was actually another girl in the same class, so there are two in the same class. (Obviously, I don't know who the other one is - she didn't tell me a name, I told her.)

I feel so relieved. It really did sound like the school would be able to deal with this.

Thank you to everyone that has shared their experiences. I do wish all the best for your children, going through difficult times right now. thanks

mindfulmum Fri 08-Mar-13 16:19:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Notmysecret Fri 08-Mar-13 17:25:26

I've just spoken to DD and she was very relieved that a) I had spoken to the school and b) the school had promised not to tell anyone it was her.

Another girl had actually noticed the cuts, and has also been very worried, so it was good that they were able to talk to each other. They have been really scared.

DD has sent the Sirius project link to friend A to pass on. It looks excellent.

Thank you once again, everyone who posted.

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