I was having a chat on social media with a teenager that self harms. Because of the very nature of social media, Defying Mental Illness (DMI) were somewhat limited in how much we could help her especially behind the masks of the social media.
I pleaded with her to tell her parents, teacher, doctor, an ADULT who could be a first point of call for help. My pleas so far have not completely sunk in. Thankfully though, through the few contact we have when possible on social media, she has not cut for quite a while. That small milestone was achieved because sometimes all it takes to start the journey of recovery is knowing someone cares.
Naturally, if you find out your kid is self cutting, as a parent you will be upset. But you need to keep the channels of communication open. Kids are clever in hiding things. As parents, we need to be ahead of their game.
5 things not to do when your child self harms
##1 Don’t show you are annoyed
Of course, you are annoyed, you say. Yes but annoyance is not going to get them out of this. We need to exercise self control; self control is so important in this difficult situation. Don’t blow your top, get angry or start shouting at your kid. If they have the boldness to let you in to what they have been doing, you need to be reassuring them that they will get through it.
##2 Don’t express disappointment
It is not the time to start expressing how much you have done for your kid, how you sent them to the best schools, and “how could they”? Self harm can happen to dysfunctional families as well as prim and proper families too.
##3 Don’t buy the ticket for the guilt trip
This follows from point 2. That fact you nearly died having this kid, or the cost of their private education cost you the yacht you always dreamed of, does not wash the stains right now. If your kid feels guilty you are only putting plaster over a fracture in the long run. Beware!
##4 Don’t compare them to their siblings
Even if they have a twin, they are very different individuals. The fact they are all growing up in the same home does not mean they will react the same way as their siblings. They have different personalities. Self harm is often linked to low self esteem so comparison will not help! Handle with care.
##5 Don’t be prophet of doom and gloom
They don’t need to hear that if they continue this self harm thing, all the variable lists of possibilities of what could happen in their life. They will amount to something…but you got to let that come from YOU! Positively assert them even though it is hard right now. Speak and declare words over them, their minds and their life. Words are powerful. Be the one who always sees the best in their kid even when the whole world says they are the worst. Prophesy over your kids and speak what God says about them. They are fearfully and wonderfully made by their heavenly Father. That is what He sees and you must do too!
From the list above, we can definitely see what not to do when your child self harms. Honestly, they want to stop…be glad you found out…it is your opportunity to help them!
Please share this post to a parent who needs support at this time! Thank you.