You may or may not be familiar with what cutting is, so let’s start with that. It’s exactly what it sounds like – teens (and even younger kids) use sharp objects to cut themselves as a way to handle emotions that they can’t find other ways to deal with.
It is horrifying to some parents because of what it is, but when all is said and done it really isn’t that much different than anorexia, drugs, alcohol, and other addictions that are more common. Like any addiction, it is hard to spot if you don’t know what you are looking for.
Be warned. There isn’t a type of person who is more likely to cut than another type. If you see signs that your child is struggling emotionally, and hopefully you are looking for them, you should have a long talk with him, and if you are concerned have him evaluated.
Signs Your Child Is Cutting
- Long sleeves all the time
- Long pants all the time in hot weather
- Sharp objects in bedrooms or bathrooms
- Lots of injuries
- Increasing numbers of scars
- Becoming introspective
- Pulling away from family and friends
- Your household starts going through a lot of bandages
Kids are likely to begin cutting on their arms or legs but as time goes on, and they realize that their cutting is becoming noticeable they may learn to be more careful.
It isn’t out of the question for kids to cut under their tongues, the insides of their mouths, or their genital areas in order to keep their secret safe.
You don’t have to turn into Sherlock Holmes – just ask. Maybe they will tell you and maybe they won’t, but give them the respect of telling you before you begin to dig into their lives.
You can find out more, including recommendations on how to find a therapist, at Helpguide or call 1-800-DON’T CUT.