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13 yr old recently self harmed how to help(4 Posts)
how do I help him?
The self harm came out last week, myself and his dad have followed all steps, the school are working with him, we are talking with him, there is no shame around it etc.
The aftermath of this though as he seems to have forgotten very quickly last week and/or what was massive for us as parents is somewhat a memory to him now.
He says he is fine, he its in his room most of the time, frequently says he isnt fussed by eating, which he really isnt, he eats minimal, he is full of sarcasm. I talked to him last night and asked how are things he said he is feeling fine so is the way he is acting just that he is a teenager or is he depressed?
I want to help him and make him better but also allow him his space, he knows we are there for him maybe he just doesnt want to talk about it.
He had meet at school today with external councillor and told them he doesnt want to speak to them, he will speak to us.
I love him with all my heart, I separated from his dad Feb 2017 and accept this is my doing and just want to know how best to help him, I am so lost and feel as I am failing him massively
For now I would just ensure that you keep an eye on him and make sure he knows that you are there to support & listen to him and that the option of speaking to a counsellor is always open. Suggest whether he would like you both to go to counselling together as going alone may be too daunting.
His behaviour to me seems like a typical teenager, what was a big deal on one day is now not important. This of course does not mean what led him to self harm will not come round again or that he is not masking it. You might want to make an appointment with school to discuss the situation and get their advice and opinion on the matter too.
This isn't your fault and you are not failing him.
It's so shocking for parents/direct family when you find out our child is self-harming. We are in shock a long time, but for them it's temporary relief and then they are weirdly normal again after - though we see scars for life. I found out about my DD 6 months ago and it's been a rollercoaster ever since. So little actual practical advice. Every time I think it's ok...for a week or two...suddenly it happens again with no comms or warning. Tips: Keep cleaning wipes and plasters or gauze where your child knows to find them. Talk to them about cleaning cuts etc properly - even if they aren't going to tell you about it/show you. Ask them to see the school nurse - or call the school if you think they might need checking. Buy a tub of Sudocream and encourage your teen to put plenty on to aid healing - it also masks it quite nicely. Scar healing oil can follow. Don't let them show scars to friends/younger family - as it is even more shocking for them and a burden for friends. Buy long-sleeved school shirts. Your teen needs to realise that they must try to talk to an adult - not over share with friends, as it impacts on mental heath of all. If it happens again, don't' ask pointed questions, avoid expressing disappointment in them or anger (I know - crazy right). Get down on a low level - non-confrontational (e.g. sit on floor), when they seem calm (maybe before bedtime) and ask an open question "Tell me about it/these (cuts)". Or " how were you feeling at the time?". It's natural to try to offer answer and solve the problems - but advice is to listen and however imbalanced what they are saying sounds - don't react to it. Just acknowledge their comments and let them know how much you and many others love and care for them. They are not alone and you will be there for them if they need you (even if they can't hug you or show emotion now...which is horrible and tough for us parents). You may be able to find a local counsellor for about £40 per 50min session - whom your teen might find helpful to chat to. Try to get him on school counsellor list. School may eventually need to know if it recurs, so they can keep an eye on sharp objects/safeguard. Mixed advice on this - but I have hidden most dangerous things in my house so it is hard for my DD (age 13) to act on her urges to self harm when they occur. Invite your teen to come up with 3 activities he can do to distract himself if he ever gets the urge again; sing/listen to music, sit in corner of room where people are, paint/draw/scribble, flick an elastic band on wrist etc. If they are seeming depressed then their moods swing so violently and nasty language goes with it. You have to choose carefully when to ignore or react and pick your battles - to avoid increasing conflict. But equally well advice is to maintain sensible boundaries - so don't let them break proper house rules or insult you purposefully; sanctions and rewards needed. It's scary maintaining boundaries when you are worried they might harm, but you have to, or they will control you. My heart goes out to everyone who experiences their child self harming/depressed - it's is so tough to survive, but you just have to imagine you are a year or two ahead it and it has all stopped. stay strong. x
Sorry to read this OP.
I cant give you specific advice about the self harm but as another mother of a teenage DS, could you try to get him to spend time with you rather than in his room?
Even if he sits and does his homework in the kitchen while you cook.
Perhaps ask him to choose and then cook a meal once a week.
I would be concerned about his eating, either as it will cause low mood if he isnt eating enough or that it may develop into an eating disorder, which is another form of self harm and potentially life threatening.
Please try not to blame yourself.
Keeping channels of communication open and giving him lots of hugs may help.
Side by side communication (chatting while driving/walking/cooking) are easier than direct questions.
Try to share breakfast/evening meal with him.
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