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Ask Dr. Jillian: “I suspect my daughter is engaging in self-harming behaviours. How do I bring this up?”

Raising Teens |

I suspect my daughter is engaging in self-harming behaviours. How do I bring this up with her and get her the help she needs?

The best way to deal with this is to bring it up directly with your daughter. Self-harm is not a topic you beat-around-the-bush with. These are issues that can accelerate very quickly, suddenly, and dangerously. It is vital that you begin to address her self-harming behaviours as soon as you become aware of them. Parents cannot handle this on their own – help from a Mental Health Professional is essential. Start the conversation by telling her that you love her unconditionally, that there is absolutely nothing she could ever do to change that, and that you will be there for her no matter what. 

Continue by saying that you’re seeing something in her life that concerns you. Tell her that you’re very worried, and that in order to be the best parent you can be, you need to aid her in getting help for it. Emphasize the fact that you are a family and that you will be there for each other through this. You are all in this together. If you don’t know where to start, head to a walk-in clinic and see a General Practitioner. They should be able to refer you to a Mental Health Professional.

Self-harm is extremely dangerous and often inconspicuous in the beginning. Some teens are very adept at hiding it – make sure you are paying attention to what’s happening in your kids’ lives, and when something isn’t right – take action.