14 year old daughter self-harming

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Re: 14 year old daughter self-harming

Hi,
I've just been reading your message thread about your daughter self-harming, and I wonder if you could reply with an update about how she's doing now?
We're going through an almost identical situation with our daughter now, and I'd be interested to hear how you and your daughter are now.
Thank you x
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Re: 14 year old daughter self-harming

Hi - I'm sorry to hear that you are going through the same issues that I am.  It sucks and it's not fair but that is just something that I guess we have to deal with and getting help through forums like this and through other professional places really does help.  So my daughter is now 15 and she is still having problems.  It's taken her a long time to realise that getting professional help is the best thing that she can do for herself.  Her problems lie with perfectionism, self esteem and social anxiety.  She still self harms but only occasionally rather than every day.  This is because she still hasn't found a better way to deal with the amount of stress she feels at the time.  This is still really hard for me to write about and I have a constant level of anxiety that sits with me all day every day but I have learned to push that aside when I am around the kids.  My daughter has commenced year 10 this year and the work load is huge already but she has a great group of teachers, school counsellor, dietitian, GP, and we are still looking for that 'perfect fit' psychologist.  She has attempted to work with 3 since late 2016 but none of them seem to make her feel comfortable enough to open up to.  She is ready to talk and she does things on her own terms so I have to trust her in terms of finding the right person because that person will be with her for a long time and will need to support her for many years going forward.  Lots of people have told me that it can take 5, 6 or more attempts to find the right person so perseverance is the key right now.  She talks to the school counsellor, GP and dietitian openly so when she finds that psychologist that she trusts I am sure she will move forward in leaps and bounds.  The key to my daughter moving forward has been to lay off the blame and pressure, make life as enjoyable as possible, make home the safe place (don't make it the place where she is doing everything wrong - so what if she's left a plate on the table or left her shoes out - there are more important things in life).  I have let her manage her school work and not provided any pressure to get homework done or get assignments in on time and this resulted in good grades.  I say to her "Imagine the grades you could get if you tried" - I don't say this to pressure her, it's more telling her that right now, if she can't put in the effort that is ok - it will come.  This year she has had a good start - using her diary well, using checklists, diving into sport that she loves.  She's laughing a lot more, gets along better with her brothers, hangs out with the family more, eats pretty well, looks after herself.  All of this is a far cry from what was happening this time last year.  So whilst things aren't 'normal', they are as normal as they can be for now and if she self harms I don't show disappointment or concern - I just say 'it's ok' because I know that she has a mental illness and I know that she really doesn't want to be doing it but she doesn't know any other way sometimes.  My advice to you is as follows:

1. Encourage your child to seek professional help but make sure they are happy with the person they are seeing otherwise it won't work.  It's ok to try a few people until you find the right one - they don't get offended.

2. If eating is an issue - find a good dietitian.

3. Have a good GP

4. If there is a school counsellor or nurse talk to them and get their support at school

5. Show them that you love them, spend time with them, acknowledge their achievements and ignore the little things they do wrong.

6. Help them to understand that it's ok to not be perfect, it's ok to get things wrong, it's ok if you don't feel good sometimes - allow them to be themselves - let them feel how they want to feel and show support in the down times.

7. Let them have their alone time

8. Eat family dinners a lot

9. Do more things as a family.

10. Get yourself some support - Reach Out is great to chat but there are places you can go to just chat for free in person - google helps with finding these places.

11. Take care of yourself and if you have other children don't forget about them.

 

Good luck and if you need to chat more let me know - sometimes I have really bad days so might not want to chat but you've caught me on an ok day so I hope I have helped.