Does your teenager seem not quite like themself lately?
Are you concerned they are hurting themself, or you know they have been self-harming and don’t quite know how to helpfully manage this behaviour?
The teenage years can be troublesome for any adolescent, and outside influences such as peer pressure, family life or uncertain life events, bullying or defining gender/sexual orientation can really impact a teenager’s day to day life. About one in ten young people report they have self-harmed at least once in their young life. However, for many of these individuals self-harm is a one-off or infrequent behaviour. For others, it becomes a repeated behaviour that overtime can become increasingly difficult to change.
Often self-harm is used as a coping mechanism to survive through life’s challenges rather than end it. Most young people self-harm as a way to alleviate their emotional distress, stop experiencing numbness, or manage overwhelming negative thoughts and feelings.
CHECKLIST TO DETERMINE IF YOUR TEENAGER IS SELF-HARMING
IF YOU CHECKED MORE THAN HALF OF THE ABOVE, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
- Write down the concerning behaviours and consider whether these behaviours have changed, increased or worsened recently
- If comfortable, have an open and honest conversation with your teenager to explain your concerns and gently ask if they have self-harmed. Asking them, will not increase the chances that they will self-harm in the future. This conversation is best had when you have set a time aside to talk with your teenager without distractions, and they are in an engaging mood
- A consistent, supportive social network and engagement in enjoyable activities are protective factors for your tenager. Ensure they have a close relationship with someone they feel they’re able to talk openly to, whether this be from a close friend, a family member or an adult from outside the family. Encourage your teenager to engage in enjoyable activities that are outside of the home i.e. go out to the movies.
Self-harm might give relief for a moment, but it doesn’t help solve the root of the problem. With the right help, young people can learn more effective ways to ask for help, cope with experiencing intense emotions, or manage their mental health challenges.
Once you have tried these tips, engaging with a professional allows you to develop a complete understanding of what’s happening with your teenager. A Psychologist will work together with you and your teenager to create a strategy to manage their immediate problematic behaviour, whilst enabling them to feel calm, empowered and in control about their future.
We believe wise minds make wise decisions, so let us help you. Contact us today.