Just found out that my 15 year old DS is self harming - what now?(5 Posts)
Have just discovered today that my DS (15) has been self harming. With the warm weather, his arms were not covered and I can now see the scars - about 13 or so down his forearm. He said that the earlier ones are from around Christmas and the most recent more like 6 weeks ago (slightly red, unlike the earlier ones which are very faded). He has been very adept at covering them up so far, even we go swimming etc. It goes without saying that of course I am 'heartbroken' for the pain that he must have been suffering and the pain that he has inflicted on himself. To be honest I am also angry...
So what do I do now? He said that he did it because he felt stressed by his exams back in January (he is in Year 10 and actually did pretty well in them) and his future. Other than that he is struggling to express why... He is dyslexic and I know that this has put a lot of pressure on him but we have worked closely with the school since Year 7 and he is fully supported. It might be worth mentioning that it is not his reading that he struggles with but his memory and sequencing - think losing everything and forgetting what he needs to do. I know he hates this and feels upset when he loses / forgets something, but I am really accepting and supportive on this.
Other than that there is nothing that I can think of nor that he can tell me that is upsetting him...no family or personal dramas that are obvious. He is generally happy but has times where he is monosyllabic and will engage in conversations with me along the lines of 'why we exist and what is the point'.
On another note he does have a group of friends that he has come closer to in the last 6 months where some self harm (he has shared this with me) and have extra counselling at school etc. They are all super bright kids and are of course lovely but are very intense...I don't know how much this has influenced him? They also engage endlessly through social media which although we control (turned off at 9.30 pm), it feels that it is not mentally healthly.
He also has activities that he engages in (DofE, Junior Leader at Beavers, Explorers, Water Polo and Robotics) plus spends loads of time with us doing things outdoors.
So what do I do? Support him how? Take him to the Doctors, talk to school. Hope he will mature out of this? I have done some reading already and I understand in a way why but need to know what now?
I am also maybe a little hyper sensitive to this all as a very close family friend lost her 15 year old DD to suicide a couple of years ago which impacted on us all deeply. I saw how quickly that escalated from self harming...
Sorry for the long post...
Been through this with DD1, so you have my heartfelt sympathy. Absolutely tell the school - they NEED to know so that they can help to keep him safe. Take him to the GP (although many of them aren't very good with mental health). If you can afford it, think about private counselling. Don't rely on CAHMS - they told me that my DD's first overdose wasn't serious enough and they didn't need to see her. That was shortly followed by another overdose where she nearly died. We went private. Make sure you have someone to talk to yourself - it is exhausting looking after a teen going through this.
I can't offer any advice, but you're bound to be shocked and angry - and I suspect pretty lost. Hopefully someone can come along with proper advice, but it's great that he's talking to you, and that you do so much for/with him.
When it comes to self harm many adults get angry with their children but what the adults don't understand is that sometimes the child will feel like a burden to there parents like if they where to try to explane how they feel the adult will tell them it's invalid so the child will keep everything to them self's till they brake down
Thanks for your replies. I am in the middle of arranging to meet up with his school next week regarding concerns over his completing his homework, so I guess this will be the time I mention his self harming. I know the school well and their pastoral care is excellent. Although when I mentioned this to DS he said, 'His friends who are supported don't think they are very effective!" I am thinking it is because maybe at this stage no one can tell 15 year olds that, 'things will get better and it is normal to think like this BUT over time their brains will change and so will their perspective on life'!
I am still very unsure still why he is self harming (I get the feeling in control/pain release etc)? As I said, he has very few stresses in his life (he admits this) and it all feels so 'cliché' to be doing this at 15, especially as so many of his friends do. I am sure thinking like this is not helpful and of course easy to think this with my 'mature' head on.
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