5 Tips on How To Prevent Your Teen From Harming Themselves

5 Tips on How To Prevent Your Teen From Harming Themselves

Preventing Teen Suicide

Self-harming behavior such as cutting, scratching, and burning, among others, is rather common in distressed teens. These teens don’t know how to verbalize their feelings yet and act on them by harming themselves. Teens choose self-harm to ease overwhelming emotions and to sooth deep feelings of sadness. They might also do it to express self-hatred or shame. Many times they also harm themselves because they feel helpless.  

Though self-harming is known as Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) because there is usually no intention to commit suicide, the behavior can often lead to deliberate suicide.

So, What Can I Do as a Parent?

As soon as you learn about your teens self-harming behavior, it is important that you take them to a therapist for assessment, where they will also be taught how to deal with painful situations.

In addition to that you should do the following:

  1. Help them understand situations that trigger the behavior – they should understand that everyone goes through difficult times which can cause negative feelings. You can always talk about your own triggers and how they make you feel.
  2. Suggest that they engage in less severe behavior – self-harming is addictive, you don’t just walk away from it. Where the urge is persistent, suggest a few less severe behaviors such as tearing papers, pounding a pillow, or snapping a rubber band.
  3. Modeling positive imagery in front of them – visualizing the good things can greatly reduce anxiety and painful feelings. When you practice positive imagery in front of your teens, they will learn to do the same even in your absence. For example, you can talk aloud when visualizing a soothing place you have been to.
  4. Have a coping kit – the kit can contain helpful journals, upbeat music, and collections of photos of family, friends, and their heroes. Typically, it should comprise most of the things your teen finds calming. Make the kit easily accessible.
  5. Be compassionate – let the teen know that you are always available to help them. In the event of a set-back, you must offer non-judgmental support. Do not overreact, criticize or shame them.

It is not easy to overcome self-harming. However, with your help and persistence, you can help them get over these behaviors and live a better life.

Please call 866-889-3665 to speak to a professional at Visions about preventing teen suicide.

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