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Self Harming in teen(ish) girls?

Hi Ladies. I was hoping to get some advice from other mama's about my almost 13 year old daughter. On Friday my husband noticed that she had carved a JB (for Justin Beiber) carved into the top of her hand. I am very upset about this and am terrified that she could be on the road to more self harming behavior. I adopted her from foster care and there is a history of mental illness in her birth family and that worries me even more. So tell me Mama's am I overreacting by panicking and calling the doctor to get a referral for counseling and making sure she is close to me and not alone? She was in counseling for several years but they felt it was no longer needed for her. I guess they were wrong:/ Please help, I am very worried!


Asked by Anonymous at 8:32 PM on Dec. 2, 2012 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (10)
  • No, you're not overreacting. Hopefully it was just a one time, stupid decision, but most "normal" teens with "normal" teenage angst don't cut open their skin.
    I'd simply ask her about it. Show her you are concerned and you do care. Don't make her feel like she's in trouble, she needs to know you care and will be there for her even if you don't completely understand. Honest communication and mutual respect is, in my opinion, very important when dealing with teenagers.

    Answer by Ludvik_Smith at 8:41 PM on Dec. 2, 2012

  • Was it a self-harming decision or maybe an act done to impress other kids at school? How deeply did she cut? Counseling probably wouldn't hurt, in case she's cutting herself to relieve inner pain, but I've also heard of kids carving initials into their hands or legs because they think it's cool.

    Answer by Ballad at 9:55 PM on Dec. 2, 2012

  • Given that she carved it on her hand, it's an attention thing. If she were truly self-harming, the cuts would be where she could hide it easier. I would for sure emphasis how stupid that was and the health risks involved. Not to mention if that scars. Does she really want a scar of JB on her when she is in her 30's? 40's? 50's? Personally I think counseling these days is just a waste of money. I think it can be helpful but it is so hard to find a good one these days. I know people that are more messed up after counseling than before.

    Answer by tempsingl3mom at 10:05 PM on Dec. 2, 2012

  • I have to say that I most certainly don't agree with it only being for attention because she did it on her hand. Most likely, because she is so young, SHE doesn't even understand what is bothering her. Teenage years are tough...horomones, finding yourself, feeling constantly judged, self-esteem issues, finding your place in life. It's hard. She's confused.
    The first time I cut myself it was a heart on my hand. Inside myself, I KNEW that I wanted someone to ask me about it, even if I didn't go shoving it in people's faces. I WANTED someone to talk to me, to ask me if I was okay, to urge me to expose my feelings. Nobody did. I started cutting my arm. My mom realized what I was doing and sat me down to talk to me and she started crying saying things like, "How could you do this to me?" "What is wrong with you?" That's when I started hiding it, when I felt that nobody cared about me and what I felt inside.

    Answer by Ludvik_Smith at 10:30 PM on Dec. 2, 2012

  • I'm sure you mother cares about you and what you feel/felt inside. I've been there, on both sides. When I was a teenager, I cut myself. I carved initials in my breasts and then began cutting my legs because it was the easiest to hide. I stopped because I was afraid of getting an infection and then having to explain it. And also, I stopped because I realized that one day I wanted to get married and didn't want to have to explain the scars to my husband. My daughter struggles with cutting. I have taken her to many, many counselors. I have talked to her about it, shown that I care and love her, put her on all kinds of medication, and tried all sorts of options. Nothing seems to help. I'm the mom and I'm supposed to fix these things. It is beyond frustrating to me that I can't. I love my daughter more than I can explain.

    Answer by tempsingl3mom at 10:39 PM on Dec. 2, 2012

  • I cut and carved for many reasons........when forced into counseling it made me angry and I did it worse. I would much have rather my family try to deal with me first before panicing and sending me to counseling like i was someone else's problem.

    Answer by mitchellb at 10:46 PM on Dec. 2, 2012

  • As someone who treats these issues I do not always see them hiding it. In fact, it is usually quite open. That is the kicker.

    Answer by frogdawg at 10:55 PM on Dec. 2, 2012

  • Talk to her ask her how her day was and so forth. if she wants to talk to you or her dad that's fine and if she wants to talk to someone esle than you or her dad. Let her. it don't seem like a cuting deal to me at this point.

    Answer by mommy201087 at 11:37 PM on Dec. 2, 2012

  • It may just be a phase. Girls go through it sometimes for attention and bc they don't know how to handle their new emotions and new things in teen life. And peers tv etc influence to cut or harm yourself, run away, do drugs etc to solve your problems. I'd talk to a dr about it though

    Answer by Babicakes24 at 5:02 PM on Dec. 3, 2012

  • When I was 10 maybe, it was the 'cool' thing to do to carve the initials of the boy you fancy into your arm. I did it with a protractor. ridiculous and I knew it was ridiculous but did it anyway. We do seriously stupid things when we are young.

    I went on to self harm in later teens. And when you self harm, it is a form of release, to feel another type of pain than the pain you are feeling on the inside, to release the anger you feel toward people. You just cut, there is no thought into it apart from to release that pain. You definitely do not think "who is my favourite singer? Oh yeah justin beiber"

    The protector thing was a peer pressure thing, not caused by depression.

    I would almost guarantee it is a similar thing with your daughter. Justin Beiber, JB. Its a stupid teen girl thing, trust me. Teens smoke, drink and do all types of stupid things. This is one of them.


    Answer by becsb at 9:43 AM on Dec. 5, 2012