What if your teen cut themselves?

Luna Novem

Woodpecker
Woman
This is not currently occurring in my household; no need to worry or advise me to call a counselor. I am wondering what your hypothetical answers would be. Is it, in your opinion, a behavioral issue that they should potentially be disciplined for? Or is it truly a mental health issue that must be dealt with as such? Or maybe something in between (i.e. remove influences)
 

Ah_Tibor

Woodpecker
Woman
Kids that do this (and they're typically girls, because girls tend to lash out at themselves) do it out of stress. So I would find out what is bothering them and deal with it that way.

Also it's probably a sign that they should spend less time on the internet.
 

Lamkins

Woodpecker
Woman
Cutting wasn’t anything common (Or at least not known about) when I was a kid, but I showed every other indication of desperation. If I’d known about it I’d have been a cutter. With that in my past I’d say get your kid help pronto and take it very seriously. I wish I’d gotten the help I needed back then. It would’ve saved me decades of pain that I still struggle with at 54. I’ve forgiven them, but my parents failed me terribly in this area.
 

Kitty Tantrum

Woodpecker
Woman
I tried this for about fifteen minutes when I was a teen out of morbid curiosity - in retrospect this was likely fueled in part by anxieties AND demonic influences which I didn't understand (and a little bit of testing the response of my peer group), but at least in my case, this was not a precursor to other sorts of self-harming behaviors (unless you count my first marriage, lolol).

In a world where going under the knife for whatever reason is marketed as completely normal, I wouldn't necessarily automatically assume that it "means something" if there are no other alarming behaviors going along with it. If one of my boys were to do something like this, I would demand that they show me where they learned about it, so that I could pick apart their source material in order to really underscore how retarded it is, and assess based on their reaction whether further action is needed.
 

muhtea

Robin
Woman
As well as what @Ah_Tibor said, I would try to find some books that might help them in dealing with the stresses of life. I wouldn't immediately run to counseling since most of that is pretty useless and invasive, and creating a panic over it is bound to cause more stress for an already stressed young person.

Thich Nhat Hanh has some very good books on transforming suffering that are easy to read without any heavy theology or guilt loading.

Give them space, allow them to talk, listen without a lot of judgment, help steer them to healthier coping skills. But certainly remove sharp objects from their bedroom in the meantime (I realize they can find anything for this, but at least it makes it clear that this is NOT the way to deal with things and makes it more of an effort to find something to damage themselves with).

I'd also recommend not keeping too much medicine easily accessible - get a little lockup cabinet and dole it out into other containers so there's not enough out to be usable for anything destructive. Probably a good idea anyway.

EDIT: Let me just add that while Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk so obviously not Christian, the point is it's very easy to read and he is very compassionate and non-judgmental. For a teen I think this is incredibly important. I don't think these books are incompatible with Christian morality.
 
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