I am Wanda Martin in Irving, TX. I was never able to have children of my own so we became foster parents and ended up adopting a beautiful African American baby who is now 12.
I am looking for ways that I may be able to help her with cutting her self. I have never seen this done nor have my husband dealt with this before.
What steps do I we need to take and what are the best therapies for her???
Please help we are desperate for help.
Larry & Wanda Martin
Cutting is the new "in" thing to do up here in NW IN. Seems every time I turn around I hear of another kid doing it. I work with the middle school/jr high age kids at church as well as have a 13 yr old myself. My advice is don't wait. Find her a therapist NOW. Most of the success stories I hear involve inpatient treatment. Cutters often hide the marks with long sleeves, jackets, etc. If she is cutting it is definitely a deeper issue. She most likely feels out of control in some area or multiple areas of her life and cutting is something that she can control. I wouldn't even wait until tomorrow.
My dd has started cutting herself too. I had to admit her to a psych hospital a couple of weeks ago. The psychiatrist says that it is up to her to want to stop cutting, I'm not supposed to make a big deal out of it. She made up a safety plan, a list of things to do when she feels like cutting herself. We have been working on revising the list to find what works. He said not to try and lock up all the knives and things that she can cut herself with, because unless I plan to follow her everywhere, she is going to cut herself when she wants to. I do make her wear long sleeves and pants (she mainly cuts her arms and thighs) when she leaves the house because it bothers other kids. She is just starting therapy for this.
Whether it is for attention or not is irrelevant. She still needs to find better ways to get the attention without hurting herself. If she is cutting as a coping mechanism for emotional pain or anger, she needs better coping mechanisms. It all comes down to better coping mechanisms.
cutting is an addiction, and there is lots of info and help you can find online. My 14 year old has been cutting for a over a year..she has been in therapy, we did have one ER visit because she cut one too deep, (thats how I found out), talk to her, dont reprimand her, support her, ask her if she wants to seek therapy. See if you can talk to her about whats bothering her.
When it got bad we did take all sharp objects out of her room and bathroom, but the therapist told us, if they are going to cut they will find a way. Now that we are working WITH her, and not treating her like she is doing something wrong, and getting her help it seems to help. its a slow process.
I am a part time student and I just did my final paper on self-injury. The first thing you need to do is find a therapist who has experience working with teens and can work with her on identifying the triggers to her cutting, finding more positive behaviors to deal with her stress and better communication skills would be helpful. While I was doing my research I read a book called, "When Your Child is Cutting: A Parents Guide to Helping Children Overcome Self-Injury"
You can also check out www.mentalhealthamerica.net they have a fact sheet on self-injury. Also, check out
www.nami.org/namioncampus for information about self-injury.
My 14 year old was also cutting herself. Her new "friends" showed her how. I thought she was using a knife or scissors to do it, but later I found out she was breaking open pencil sharpeners and using the blade inside. I never would have thought of that. My daughter stopped after I took her out of school and started homeschooling her. I hope things get better for you!
Unfortunately this is really really common amongst teens. Some kids do this a few times and then it is over (mine did) or the cutting escalates and they need help. Analyze how serious this is. Is it daily? Weekly? Every day? Talk to her gently and ask her why. If she doesn't have an answer, then perhaps a therapist who specializes in teen anxiety can help. I know this sounds counter intuitive, but if this has happened only a few times, I actually suggest that you drop it. Take her out to her favorite places, try your best to stay connected and eventually, she will probably stop on her own. Teens being told to stop only adds fuel to a fire that you do not want to spread so if it is not out of control, I would let it run it's course.
My daughter has had issues with cutting on and off over the years. She realized that most of the reasons she cut was because of toxic relationships. She uses music and exercise as an outlet to work on dealing with her emotional pain. She has done therapy but her finding a different outlet was key.
She also reminded me that cutting isn't for fun or because it is something she really wants to do. It is a way for her to have control of something in her life when she feels she doesn't have control of anyhting else.