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Is the self harming thing really common among teenagers?

(17 Posts)
josben Thu 03-Dec-15 23:15:52

I think DS has scratched his arm ... i have seen a text he sent to his gf with a photo of some scratches saying it was the first time he'd done it - i think his gf has done it before... he is a very young 14, and it seems like experimenting but i am not sure ...? What the best thing to do ?

exWifebeginsat40 Thu 03-Dec-15 23:35:26

talk to him. then talk to him again, and talk to him some more. let him know you want to understand. if you are still very worried, speak to your GP. but please try to keep the lines of communication open with your son. is there anything he's worried about?

josben Fri 04-Dec-15 07:15:05

He wont talk to me .... i ask him whats wrong but he shuts down... ;(

I have emailed his teacher and am going to speak to her today...

NOt sure what to do ..?

GnomeDePlume Fri 04-Dec-15 13:58:05

My DD first self-harmed at 13. Not severe but not insignificant IYSWIM. We didnt take it as seriously as I think in hindsight we should have done.

Fast forward and DD (now 15)'s self harm re started and escalated very rapidly.

The problem I think is that if the self-harm has in anyway 'solved' the initial problem then it can be seen as a go to solution.

I would echo exWifebeginsat40 and say speak to your GP and try to get a referral to CAMHS.

frillybiscuits Fri 04-Dec-15 14:02:48

I self harmed when I was a teen. Not for attention (ie not where anyone could see), but I was hurting a lot on the inside and found it difficult to talk about things. I think it was phase very much down to the pressure of exceeding in school, fitting in social groups and relationships. CAHMs didn't help so I had a private person centred therapist and she helped me so much. I have bad days now but don't even think about doing that to myself. I have awful scars that remind me of what pain I was feelingsad

I highly recommend person centred therapy, it gives them a chance to open up to someone without feeling pressured to answer so many questions. I thought it would be hard but I soon felt comfortable and was spurting everything out!

moopymoodle Fri 04-Dec-15 14:03:25

It's difficult as I remember been 15 and myself and most my friends did it as it was the in thing. Only once or twice, feel rather ashamed now but I was only 15!!

I guess some kids do experiment but some actually have issues causing it.

frillybiscuits Fri 04-Dec-15 14:03:35

CAMHs* sorry

tomatotoad Fri 04-Dec-15 14:07:08

I think it's more common than most people realise and it's exacerbated by the internet.

lljkk Fri 04-Dec-15 14:17:21

Yes, according to 14yo DD. Not every kid but plenty of kids.
I don't know why. My generation we tended to have eating disorders & get stoned a lot. They don't seem to do those things so much now.

Icklepickle101 Fri 04-Dec-15 14:18:29

I did it, most of my friends did it and I've recently found out so has my little sister.

I don't really know why, I was confused by teenage hormones I suppose. I convinced myself I was depressed and sites such as tumblr made this so much worse, there were millions of posters telling. You that self harm, eating disorders and suicide were the best thing. When people found out I was embarrassed and more secretive about it. I would suggest a GP appointment to rule out anything serious but I do think it's very common these day sad

I'd say around 30-40% of my class had self harmed at some point by year 11.

GnomeDePlume Fri 04-Dec-15 14:48:46

My generation we tended to have eating disorders & get stoned a lot.

A different method but still self-harm.

I think the problem is that once the genie is out of the bottle and any form of self-harm is seen as a coping strategy then it is very hard to get it back into the bottle.

ThisIsWhyImBroke Sun 06-Dec-15 01:11:30

Sadly. It is very common. Most of DS's friends have and they're all very happy, have good family lives, etc. I did too when I was younger but when I started I didn't know what I was doing was wrong, It just felt right

MistressoftheYoniverse Sun 06-Dec-15 01:33:38

It seems common among the young people where I live they seem to do it as a right of passage almost, my daughter did self harm enough for mild scaring at 12...she's working through it and we are trying to help her she hasn't done it for a year can become quite addictive and when you are stressed it can be a way of expressing your angst ...I think it has been celebrated in popular culture (check Instagram/online) and can almost be intoxicating as an expression at a young age...

Tillysmum99 Sun 06-Dec-15 18:17:17

Hi there I have been reading this thread with interest as we are currently experiencing similar problems with our DD (15). This is a long post but just to give some background, she started SH around 2 years ago, initiated through bullying within her friendship group at school which we have since moved her from as they were useless and did not take it seriously. The SH was initially scratches but has escalated to proper cuts on her arms and we had an incident last weekend when she took an overdose (had been stockpiling her medication which she takes to help her sleep - we supervise this but obviously not closely enough). She also left the house and went to a main road near us to go in front of a car, but thankfully returned home. There were no signs of this during the day and she was not distressed or agitated, although I have been told since she could have had a sense of calm and control after planning this for so long. she has been getting 1:1 cbt with CAMHS as well as attending a SH group once a week. She has also been taking Fluoxetine for the last 4 months but had her dosage increased recently, the Consultant now thinks this could have caused the escalation which is a known side effect of this medicationhmm so she is changing her to another Med which she hopes will be less agitating. She has been off school last week as CAMHS advised to keep her under supervision until her appt (5 days wait) so all in all not a good week. I feel we take one step forwards and a giant leap back, just when I am starting to hope things are improving they ramp up again. You are right it is like living a half life of stress and my DS is starting to suffer too as his DSis takes up so much of our time with appointments and such. We are constantly on our guard with her and her moods. We have a meeting with the VP of her school tomorrow and I think she may be off for a time until the other meds start working. I had all her bloods checked before she saw CAMHS to rule out anything physical but after reading your comments leaves I might get them checked again. We do have a family history of depression and anxiety but the Psych said hers is not typical as she is ok for a time during the day and then it is like a switch and her mood drops so quickly and she gets intrusive thoughts to hurt herself. She says there is nothing in particular that triggers this but I think we may to dig deeper. MN has been a godsend over the last while just to know we are not alone and it helps to read the stories of others who have come through a difficult time. Thank you all for sharing and hope things get brighter for you allflowers

laughingatweather Sun 06-Dec-15 18:33:04

I'm a MH professional who worked in CAMHS for a while. It's not necessarily a huge red flag.

I went to a very expensive independent girls school and lots of my peers had 'eating disorders' and I don't mean to be dismissive by the quotes but with my professional knowledge, only a small percentage had a clinical disorder.

Or we self - harmed and I was involved in that. For us, it was part of the goth Richie Manics scene and it was for attention!.

Talk to him, it might be something or nothing.

NorthernLurker Sun 06-Dec-15 18:45:06

I would say 'low level' self harm is very common. I don't think it's something parents should over-react to. Obviously it indicates a need to support the teen with some particular stressor but in itself it isn't as a pp has said a major red flag.

In the OP's case her ds hasn't told her about this so I think she needs to tread carefully. I would keep a careful eye on ds in that case and try and encourage supportive conversations in which he may disclose what's going on.

Tillysmum - thinking of you. That sounds so very hard. Hope things improve soon.

zombiesarecoming Sun 06-Dec-15 18:55:28

My DD is 11 and she has been self harming scratching her arms, luckily one of her friends noticed and said something

She only does it when stressed and had just started high school so was totally overwhelmed I think, luckily she will talk about things and with the aid of numerous stress balls and a diary to record her feelings when it happens she hasn't done it for a while now

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