Are you worried about your middle school tween? Has cyber bullying become unbearable for him or her? Is your teenager having angry outbursts and harming him or herself in ways that are alarming to you?
While the prescence of self-harming behaviors is alarming to parents because of the threat of suicide (due to cutting, burning, and other self-harm activities), the reality is that it’s often a cry for help. This type of behavior is an indication that the family environment is having serious problems.
These teens often feel:
- Their parents are overly intrusive
- They are unable to gain autonomy
- Their feelings and behaviors are controlled by hovering parents
- They are not allowed to think for themselves
- Disconnected from others
- Unhappy with themselves and how they look
Teens who engage in self-harming behaviors do so to distract or relieve themselves of difficult feelings, or to communicate emotions that they are unable to speak. Once they learn to express themselves in other ways, verbally or in writing, the impulse subsides. The troublesome feelings may not go away, but the coping mechanism becomes a healthy one.
If the above sounds like your teen, call me to discuss your particular situation and to schedule your first appointment. Normally, I like to have at least one parent and the teen in the first-half of the session, and if your teenager feels comfortable, I will then see him or her alone for the second-half of the session. We will then move forward and schedule the next session if it’s a good fit.
For more information and resources on self-harming behaviors, please visit this site: https://www.selfinjury.com