My Child is Cutting Themselves – Why?
It is a frightening and disheartening thing for a parent to find out that their child is injuring themselves. In a moment of panic, one might even think that their child is attempting to commit suicide, especially if the child is cutting themselves. This is a misconception since most people engaging in self-injury and cutting use it as a coping mechanism to deal with distress. They are not trying to find a way to permanently end it all, but this is but a small consolation for parents who discover that their child is involved in self-injury.
However, trying to deal with such a delicate situation without knowing the facts behind why people get into the habit of self-harm in general and in particular, why one’s child is cutting themselves up, can lead to disastrous results. There are many reasons why people inflict injury and physical pain on themselves and it is important to understand what the root cause of the behavior is and how best to deal with it.
In the past, it was believed that self-injury was a way of one trying to get attention but this has been proven to not be true. Most people who hurt themselves are children and teenagers who can start cutting themselves as early as when they are nine years old and usually hide it successfully from their parents. Teenagers get into risk-taking and dangerous things.
Whereas almost everyone will enjoy and feel the rush of taking drugs, if someone is experiencing the same effects by cutting themselves, then it shows that there is a deeper underlying issue that needs to be addressed. One of the major reasons why some young people engage in self-injury is to deal with emotional pain.
When children are dealing with emotional pain caused by physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, rejection, feelings of shame and disgust, or for any other reason, physical pain can dull the emotional pain. Girls are more likely to get into the habit of cutting themselves than boys and are usually dealing with emotional and psychological issues such as being abused or dealing with a break up. Boys will usually do it due to social and psychological issues.
It is important to communicate with the child or teen to understand their motivation, since injuring does not necessarily mean they are unhappy, as they may simply be doing it out of curiosity or experimentation.