What would you do if you suddenly saw your beloved child hurting themselves? Or if you find that they have unexplainable slashes on their arms? Would you be shocked? Would you be angry at your child?
Who do people self-harm?
People who do self-harm do so because they want to exert some form of control over their lives since they feel that their lives are hopeless or meaningless.
Most of the time, people who self-harm are also depressed, or suffer from a form of depression. Self-harm is a way for them to deal with their frustrations and cope with their feelings.
It’s also a common myth that self-harm always leads to suicide, but in reality this isn’t true. Another persistent myth is that people who self-harm have the ability to stop themselves from doing so. This simply isn’t true as most of the time, the urge is uncontrollable, and is a reaction to emotional pain and distress.
What are the signs?
Aside from seeing wounds or scars of self-harm, other signs of potential self-harm can be depression, a sudden change in their behavior, and sometimes trying to cover up their arms or wrists so that you don’t notice their scars or wounds.
Eating disorders and irregular sleeping patterns can also be related to self-harm, so those are other signs that you need to look out for.
What can parents do?
The first thing to remember is to never make your child feel bad about what they’re doing. The last thing that your child needs is to feel even worse about themselves.
Instead, try and talk to them and ask if they have any problems, and what you can do to help. If they don’t want to talk just yet, don’t pressure them, but always make your presence felt. Be supportive of your child, and look for opportunities to try and get closer with your child, so that you can build a trusting relationship with them.
You can also ask them to instead look for other means of expressing themselves. Maybe they can write in a diary, or in a blog online. You could encourage them to look for a productive activity that they might be interested in, such as dancing, sports, or even reading books.
Shower your child with love and understanding, and avoid making them feel even worse about what they’re doing. They know that self-harm is wrong, but they just lack the self-control to stop doing it. Which is why as a parent, you need to let them know that they have you with them, and that they can express themselves through other ways.
Your child needs your support during this time, so make sure to stay with them every step of the way.
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