TW: My 12 year old is self harming

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Casual scribe

TW: My 12 year old is self harming

My 12 year old is self harming herself. The first time she did it, I had her in counseling within 24 hours and we continued biweekly sessions with great success. On Halloween, she confessed she did it again and I got her a visit with her counselor. It went well as we did this session together but then today, I saw more self harm and she told me she hurt herself today. Her reasoning is because shes angry. Mainly it seems at kids at her school or her " boyfriend " or friends. We talk but she shuts down and says counseling is stupid. I'm reaching out for more ideas to help her. I will contact her counselor first thing but I need more. I hate she is feeling so horrible she wants to harm herself. Any advise please.

Community Manager

Re: TW: My 12 year old is self harming

Hi @ParentingIsHard and welcome to ReachOut!


I'm really sorry to hear what you and your daughter are going through, I can imagine it would be such a painful experience to see your child self harm Heart You are certainly not alone here, you are with many other parents who share that pain Heart


Reading your post, it sounds like your daughter has gained a lot of self awareness and understanding of her self harm through seeing the counsellor in past. Knowing the triggers, such as the anger, is a really good step forward. For a lot of young people, they are still learning how to express painful emotions and we often hear similar reasons for self harm from our youth community to what you have mentioned here with the anger. 


Seeing a counsellor is a super important step in supporting recovery, and I can hear that this is something your are hoping your daughter would continue with. Do you know the counsellor your daughter was seeing? Do you think it would be helpful for you to meet with the counsellor talk about the issue of self harm?


I really feel for you and what you are going through right now Heart I am going to tag a few parents who are going through similar experiences with their children who may be able to tell you about how they managed the issue of self harm @sunflowermom @taokat @Schooner @Dakotah and also some of our parent peer supporters @Happy @PositiveWhisper @Moggy3kids


We do have a thread here about self harm that might be helpful for you too Heart In this difficult time, we hope that you are still finding some time for you!

Casual scribe

Re: TW: My 12 year old is self harming

Yes, I know her counselor well. My daughter had me come in with her on their visit this last week about the self harm. That is an good sign I know. I was considering finding an activity for her to be involved with. She seems interested in trampoline and tumbling gymnastics so perhaps an outside focus might help her mind. Doing more things as a family is something that needs to happen. For a while I felt she just wanted her space and so I respected that but maybe not so much now. I know this can be an addictive behavior as well. I may have her keep an rubber band on her wrist to snap if she has those moments she wants to self harm. I'm just at a loss because this is so hard.

Star contributor

Re: TW: My 12 year old is self harming

Dear @ParentingIsHard

I know how scary it is to discover your child is self harming.  You are on the right track with getting help.  I wonder if your daughter might participate in a teen group- if that is even available in your area.  My daughter has been self harming for over a year.  Now it has finally calmed down quite a bit.  As a parent I did some things to make it harder for her when the urge took over.  For a long time her door had to stay open in her room.  All sharps and lighters were taken and locked up in my room.  Anything potentially self harming was gone- also once a week "checking" around the house.  I asked her before she self harms when she gets the urge to please let me know and we can leave the house.  Go for a drive, get coffee, etc.  Also a self care box with coloring and bath bombs helped a bit too.  Hang in there.  I know this is a rough time for you.  It will take a bit of time, and patients. You are not in this alone.