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MY 15 YEAR OLD son has been "marking" his arm with a sharp object for a few months.

(8 Posts)
angieneal58 Sat 26-Oct-13 10:30:21

We approached his head of year and he reported that many children in that year are doing it. He thinks it is a national phenomenon and may of the children in same year are doing it. Only a small number are actually "self harming" and have mental health issues. It seems to be a trend. Our son is happy and healthy, but denies that he's doing it purposefully and has scratched himself playing rugby, on bushes etc. Anyone else experienced this?

NessaB82 Sat 26-Oct-13 15:20:22

My 13-y-o did the same thing at the end of last school year. Other children were doing it, one seriously, but they seemed to be doing it to be part of this trend and the cuts were superficial. My daughter talked of depression and angst but that is her personality. Obviously at the time, I was very worried, but it only lasted a few months. They all went back to school this year and the phase has passed. I hope this is the case for your son.

notenoughlicorice Sat 26-Oct-13 16:15:09

That can't be fun to see a child do that, whatever the reason.
Perhaps read up on causes of self-harm and viable solutions (seeing a psychologist that specialises in teens and self-harm etc).
A chat is definitely in order. Any qualms go to a psychologist. Any teen can probably get loads out of a chat with a psychologist, even if they are just self-harming as a trend.
Heaven knows I would have loved a chat with an adult that listened to what I had to say, seemed interested and understood teenagers.

notenoughlicorice Sat 26-Oct-13 17:08:31

Thinking about this a bit more: I would be seriously pissed off with your school and the staff if they say not to worry about children hurting themselves.
That is unacceptable.

It is certainly unacceptable for adults that are supposed to be caring for children to say such a thing, let alone to a concerned adult.
I would definitely be taking this up with the school at increasingly higher levels, and even outside the school if this isn't deemed serious.

I am currently studying to become a teacher; children self-harming is not healthy for any reason, and staff dismissing it is certainly not acceptable.
Give them what for, you are completely justified!

The only kids I knew that did this when I was at school and uni had serious issues going on and felt they had no one they could talk to (myself included). It was briefly fashionable for a bunch of us to do it for a while, and all of us had issues. The few that didn't didn't have any major issues and thought we were wierd (quite rightly).

This head of year has obviously become more interested in being a head than caring for children. Toxic teachers can occur at any level, anywhere.

BurberryFucker Sat 26-Oct-13 17:11:49

absolutely agree with notenoughlicorice - what a crap thing for HOY to say.
Perhaps ask your GP for a ref to CAHMS?
my son did it a bit when he was 13 but stopped pretty quickly and took up smoking instead......sad

BurberryFucker Sat 26-Oct-13 17:12:18

such a worry though for you OP.....

BeigeDarling Mon 28-Oct-13 11:56:58

Speaking as a 16 year old girl i thought i might be able to add from my own experience.

From year 10 onwards i remember over half of my year group doing the same thing; more often than not, it was light scratches that they could then 'accidentally' show off to their friends and cause attention and fuss.

This in itself i guess shows that most of them did have problems because of their crave for attention- but after a few months most of them stopped because people started to realise they had no real reason to be doing it and the attention would stop.

Hopefully this is the case for your son, and now you've confronted him about it, he's likely to stop soon (if he is doing it as a phase) because he won't want to turn it into anything bigger if he hasn't got any real problems. However, if you notice it continues, and he becomes quiet and keeps to himself a lot, then it's worth going and speaking to a counselor outside of the school or your GP.

From my experience with this, and friends who had this phase, schools are awful with this type of situation- unless you have a student support officer at the school, which helped me and a few others. Regular teachers and HOY's are never any help!

Hope things get better for you and your son!

petal58 Sun 03-Nov-13 10:45:30

Thank you BeigeDarling for your comments, it as very insightful. I have since talked to the boy and he we had a good conversation. Seems he did it to relieve the "stress" of GCSE work (though I think it was also because others in his year do it too!). We have come up with other ways of dealing with school work stress and have a good plan of action which myself, his older brother and Dad can help with. He says he will not do it any more (I was non-judgemental and emphasised things like risk of infection and addition to cutting etc) but will come to me or Dad when he feels "stressed". I will keep a close watch. Hopefully as you say, it will stop. Thanks again.

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