AMAZON and BARNES and NOBLE
- Some kids cut as their way of coping with strong emotions, intense pressure or relationship problems. They may believe that experiencing physical pain will allow the release of emotional pain.
- Kids may be angry or ashamed about something they have done and are cutting in order to punish themselves for the “bad act”.
- Cutting may be used as a distraction from painful thoughts and feelings.
- The child may be trying to feel “something” – kids may feel emotionally numb and prefer pain to feeling nothing.
- Cutting can be a “cry for help”. Kids may cut in order to let others in their lives see how distressed they are in hopes someone will be able to help.
- Pattern of unexplained injuries, cuts and/or scratches.
- Insistence of wearing clothes that are counter to the weather (i.e., long sleeves or long pants on hot days) may be an effort to hide injuries.
- Finding sharp objects where they wouldn’t be expected (i.e., razors, unbent paper clips, box cutters).
- Blood stains on towels, tissues, clothes, sheets and blankets.
- Locking self away from others – being secretive about activities while alone.
- Series of “accidents” in otherwise not clumsy child.
- Talk with your child about your concerns. Do your best to avoid shaming the child, but focus on wanting to understand and help.
- Problem solve alternative behaviors your child can utilize if the temptation to cut recurs. These can include: talking to you, physical exercise, writing about feelings, and distraction techniques (reading, TV, music, friends).
- Know when to ask for help. A mental health professional is a great resource for you and your child. Make sure your child knows the therapist is a resource to help the family, not to “fix” them or because they are “bad”.
- If your child shares future cutting incidents, do your best to come from a position of love and support, not anger and shame. Our goal is to increase communication about the behavior, not hide it away.