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How do I support my child or teen that self harms?

15 Answers
Last Updated: 05/21/2018 at 11:10am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Jackie Dross, M.S. Community Counseling


I have a passion for working with people from a non-judgmental, strengths based approach to meet their goals for personal growth.

Top Rated Answers
January 5th, 2015 9:18pm
Allow your child/teen to be honest and be honest with them. Do not reply in anger or in a patronizing way. Allow them space enough to breathe and support enough for them to know you are there and you have taken notice and will not be leaving them no matter what. Help them seek appropriate help, that my mean a lot of different things dependon you and your child. Please do not call it a cry for help or suicide failed, it might be, but it might be something else. Learn and become educated as to why someone would choose self harm. One good resource beyond this site is, Make a habit of talking to your child/teen daily about this and about positives, if you only talk to them about the negatives that is how you will become assosicated to them and they will not share the positives causing a potentially even harded connection between you two. Take any self harm seriously, and do not be afraid to take proactive steps as a parent rather than a friend. Seek help yourself as self care is as important for you as well.
November 5th, 2014 4:27pm
You listen and offer support for your child or teen that self harms. Always make sure to get the right help that is needed.
November 8th, 2014 12:55am
Hey, and welcome to 7 cups of tea ! I will try to help you the best I can. Your child or your teen self harms ?
November 8th, 2014 3:23am
Ask them why they're doing it, what triggers their self-harm, is it bullying, stress? Comfort them, little things can help like, watching a movie while drinking hot chocolate for example, just little things they like doing may lighten up their mood. Talk to them, but don't make them feel uncomfortable by talking calmly for example. Little things can make a huge difference.
November 19th, 2014 1:09am
Try and talk and comfort them in everything they find difficult, Do not have a go at them for doing this but ask them about it and what brought it on and see if you can resolve the situation together over time. (This type of thing is something that can and will take time but together can ease the situation)
December 18th, 2014 6:27pm
By helping them see that there are other ways to cope. Loving them and showing them that you are there for them if and when they need to hurt themselves. Showing them that you care about them and want to listen to their problems.
December 26th, 2014 3:36am
The first big thing is to not to judge your child/teen and to let them know that they are not alone. Also let them know there is help for people who hurt themselves and you are happy to help them find it when they are ready for it.
December 29th, 2014 9:27pm
By being there for them. By asking if they're okay. Don't corner them, but give them your presence. Reassure them that have been through it. Perhaps not exactly but how it hurt you too. How you felt hurt. Don't give them already mature, push forward answers on how to deal with it. But give them a story they can relate to. So they don't feel alienated at home.
March 13th, 2015 5:48pm
Support groups, definitely. As a teen who used to cut myself, I hated the very prospect of going to a support group. However, as my mom pushed me to go, I found myself better, Happier, even, and I didn't feel the need to cut anymore.
May 20th, 2015 12:11am
You can support you child or teen that self-harms by validating their feelings first of all. They are most likely using self-harm to block out emotional pain they are feeling or sometimes teens do this as a part of a group. It is important to know why they are self-harming and validate their pain. Then, if possible, you could get them some professional help where you child or teen can get strategies to use instead of the self-harming behaviors. I wish you the best.
October 26th, 2015 2:31pm
Watching you child or teen in that much distress is heart breaking for any parent. Our first instinct is to protect and remove and ' tools' that make self harm possible. This isn't always helpful sadly. Talk to your child/teen do they know why they self harm? Do they know why it ' helps' them? Actively listening and focusing on their feelings not your own will help them feel supported not judged. Do they want to see a Dr or therapist? Give them as much love and trust as you can while keeping them as safe as you can. It is their way of coping right now and not an indicator of suicide reach out to others and educate yourself about self harm - you are doing an amazing job
April 19th, 2016 7:30am
There must be a reason why your child is doing so. It is good if you can bring your child to get some help like therapy or counseling to solve the issue.
May 1st, 2017 8:27am
Let them know that you understand they're suffering, and don't ever make fun of them. Self harm is serious as you may know. Seek for professional help, a therapist they can talk to, and introduce them to new solutions to cope with their feelings that aren't bad for their physical and mental health.
January 15th, 2018 6:26am
#1 thing I can say is to not freak out or panic or otherwise make a big deal of it. While self harm is a serious deal, it needs to be dealt with in a calm and loving way. Asking your child how the feel before and after they self harm can help you both to figure out what some triggers for it are. Therapy is often a good option for many young people as well. Best of luck. ❤️
May 21st, 2018 11:10am
Self-harm could suggest depression. It might be helpful to find a professional counselor and discuss the situation with them.