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Urgent, please help, I have a teenage stepdaughter that is cutting herself

I just got an email from my stepdaughter who is 16. She is depressed, vomiting all the time, not sleeping, and has started cutting herself. She lives across the country from us and will not talk to her Mom or her Dad. The only one she really confides in is me. I don't want to say the wrong thing to her and I need to know how to help her. I am posting this anyomously because I don't know if her Mom is on Cafe Mom. If you want to talk to me in private leave a message and I will PM you. Please anyone who has had experience with this and can help, I would really appreciate any advice


Asked by Anonymous at 7:35 PM on Nov. 21, 2009 in Teens (13-17)

This question is closed.
Answers (10)
  • Is there another adult family member that lives near her that she would listen to. If not you need to confide to her dad what his daughter is doing. You both need to confront the mom and demand that she gets help. Could she possibly come and live with you and her dad for a short time. You need to somehow find the resources to get with her face to face so that she knows someone cares about her and wants her to get better.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:55 PM on Nov. 21, 2009

  • I think it's time to call her Mother. If you're across country you can't do anything.. JMO

    Answer by MrsLeftlane at 7:37 PM on Nov. 21, 2009

  • Her Mother won't do a damn thing. We tried to get her into counseling before this for other problems and her Mom will not allow her to go. That is why she won't tell her Mom any of her problems. Her Mom is controlling and doesn't want anyone outside of the house to know what goes on in the family.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:40 PM on Nov. 21, 2009

  • You need to call her parents. I know it seems like you would be ratting her out... but she needs to get help and the only people that can really help her are her parents... she needs to be seen by a psychologist ASAP. Waiting too long to get help might lead to suicide attempts.
    When you talk to her parents you can ask them not to tell them that she told... they could lie and say a friend of hers talked to them if they would like. It would be good if they keep the line of trust open between you two so that if she thinks of taking things further she will hopefully say something to you first.
    I would also set up a no harm contract with her... basically it says that she promises that she won't do anything to harm herself and that she promises that if she is having those kinds of thoughts that she will call you and ask for help.

    Answer by AmiJanell at 7:44 PM on Nov. 21, 2009

  • If she's 16 she may be able to go to court and choose to come live with you and her father- if her mother won't help her it is probably for the best! You may have to go across country to go to court, but I really think if her own mother won't help her, you are probably the safest, most comforting person for her to be with. Once she's with you, you can do all the things she really needs- counseling, love, acceptance. (You're more than welcome to PM me if you'd like)

    Answer by Annabel1809Lee at 7:45 PM on Nov. 21, 2009

  • If her parents really won't do anything then call CPS and explaine that the child is a danger to herself and the family refuses to get help for her... it's neglect.

    Answer by AmiJanell at 7:46 PM on Nov. 21, 2009

  • Does she visit? What is the custody arrangement like? It might be time to amend it.
    Not allowing your child to go to counseling is a huge red flag.

    Answer by Gealach at 7:46 PM on Nov. 21, 2009

  • She is cutting, not trying to commit suicide. Try and come down a bit. Unfortunately there are a lot of girls that cut. It is way of releasing the negative emotions and making the pain they feel real or visible. She needs counseling. I would talk to your husband and show him what she is saying to you. Express you concern. Help Dad help is baby girl. This might mean court but she needs professional help. If mom wont listen see if the school will, Dad will have to make the call and what action to take.


    Answer by DevilInPigtails at 7:58 PM on Nov. 21, 2009

  • I called my hubby at work right away and he is very concerned. He told me to tell her that she can come live with us, she does have that choice. My concern is that you know you teenagers don't want to leave their friends. I know I shouldn't worry about that at a time like this but I also know the reality of it. He also told me to tell her we would get her counseling somehow and we will work on that no matter what we have to do. But I need to know how to answer her in the meantime as to not upset her and get her to stop until we can help. Thank you for all your suggestions, there are some good ones. I like the contract idea. We do love her very much and would do anything for her. She is so totally controlled at home I can see why her behavior is this way and I'm so worried about her. And I'm afraid if she doesn't get help she will become suicidal.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:05 PM on Nov. 21, 2009

  • Seeing she is doing herself harm, you must tell her mom and dad. She needs more help than you can provide. Tell her that she has a certain amount of time to tell both parents or you will tell them. I would give her no more than 24 hours. When someone is cutting themselves, it is because they are in some kind of emotinal pain and the cutting relieves the pain. Or so they think. You stated that she says she is depressed? She needs to be in counseling before something terrible happens. She may be upset with you at first but she will thank you later.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 11:45 AM on Nov. 22, 2009