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Question for you: what would you do if you found out your child is self-harming?
Okay, go on say it “God forbid”, “It will never happen in Jesus name”…
I’m still waiting for your answer though 🙂 Answering the question will not make it happen.
It is rife amongst young people (and adults): in the schools I’ve worked in, it is seriously high. SelfHarmUK say 13 out of 100 young people and that is young people who are disclosing.

It affects all race and nationalities: not just white teenage girls. Black and Ethnic Minorities and Boys too

How you can Help

Understand what Self-harm is. Do some research. Find out more.
Helping the young person understand their emotions. Self-harm is linked to emotional pain.
Seek counselling for the young person. see your GP

What doesn’t help

Don’t Make demands and forbid the young person to stop. No joke, this happens and I’ve seen parents use this tactic. It doesn’t work. The young person will just hide it and lie. This just alienates them and adds more shame.

Don’t make it about you: Make it about their pain and what they are going through. Don’t belittle their emotions because it didn’t happen to you when you were their age. Seriously… Remember when your parents did that (even if in different circumstances)

Please don’t say things like “they are just attention seeking” – if someone is self-harming to seek attention, then clearly they are in need of serious attention. Remember this: attention seeking is attention needing.

Saying “it is just a phase, they’ll grow out of it” Well I work with and know many adult self-harmers, who started when they were young.

To Christians – whilst it is important to ask your pastor to pray, bind and lose. Don’t stop there, unless s/he is professional counsellor or mental health practitioner and has the time to give.

Selfharm UK website is a great place to start, with tonnes of information and resources. Check out a recent articleI wrote for SelfharmUK
Find out more about self-harm here