01-21-2020 02:32 PM
My son has just started cutting. I think 2 or 3 times, but the cuts are 20-30 at a time and hes not hiding them, just not discussing them,
His birthday was coming up and his friends wouldn't hang out with him. He started a process of pushing us into an argument at bed time, which I should have stepped out of but we ended up in a screaming match. He closed his bedroom door which he never does. The next morning when we saw each other we hugged and he said he was sorry for yelling at me, I thought that was very positive. That night he shut his door again for a while then opened it. I sat in his room each night saying goodnight for a while not really digging but giving him the opportunity to talk, nothing much came from it. I checked his messages that night, he had been texting a girl from school about how bad his friends are and some text was her saying be careful about scars, she seemed very supportive, suggesting he ask another group of friends to hangout for his birthday. He has never mentioned this girl before and its clear they have been chatting on another platform.
I quickly read up on cutting and on the 3rd night the door closed, even though now he had friends connecting with him even saying around the dinner table "I hadn't even considered it might be that those friends were bad friends and that other friends would say yes if I asked them". I nocked and went in, sat on his bed, he rolled away and I said in as level a voice as possible "I know about the cutting, Im worried about you and I love you very much. I have some bandaids and disinfectant here for you to use." He didn't move, I kissed his head and gave him a squeeze waited a moment and left the room.
Next night I offered him a hot chocolate at bed time then sat on his bed where he excitedly went into detail about some you tube he has been watching about film editing and how that's what he wants a career in. No cutting or bad feelings was discussed.
Next day his birthday, I organised his cousin to stay over and they gamed and watched a movie. No cutting.
The other friends catchup is tomorrow and I really hope it happens, very hard for me to make sure as I dont have contact details for the parents.
I havent gone into the cutting much more, only little mentions about helping them heal. I thought to wait until after his birthday.
So, he doesn't want to talk to me but I will continue to try and find opportunities. He refuses getting any help. I took him to a phycologist when he was 11 about having social anxiety and really low self esteem when things escalated where I was told it would help. He wouldn't talk to her and it was really hard to get him to have a session without me in the room (only one was on his own). I had him commit to going for 6 sessions but they got no where.
Any feedback would be great
01-21-2020 04:13 PM - edited 01-21-2020 04:22 PM
Hi @zoetee ,
Thanks so much for reaching out to the parent community here - we are really glad that you have found us, and hope that you find this space helpful. I can imagine that it must be incredibly distressing for you to see your son self-harming. The fact that he isn't hiding it from you, and is still open to talking to you about his passions, is really positive - it sounds like you're doing an amazing job at keeping calm, and holding space for him, while still offering him help. That can be such a difficult thing to do, and it sounds like you are doing a wonderful job keeping home a safe, calm space for him. The fact that you're assisting him to take care of himself physically with bandaids and antiseptic is also excellent. You sound like a caring and engaged parent, and that is a really protective factor for your son.
Self-harm in teenagers is not uncommon, and we have a lot of different resources on our website that you may find helpful here https://parents.au.reachout.com/common-concerns/mental-health/self-harm-and-teenagers.
They range from reasons why teens may be self-harming, to self-help strategies to try with them, to suggestions for professional help.
You mention that he didn't have a good experience with a psychologist when he was younger, it can take time to find the right mental health professional and build a trusting relationship with them, and I'm sorry that his first experience wasn't great. Do you think he may be open to trying to see someone else?
It also could be helpful for you to see a mental health professional to help you with further strategies to help your son. ParentLine
is another free resource for parents where you can talk things over with a counsellor.
Thank you for reaching out here, and I hope the parent community can give you some further advice and support. You're not alone, and we are here to support you while you support your son.