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Do You Think Your Teen Is Cutting? You're Not Alone

If you suspect your child may be cutting, there are steps you can take to help open the lines of communication and begin talking about it. The Self Injury Foundation offers instructions for initiating a discussion with your teen if you think she may be cutting:

  • Think through your reactions to the possibility your child may be cutting before actually speaking with her.
  • Remember that responding with threats or anger, or minimizing the problem as "just wanting attention" will not only drive your teen away, but might encourage the behavior.
  • Be direct and non-judgmental. Ask your child if she is cutting. If she says yes, tell her you are glad she felt she could tell you and you are there to help.
  • Once the discussion has been initiated, Helpguide.org, a non-profit resource that focuses on understanding and resolving challenging life issues, offers some tips for parents to help understand where their teen is coming from and to help keep the dialogue going, including:

  • Encourage your child to express her emotions, including anger.
  • Understand that cutting is a way for the victim to feel some control over their lives.
  • Offer to help find her a therapist or support group.
  • Be prepared to address any problems or issues within your family, since these may be the cause of your child's cutting issues.
  • The most important step is getting your child the help she needs. NSSI is already an overlooked problem, but you can help raise awareness by talking to your child about cutting and self-injury and offering to help her in any way you can.



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