Recognizing the Signs of Cutting In Teenagers

It can be very difficult for parents to understand self-harming behaviors. This issue is often difficult to address, especially when it comes to teenagers. It is important for parents to recognize the signs of self-harming in their children and teenagers. When parents recognize these signs, they can learn how to best approach their teenager in a helpful, constructive manner.

Many young people use clothing and accessories to hide cuts or scars from self-harming. For example, teenagers who self-harm may be prone to wearing long sleeve shirts and jackets throughout the year, despite warm weather. They may be unwilling to participate in swimming and sports that could possibly expose cuts and scars.

Noticing sudden or drastic changes in behavior is equally important. If a teenager spends an increased amount of time in their bedroom or bathroom, they may be hiding self-harm behaviors. If parents notice strange items like razors or other sharp objects in a teen's bedroom, this may be cause for concern. Other major signs include finding blood stains on clothing or bloody tissues in the trash.

If parents discover that their teenagers are self-harming, it is important to provide help and support immediately. It is best to avoid punishment or anger, and instead a loving and concerned approach should be taken. Staying calm and non-judgmental is the best way to ensure that teenagers feel safe communicating with parents about this issue. In many cases, therapy or other treatment for depression may be necessary.

References

Moninger, J. “Cutting: Why Teens Hurt Themselves: Signs of Cutting.” Familycircle.com (Website). (2011).

DeRuyck, K. & Resetar, J. “Understanding Teen Cutting and Self Harm.” Boystown.org (Website). (2015).
  • 11 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • Parents must be responsible for the safety and welfare of their children. They should do everything to protect their lives to the best that they can. They are your blessings from God that is why you should love and take care of them. And if you really want their childhood and teenage life to be memorable always watched their actions and behavior so that you can lead them to the right path if they they are doing something wrong. Reminding and advising them the do's and don'ts in life the early the better to save their life from any harm. The role of a parent is not easy but very fulfilling just for the sake of your children.
  • I feel we should stick to the basics and for me the basics is communication, we should keep a good communication with our kids to avoid these extreme situations. 
  • I have been through this phase too when I was a teenager. I did self-harm and almost tried to kill myself. My parents didn't know anything about my depression. I just kept it all inside myself because I didn't want to be a burden to them. But thankfully, I have already recovered from all those bad habits of mine.

    Yes, I agree. Parents should really have good communication with their children before it gets too late for them to do so.

  • Also, they tend to be more rude / cranky than before. I remember that I used to cut during my teenage years / early 20s, and now I have over 50 scars on my body. I was the biggest asshole during that time.
  • I was a teenager that used to hurt myself and cut because I was always depressed. I don't have a teen but a way to tell is if you start to feel like you are losing a connection with them, like they are isolating themselves. So I recommend that all parents should have a strong bond with their teen. They also start to ignore and shun you when you start to do things with them.
  • Very informative post. I think that we are always supposed to take care of those people that are suffering, especially, of the ones that hide their pain and don't talk about it, because they can be the people that are the most suffering and the most vulnerable to hurt themselves. We really need to spread the love so that these people feel a purpose and a reason not to hurt themselves, we all need love in our lives because a life without love feels really bad and hopeless, but no, there's always hope and there's always people out there that will care and love you. I hope that everyone that is suffering from self harm to know that you are loved and you are cared about, please don't hurt yourself, we love you.
  • My mom had a close friend who was an adult when she began cutting herself. She also began writing letters that were strange and very needy. Then after attempting to get close in this way she revealed her problem and what triggered it. Teenagers might hold things in more so I don't know if this would apply to them. 
  • Another subject dear to my heart and informative words of advice and warning signs of cutting.  Amazingly, and excruciatingly distressful is the fact that this activity carries through into adulthood.  I had a close friend, who made a deal to call me every-time she got the razor out and felt the urge or worse yet while she was cutting.  I would try to talk her out of it. As the above article states, the key is to remain calm and non-judgmental.  Although, this can be difficult, because it is a panic situation.  Eventually, convinced her to go into therapy. 

    From the above remarks, it sounds like, this occurs far too often!
  • I wish that adults would've been understanding when I was cutting as a teenager. Instead of getting help for it, I was just punished for doing it. That just helped fuel the feelings of self hate which were making me cut in the first place! I'm glad that people are understanding more about why teens do this and providing more appropriate help.
  • It feels like anger is a popular reaction for parents dealing with a self-harming child, as well as them blaming the child for making them feel miserable. I understand why they feel like this, but I wish that they tried to put themselves in the self-harmer's shoes for a while, and not just be like "Why are you hurting us? How can you do it to us?".
  • I feel so sorry for those teens who feel they have to resort to this kind of behavior when angry.  I can relate though, because when I was younger I often harm myself, but in different ways...  A very tough spot to be in.  
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