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How do I help a 13yr old who hurts themself?

if anyone can give me any info. at all to help me understand why kids cut/hurt themselves, I would appreciate it. I don't understand why they do it, I don't know how to help,especially since it seems like she doesn't want help at all, she acts like she doesn't care that she's doing it, but aplogizes and seems sad after she does it. Been doing therapy and meds for about 5mths and I don't see how it's helped any at all. She gets mad when I try talking to her, she gets mad when I don't, she's the oldest out of 4 (youngest are 2 and 1) with my hubby deployed, so she feels like I don't have the time to bother with her. She's always saying how life sucks, nobody cares or loves her, she just acts like she doesn't want to BE happy. She dwells on the sadness, doesn't attempt to distract herself from it. I need advice on what to do, I'm at a loss, constantly crying and worrying, I don't know HOW to help her

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Asked by Anonymous at 8:25 AM on May. 19, 2009 in Teens (13-17)

Answers (11)
  • Your child needs more help than you can give her. The therapy that she is getting doesn't seem to be working. If you don't know where to start to find a referral, here are some suggestions: school counselor, family doctor, a university medical school or psychology department. Please don't wait, your child is really hurting.

    Answer by rkoloms at 8:47 AM on May. 19, 2009

  • You said that she feels like you dont have time for her? Do you have a friend or family that can watch the other kids for an afternoon or a day? If so maybe you and her can spend time together alone without the interruption of the other kids and she will get your undivided attention. She needs you now more than ever. With her body and emotions and everything changing she needs her Mom. My sister went through this growing up. If you would like to talk more you can always send me a pm. I know you are marked annon but I can promise you I only mean to help nothing more.

    Answer by krys1973 at 9:06 AM on May. 19, 2009

  • I agree with rklolms. She needs more help than you can give her. I had a friend in high school who did this and she was always sad and lonley. She needed so much help her parents had to make a difficult decision and they mad the right one. She was sent away as they say in my day. She went to an in hospital treatment center. I know she will hate you at first but, really she needs 24/7 care right now before she hurts herself and doesn't come back from it. As for my friend, I saw a few years back and she looks great she was very open about it and said she is a new person because of the treatment. Good Luck , We will pray for your daughter and you.

    Answer by mommarykaje at 9:26 AM on May. 19, 2009

  • Their are many different reasons people cut and hurt themselvwes. One reason is so that they can feel in control of somethign in their own lives. Another is so that they can see the pain they are feeling inside so that it makes more sense to them and they can watch it heal.

    And finally, the reason many kids do it. Attention. Sad, but true. I have known many kids wondering around wearing their scars like a giant tattoo that says "talk to me, help me, im clearly in need" Unless of course she was being very clear with her hruting herself. It could be attention. I know that teenagers love to go around saying they are "on meds" or that they "go to therapy" I should know. I am a teenager. Surronded by people like that.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:38 AM on May. 19, 2009

  • Your child needs professional help, now.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 10:44 AM on May. 19, 2009

  • I used to have a problem with cutting, the word limit on here wont let me write out what I need to say cause it's long lol. But if you'll send me a message I will gladly answer your questions and try to help you out.

    Answer by Herron at 11:34 AM on May. 19, 2009

  • she has told me that she doesn't want to go to therapy any more, and she doesn't want to take the meds any more, as she put it (you can't force a person to be happy) which is why I feel she doesn't WANT to be better. I've wondered if maybe trying a different therapist would help b/c I don't think she's crazy about the woman she sees now, would I just call the center and talk to them about a new person for her to talk to? She's never fully cut herself, it's always been more scratches (I don't think she's even drawn blood) but she calls it "cutting" and calls herself "EMO" and you know what the intent is, even if she's not cutting deep. I've even had my cousin who used to cut and has bad scars on her arms tell her about the danger of going too far. I thought she had been doing better, she'd been happier, her therapist said if things were still good next time she could stop coming to appts... than a week later she cut again

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:52 AM on May. 19, 2009

  • and another question I have is, how do I know when it's just normal teen hormones bringing her down, and when it's serious depression with serious consequences (such as, how do I decide,what are some signs on when it's time to take her somewhere, that it's gone too far?)

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:54 AM on May. 19, 2009

  • It sounds like she needs to change therapists, you could try talking to hers or calling the office and telling her that you don't doubt her ability but she is just not "clicking" with your daughter. There are great therapists who just are not effective with some patients and she should understand. I googled "teen mental health + cutting" to get information for an internship before you can get a lot of good information through the national mental health association ( i think that's what it was) or through the american association of pediatrics. And as hard as it is when it is your child remember that cutting especially when it is not deep is usually not a suicidal symptom, but a coping mechanism to deal with emotional pain.


    Answer by goaliemom93 at 9:15 PM on May. 19, 2009

  • I used to do that, and I was checked into a psych ward at a hospital.
    I was 16 (almost 17)

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:32 AM on May. 21, 2009

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