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What do I do if I suspect my child is self harming?

13 Answers
Last Updated: 06/15/2020 at 11:32am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Monique Bivins, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I have a real passion for helping my clients to overcome life's obstacles . My work with clients is nonjudgmental, supportive, and interactive.

Top Rated Answers
November 9th, 2014 10:41pm
The worst thing a child would want is for their parent to tell them off about it. Your child is going through a hard time and will need ALL the support she can get, especially from her parents, without this support she would never be able to open up to you. If you suspect your child is self harming you should make sure that that is a fact. Do you see scars? If you've seen sharp objects (knives, scissors) laying about the house - not where they should be, this might just be an attempt? You need to make sure you know she is self harming.
November 10th, 2014 10:53pm
If you suspect your child is self-harming approach her/him calmly and ask them if anything is going on and that you you are worried. Tell the child that you care about them. If they decide to open up, offer them support and be understandng. Tell them you are always there to listen. Tell them that everything will be alright. Try to get help for your child. It is necessary. If your child does not open up, give it some time unless you notice something horribly wrong. In that case, either get help immediately.
November 13th, 2014 6:11pm
Sit them down and carefully explain why you're there. Ask them if they are. If they say yes, ask them to show you, and ask them why. If they say no, check their arms, and legs. If there are cuts, again, ask them why.
December 19th, 2014 10:37am
If you suspect your child is self harming, you need to sit down with them gently and say to them in a calm tone of voice "Recently I have noticed, you have not been yourself. Are you ok?" And see what they say to that, if you are really worried though contact your doctor or the local hospital
March 7th, 2016 6:10am
If you do, honestly there is alot of possibilities on how things are. try to go behind the scenes and when i mean by that be super discreet. Check in with teachers (email them) and find out their situations on how things are. Ask their close friends if you know them. Dont go on their phone or anything like that. Just call up their moms or try to get a hold of them. Once you get that, see how you want to act from there. One of the big things is to be SUPER supportive, dont force them to do things they dont want to. Understand them, try to, be their in their shoes. Figure out why they are doing that. That is my suggestion. Of course..if theres nothing wrong on all ends, when they arent home, just check their rooms. HOWEVER i stress the privacy. Look around ONLY. Trash bin? Look in there. that is okay. ANYTHING else leave it. If nothing is wrong, then just blunt ask if theres anything wrong. If not, maybe its just something really trivial :)
June 15th, 2020 11:32am
Approaching your child in a calm and collective way is alays a good place to start and to sit down and talk to them about what they are struggling to cope with. It is key to remember to not judge them or make them feel bad about the fact they turned to self harm. More show your support ajd that you are there for them. With talks you could work with them on what will help them to stop self harming of if needs to be as a parent you can approach them about talking to a doctor to get professional support to talk through their struggles they are facing.
November 6th, 2014 6:30am
ask your child how he/she feels, most children who self harm do it because of depression, don't be out right about it, because that might just make him/her feel attacked. If you DO find out that your child is self harming don't blame it on someone or something else or if he/she just started listening to a band or something that you think is making him/her feel depressed don't put all of the blame on them because chances are, a lot of bands that people who self harm listen to, actually help them. Also, try to comfort him/her, it's not his/her fault he/she self harms, it's probably because of bullying, peer pressure, stress, etc. Hope I helped :)
November 9th, 2014 1:10pm
Never, ever, EVER tell your child they are being dramatic, or that they are stupid for harming themselves. Most likely this will make them want to do it more! Tell them you love them and it hurts you too, when they do that, and you'd like it if they'd talk to you instead.
December 24th, 2014 10:42am
You should sit down with them and talk with them. You are your child's parents. It's important that they know you care for them.
- Expert in Parenting
April 10th, 2015 9:51pm
What would you want your parents to do if it were you? I would not want my parents to freak out. I would want them to validate my feelings and why I am doing this and teach me some strategies or get me some help so that I could stop.
May 16th, 2015 2:42am
Self harming is a mental disorder. Your child need professional help from a psychiatrist or counselor. Please find help immediately.
March 18th, 2016 6:39am
If you think your child is causing self harm stay calm and be supportive and help the child work threw this problem ask them carefully and listen and understand tell them your hear for them and they can talk to you any time.
July 2nd, 2018 11:03am
Talk to them honestly and directly about the issue you see and offer professional help as soon as possible