10-14-2020 12:51 AM
I'm so sorry to hear that your daughter is self-harming. We've had things along these lines happen with our kids and family members and it's very distressing and can feel rather overwhelming. I wanted to reassure you that you have the capacity to help her and to find appropriate professional help. While professional help is good and in some cases really needed, I think it's also important to remember that us mere mortals also have an abundant capacity to make a difference in our loved ones lives and that while the problem might seem or be big, the solution or a pathway through the problem might be relatively simple or a collection of small changes. My first port of call would be building connection with your daughter. Go for a drive, walk with her. You haven't mentioned why she is doing the self harm or if you're aware of the trigger. Maybe trying to find this out will allow you to help resolve or address that. I always use the "Are you okay?" line with people. However, it can be tricky knowing how to progress from there but persevere.
Board games or watching a movie together are good along with going for a Spring walk or even doing some gardening and growing something from a seed.
I personally find professional help useful either through a psychologist or occupational therapist, but you can't always get a horse to water and even if you do, they might not speak and interact. I took my daughter to see a psychologist around that age and she went silent and curled into foetal position and was useless. I've had to become her psychologist, although she's been doing a lot better.
I don't know if you still read books together, but perhaps you could find an uplifting book to read together. Or, something funny.
Meanwhile, it's important for you to keep breathing and perhaps get out for coffee with a friend or whatever helps you to unwind.
I hope that helps.
10-14-2020 01:24 AM
10-14-2020 10:39 AM
Dear Strs21, I feel your pain. About 4 weeks ago I too discovered that my 17yo daughter is self harming. Like you I was completely overwhelmed and didn't know where to start. Without any knowledge of this way of relieving stress I was floundering. Needless to say I panicked and did and said most of the wrong things. But in doing that and admitting my own faults to my daughter we discovered a connection. Birdwings has a good point, professional help may be good, but it can also be useless. My daughter finally reached out and agreed to go to a GP. The GP didn't even listen to her pleas, just told her EVERYone was anxious and in her own words completely invalidated her. However, we now go on regular walks, the neighbours are helping out by giving her paid chores like dog walking or baby sitting and these are great distractions and make her feel needed. Thanks for sharing your grief, best of luck and keep sharing we all need each other.
10-14-2020 10:54 AM
Hi @strs21 ,
It sounds like you have a really supportive and non-judgmental relationship with your daughter, and it's great that she was able to open up to you about why she has been self harming and is open to seeing a therapist. Young people can self harm for a variety of reasons, and we do often hear that trying to get a sense of relief is one of those - seeing a professional is a really great step towards learning why she might be having those feelings ,and helping her to develop other ways to manage them. We have some resources on our parents website that I thought you might find helpful here, they include some coping and distraction strategies that some people find really helpful.
I'm also the mum of an 11 year old and can imagine how confronting it must have felt for you to find out that your daughter has been self-harming. I think that spending uninterrupted time with your daughter and allowing her to open up gradually to you is incredibly important - I love @Birdwings 's suggestions of different activities to do with her - I often find that I have better conversations with my daughter when we're driving, or having a bushwalk, or cooking together. It sounds like you have a really lovely connection with your daughter, which is a hugely protective thing for her and her mental health.
How are you feeling at the moment? Do you have people in your life who can help to support you as you support your daughter?
10-18-2020 07:02 PM - last edited on 10-19-2020 11:45 AM by Janine-RO
I'm really sorry, strs21.If I were you, I would talk with your son that everyone has problems and it's always good to openly talk about them. He has parents that will always listen to him. If it doesnt's work, you must contact a specialist.