Resources for parents of at-risk and troubled teens.



August 2010

Teen Self-Harming, No One Knows the Reason Why

by Staff, on at risk, at risk blog, at risk youth, self harm, self harming, self harming teens, self injury

We have all seen or heard, or even witnessed teenagers with self inflicted cuts and bruises on the body. Most of us find it too difficult to comprehend. In fact it’s not just us, the regular parents, who don’t understand. Physiologists have determined the need for cutting and the effect of it, but how someone gets the idea is way beyond anyone’s grasp. That is not the issue, the issue is that our kids have a need to perform self-injury or self-harming in some situations; the first thing in that situation is not to question why and how, but to help your child. In some cases in order to help your child you need to know the why and how, but first focus on the signs and try to notice them until it becomes too late.

The fact is that any person around us could self-harm himself; there isn’t a single profile that can be made of people who self-harm. Which means there is no stereotype of what kind of people go to such distance, also there is no way that we can determine if someone is at risk of self-harming just by knowing the person, we have to watch out for the signs. There is one thing that is in common for all self-harmers, they will try to keep it a secret as much as they can. They will go to great lengths to make sure no one finds out. So if anything seems suspicious you should watch out for the self-harm warning signs.

Before telling you’re the warning signs you need to look for there is one important thing you need to understand. Most people think that self-harming stops at cutting, or scratching, but unfortunately that is not the case. People who self-harm themselves can go to burning their skin, putting out cigarettes on their skin and hot lighters; even poisoning and intentional overdose is an option for them. Basically self harming doesn’t have a boundary, if you can think of it someone will do it, so you need to pay attention to the following symptoms:

- Hidden and unexplained cuts and hurt marks on the body
- Too much secrecy, constant sneaking and hiding of certain things
- Wearing inappropriate wardrobe, like long sleeves during the hot days of summer
- Sudden mood swings
- Change of sleeping and eating patterns
- Change in friends or even lack of any
- Low school performance
- General loss of interest in the things such as hobbies, sports, music, or any other preferred activity by that teenager

There are certain risk factors that influence the possibility of teen being prone to self harming, but they are too general and they can apply to any passive aggressive teen behavior or mood changes. If you notice any of these signs and manage to find out that your child is inflicting self-harming wounds, then you should go straight to a medical professional and seek help. There is really not much to think about here, this is a very serious matter and in most cases the child is at risk of either harming himself badly or of developing sever mental disorders, so the best and the only thing you can do is take your child to a professional and do whatever is in your power to help your child go through this crisis. Staff