What to Do if Your Teen is Cutting

Depressed girl

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Dylan Broggio, LCSW, EWN therapist.

Finding out that someone you love is cutting themselves is very painful, shocking, information to hear. Being armed with information and a game plan can make all the difference in getting your loved one help.

What is cutting? Cutting is when someone purposefully injures themselves, but is not trying to committing suicide. Essentially, cutting is a way to deal with pain. Teens and young adults report they cut in order to cope with or relieve emotional pain, or to “feel something” when all they feel is numb. Marks or cuts are typically kept well hidden so that they can continue this way of coping with their emotions.

14% of teens report engaging in self injurious behavior

64% of those teens are girls. (Ross and Heath, 2002)

If you suspect your teen is cutting here are some warning signs:

  • Cut, scratch, or burn marks on arms, legs, abdomen, etc. They can be anywhere on the body, but are usually in places that can be well hidden.
  • Finding sharp objects (knives, razors, safety pins/needles, tacks, broken glass) in your child’s room or belongings.
  • Your child’s friends are cutting themselves is a reason to be concerned.
  • Your teen wears long pants or shirts consistently, even on warm days, as this conceals the evidence.
  • Often insists that she be left alone and private when upset or depressed.

Here is what you can do to help your teen:

  • Take your child to the hospital if injury is bleeding significantly or requires stitches. Otherwise a call or trip to their pediatrician is a good idea.
  • Connect with a mental health professional who is qualified and specifically trained in treating self-injury. If they are not experienced with this, they should have no problem referring you to someone who is.
  • Listen. Listen. And listen some more. As hard as it is, hear what your child has to say.
  • Let your child know you love them, and that you are there for them.
  • Participate in your child’s treatment. Often support from family and family counseling are necessary for a successful recovery.

Parents, it is important NOT to freak out. Despite how you’re feeling, try to keep your cool. Yelling, demanding they stop, will NOT help the situation. They are not doing this to make you mad, or to be spiteful. Your child is in pain and doesn’t know how to deal with it. Take a deep breath, and express to your child that you will do what it takes to get them help.

To learn more about self injurious behavior, visit WebMD’s Mental Health Teens and Teens’ Health. These books may be helpful as well: Cutting–Understanding Self-Mutilation and When Your Child Is Cutting: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Children Overcome Self-Injury.

If you are a teen who is cutting, you may have come across this article looking for help. Here are some tips for you:

1. Overcome your fear and ask for help. The adults in your life who love you want you to feel safe and you aren’t right now. Tell a parent, teacher, counselor; find an adult you can trust and be as truthful as you can.

2. Be picky about your therapist. Find a counselor you feel comfortable with so that you can be honest and frank with them. That way you can begin to identify the triggers that cause you to cut, and begin working toward solutions.

3. Allow your family to support you. They will help you get through this and they will benefit, too.

4. Know that there is treatment out there that can help. You may be skeptical, but give it a try, you might be surprised!

Remember, treatment is very successful. Your teen will find better ways to deal with emotional pain and your family will benefit, too. So teens, speak up, let an adult you can trust know, so they can help you begin to find relief and feel better. And parents, with your love and support, you can be a great instrument in your child’s recovery.

Are you a parent with experience that you can share? Do you have any questions? Comments? Please let us hear from you.

Dylan Broggio, LCSW is a psychotherapist with Explore What’s Next. She specializes in work with adolescents, adults, couples and families. To schedule a free consultation with Dylan call 734.474.6987 or email at dylan@explorewhatsnext.com.


  • Maureen

    My daughters are 6 and 10, and these are the kinds of things that scare me silly when I think about the fast-approaching teen years. It’s hard to believe that some parents would actually yell at their child for cutting, or demand that they stop. It makes me feel better as a mom (I am often my worst critic), since I know I’d never do those things. Freak out — yes. Get to a therapist as quick as possible — yes. Yell and demand — never.

    • Anonymous

      Well, I recently had cut myself . Im living a very rough year n life does not seems to be improving. But let me mention that I have no interest In continuing this habit even though I found it painless. But the thing that bothers me is that my mom completely lost her temper when she learned of the matter. She still yells at me n even calls me names when somehow the topic jumps in. Not even once did she say that I am here for you n that promise me you wont do it again. I keep apologizing but she yells instead. I feel even more frustrated by the fact that she absolutely failed in consoling me or comforting me

    • Ally

      My mom caught me with scars on my thighs once and she refused to not yell at me and told me if i kept up “that weird shit” then my school will call DFS on us and sent me to a mental hospital, i yelled back at her and asked her if she cares more about her self then my mental well being. She said i was doing it for attention and i wanted to cut more, i even threatened to cut myself just to make her more mad so she can see that yelling is 100% not how to make someone stop hating themselves.

    • linda

      My 14 yr old daughter started cutting 6 weeks ago. I am a single parent now and I did freak out at first but took her to the dr. That morning after I calmed down…until u have experienced it, u will understand it was horrifying to discover. She has been to the dr. N mental health appointments, I been off work for 6 weeks cause I have noone to supervise her. The dr. Says few days ago ok she said she is doin better after a week n a half of a small dosage of antidepressants n counceling. I thought are u kidding me. Well I go back to work next week and kids back to school, both days she wanys to vome home half way through the day. Tonight she comes to me n is stressed out…her anxiety and depression kicking in and says did dad change his number? Well I said I don’t know, keep in mind he has had nothing to do with the kids since oct 2015 ( his choice) I tried to tell her he does not deserve ur guys love because je seems to have his own now with a 18yr old n thier baby she just had. Ughhh so she stands up n shows me her leg …its covered in marks because he won’t answer her text…apparently told him what is goin on with her n still no answer. She tells me u have to take me to the hospital cause I don’t trust myself. .as she has suicidal thought alot on top of this….I am sooo overwhelmed trying to be a mother n father of 3 n getting nowhere.

  • Dylan

    Hi Maureen,
    It sure sounds like you are a step ahead- thinking about these things before the teen years even hit! It’s great preparation to know a bit about these topics that can scare parents silly (well put :), so we can be prepared IF it ever does happen. The responses that surprised you, I think come from sheer shock and fear parents feel when they see cuts on thier childs arms. Comments teens hear a lot from startled parents include, “Why on earth would you do that to yourself?” or “What is wrong with you”, or simply “you just can’t be doing that to yourself!”. Cutting is a very difficult behavior to understand, combine that with fear, and sometimes we don’t respond in the most helpful way. Hopefully this article will offer a little understanding and guidance for parents out there. Thanks for the feedback!

  • Linda Sibley

    I recently found out my daughter was cutting and I did yell because it was my first reaction to a scary situation. You do not know how you will react until it happens and you believe in your heart and soul that you have loved your children with all your heart, and then one day the shock of a life time. There is no way to prepare yourself for the teen years. Don’t kid yourself thinking there is.

    • Dylan

      Hi Linda,
      So sorry for the delay in response, I was off becoming a parent myself. I certainly do appreciate your comments, even more now as a parent. Yes, I agree, you can never know your response to such a scary and shocking reality as finding out your child has been cutting. Despite what may come out of our mouths initially (goodness knows what will come out of my mouth! ;), the most important thing is to openly and lovingly (though scared silly) move into action- talking to your child and getting them the help they need. That comes from a place of love and caring, which is exactly what our kids need in this moment of crisis.

    • Confused mom D

      my daughter recently left out a compact with pencil sharpener blades in it. i asked her about it, she left it in the bathroom in the middle of the floor so obviously she was lookign for help. we talked, then she showed me her legs and i cried, HARD. the scars on her legs were shocking!!!!
      she said she stopped 6m ago and hasnt dpne it since but was feeling sad again and was thinking about it again and wanted help. i was happy she reached out and she is now is counseling. it has only been a few wks but i just found a note saying she has been trying but it is too hard and she wants to die, in the note she says that she always knew she would kill herself but thought it wouldnt be until she was around 23. she said it was too hard to try to be happy. she apologized and she signed it.

      i am afraid she is cutting again and i dont know if i should demand to see her legs or not, i feel i need to trust her a bit but i am also soooo scared she is doing it again.

      she was severely bullied in elementary school, i was in the school and on the phone with the principle for almost 3 yrs!! She did go to counseling for about a yr or so. I actually almost sued the school dept over the whole thing but i was told she needed to have permanent physiological damage which i didnt think she did at the time(5th gr) and we could not prove it. She went to middle school, things seemed to settle down with the bulling but the exclusion from the other kids was still there.

      Now she is a freshman and failing 3 classes and the cutting started last yr. She is having a very hard yr and she says she feels useless, invisible, numb, like no one cares.

      She also said she thinks she is gay and likes girls, our oldest son is gay so that is really a non issue to our family but not sure how others in school or friends think about it. i know she was recently dating someone but they broke up and she is feeling a lot of pain. I only know this bc i creeped on her fb and tumbler

      This freshman yr i have caught her stealing from the mall, cutting classes, tried mmj, sneaking out at night with a friend, tons of lying.

      Obviously she is acting out and looking for help and i dont know what else to do for her but the counseling????

      i dont yell, i am very understanding about the cutting BUT when she failing classes and shoplifting at the mall an i supp. to just say , OK honey, i know ur having a hard time and we will figure it out?? sorry, i couldnt do that, i YELLED!! i was so upset about the stealing and she just has every excuse in the world for not having her school work. i am just not sure how to best handle this and not make it worse. we are planning on a joint session w the counselor.

      it would help me so much to hear from other parents who have been through this type of acting out.

      i feel like i am going to have a nervous breakdown and i also have a 10 yr old daughter who looks up to her sister and i need things to be normal for her. She has NO idea what is going on with her sister as we feel she does not need to know, she is only 10.

      any feedback or advice would be appreciated!

  • These are really helpful, thank you! It is best to know the signs that our teens are indeed experiencing this kind of self-infliction. I agree that our support and understanding as parents are important to help our troubled teens cope with the hurt that they’re feeling. We shouldn’t wait until it’s too late for our children, because the worst thing that could happen is for a simple cutting to end up in suicide.

    • Dylan

      Hi Lina,
      Yes, I couldn’t agree with you more regarding us parents knowing the warning signs. If we can pick up the clues and intervene before it gets out of hand, everyone wins! And regardless of how badly our teens SAY they don’t want us around, they desperatly do what our support and understanding :) Thanks for the feedback!

  • Paige

    Most parents yell at teens when they cut it does not help at all…Im 14 years old and i cut ive cut since i was in 4th grade it is realii hard to stop but its even harder when your parents yell at you for it…so if you find out your son or daughter cuts dont yell take them to a doctor to tlk about depression…but I may not be a lot of help im still struggling trying to stop…

    • Hi Paige,
      Thanks so much for your comment. I think it’s SOOO helpful for parents to hear that directly from a younger person who is going through it. Are you linked with a therapist/doctor? If not let me know, I’d be happy to help you find someone in your area. Truly,Dylan

    • Tanya

      Thank you for speaking up, I just found out my thirteen yr old daughter was cutting and contemplating suicide. I didn’t yell, I cried a little. We just spent 12 hours in the hospital and I’m glad we could bring her home. More teens need to speak out to help us parents cope and help you the way you need. Yes I’m scared, no I don’t like being lied to or seeing my daughter steal but it’s more heartbreaking seeing the cuts and knowing she thinks her life is worthless. Yelling, in my opinion is the last thing someone in pain needs. I held my daughter so close while she slept last night, like her life depended on it, I could feel that this was her first real sleep in years. I would like to hear more and see what else I can do. We have couseling in place and help line numbers. Cleaned the house of some potential things but bubble wrapping her seems to show we have no trust in her. I took the week off work to spend time with her and I have family members coming to stay with me who have went through the same thing as she has. Any suggestions ?

  • Tiana

    My name is Tiana im 16 And Ive cut a couple of times, at first it was scraping my arm up with an earring because they go away in like 2 days but then when things got worse I progressed to a knife and Finally i used a razor blade. I had 14 cuts on my arm and even tho it was september i started wearing long sleeves, my parents shouldve known since i dont even wear long sleeves in the winter but they didnt. Finally on homecoming night they were almost gone but my mom saw them. When she asked me why I said because and when she kept asking i told her that she might as well give up Cuz i wasnt goin to tell her (the reason was actually my parents). She told me if i did it again she would take my phone away, Thats it just take it away. It wont help if u just punish your child, cuz they already feel pain and ur just Bounding them to the place they do it at. She also said she would make me come to and from skl and no where else. If she did that i wouldve cut worse, Often times if ur child is cutting they need you to Care but they also usually need more time away from home as well, You should give them more freedom. My mom never brought it up again But my friends kept talking to me about it and eventually i quit, but not for long. Ive started up again bc i feel its the only thing i can control bc my parents are strict and i dont get to go and do many things, Teens need to know that u care and that there is help, but they also should have a life of their own before it reduces to cutting. With my friends i know i can stop. But it is like an addiction and you become addicted to the way it feels, kind of like ur own high (tho ive never been high, for the record) And thats something parents need to understand as well.

  • Hi Tiana,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience, it will definitely help a lot of parents and teens to hear your story. I always encourage my teens to tell their parents directly when they need help. If parents know, they can do something to help. Often times this is Listening, Caring, and getting a professional involved. You should not be in this alone. Parents don’t always know the right way to respond, but a little guiding can do the trick. Since it sounds like you’ve started cutting again, I do want to check in with you and offer my therapeutic services or at the very least a referal to someone you can talk to. Please feel free to call me, and or have your folks call at 734.474.6987 or you can email me at dylan.broggio@gmail.com. Again, thanks for sharing. I hope to hear from you soon. Dylan

  • Anonymous

    Hey, i am 17 and i cut. I looked this up because a teacher at my school found out and i am being forced to tell my parents. honestly, i see why cutting is an issue, but i don’t think that parents should ALWAYS have to be quite so involved.

    I know my parents love me, but i also know them. And to have to talk to my mother about this is probably the worst thing for my situation. As long as the parent offers support by getting the kid an appointment and just telling the kid the times of it rather than forcing them to talk to them, i think it should be okay.

    i love my parents but i am a very private person and having to talk to them is just another among the most emotionally scarring things in my life.

  • Anonymous

    My daughter recently came to me to tell me that she was cutting and wanted to get help. As parents we are doing everything that we can to help her, she is in therapy and taking medication. It has been very up and down and since she has told us she has had to go to hospital several times and stayed the night a few times, one of those was for a suicide attempt, she was then put in a psychiatric adolescent hospital for a week. She is under 24 hour care at home and we are not allowing her to cut herself. Due to this she is becoming more suicidal, but it is extremely difficult for my husband and myself to allow her to cut herself not to mention her other siblings. I do not know what to do. We are trying to do the right thing but I realize it seems to be making her worse, because she cannot cope with her emotional pain. I feel devastated and torn between the fear of letting her cut and the fear of not letting her cut. She is also trying to purge her food. We support her 100 percent and try to be caring, kind and supportive at all times in her recovery. I find it difficult to just give her razor back and allow her to do it. I suspect that she may cut her self eventually or even worse try to commit suicide again, but as I said she has 24 hour care. I know on one hand that seems like alot for her to handle being under constant care, but when you feel like your child is at risk of self harm or even worse death, what can you do. I am dying inside and I just want my daughter to be better. Do you think that it is the write thing to do to allow her to cut herself?

    • Dylan

      Thank you for sharing your struggle. Without knowing more about your daughter or the situation, I am not able to make a judgement on your question. However, I will say that if you are not feeling comfortable with the current treatment recommendations, talk to her doctors about it,and even get a second or third opinion. Advocate for what you feel is right (or what your gut instinct is telling you isn’t right). Thanks again for sharing, Dylan

  • Elizabeth Perdomo

    Hello my name is Elizabeth Perdomo and I just found out my 14year old daughter cut herself. I am devastated and hurt. I blame myself, maybe I have not been a good mother, I just do not know. I am hurting inside so bad, I am confused and torn inside. I will be contacting her pediatrician tomorrow to schedule an appointment for her. I am praying that God will guide us and give me the strength to help her. I love both my children with all my heart and would do anything to help them. I never thought I would be in this situation, so really no one can say how they will react. We all have different ways of coping, some yell, some talk and some stay silent. I do not believe it makes you any less of a parent.

    • Dylan

      I know how painful this is as a parent. You are doing the best thing possible for your daughter by contacting her primary doctor and moving forward with seeking treatment. I completely agree, sometimes we yell, cry, or just plain say/do the wrong thing… it does NOT make us any less of parents and it in NO WAY touches how much we love our children.

  • Denise

    i am a mom of a 17 year old girl who i suspect is cutting. she has denied it. she has other issues such as hair pulling and nail biting. she is on antidepressant, but doesn’t want to be on it and doesn’t want to go to traditional therapy. PLEASE HELP. She is off to college in 6 weeks and i don’t know what to do to help. thank you.

    • Dylan

      Hi Denise,

      Thanks for writing. I am sorry to hear of your situation. Getting her primary care doctor involved is a good idea. They can treat and refer you to specialists. If you suspect any danger to herself or others, a psychiatric eval would be warranted. Sharing your concerns with her primary doctor would be a good place to start though.

  • Unknown

    I used to be a cutter i stated when i was 12 im now going into 15 ! I lived about 2 years in and out of pshyciartic hospitals ive done and seen ALot what i recommend is to call the police ambulance !!! Immediatley if you c him/her cutting …. If there not take them to a specialist .. Or get them therapy … Behind phsyciatric dissorders there can be so much!!

    • Dylan Broggio

      Thank you so much for sharing. It’s great for other teens to read “I used to be a cutter”. Congrats on overcoming it! Thanks for sharing your helpful advice. Dylan

  • Emily

    I’m 16 years old and have been struggling with cutting on and off since 7th grade. Recently I have started again.. And my mom found out by seeing some words I had cut on my leg. She immediately started yelling at me.. and I’m now grounded. She kept going on and on about how I was “only doing it to punish her,” and “I wanted her to see it,” and i “deliberately disobeyed her.” I had a friend over that didn’t know, and she completely embarrassed me, and cussed at me right in front of her. I feel so hurt that she would think the right thing to do is to punish your child because she’s cutting. It obviously goes much deeper than her being rebellious or disobedient. And the fact that she hasn’t even tried to talk to me about it as someone who cares not as just a position of authority.
    I’ve tried to talk to her about things for a really long time, but I’ve always been a little weird. For example I’m regularly called psycho and demented. I’ve always been a little dark. And it freaks my mom out, and she doesn’t like to talk about it. So we don’t communicate well. Eventually I just stopped trying to talk to her about those things because I was tired of being shut down, or sent off to therapy. I really hate therapy, because I just want to talk to my mom, and for her to listen to me. I understand my mom has a level of authority but there also should be
    a type of friendship connection rather than someone just being around to tell you what to do.
    I’ve been trying to tell her how she should never ever punish or yell at someone who is cutting. It’s a type of addiction. And with any other type of addiction you don’t confront them about such a painful subject by yelling and screaming, you sit them down and talk to them about it calmly and let them know you’re there to listen, or help them in any way they need it.

  • Emily

    Hi, my name is Emily and I’ve started cutting myself. I’m 12 and I’ve told my best friend and he’s freaked out. I don’t want any therapy. My dad was recently arested for consealing child porn. We had to move and I have to start at a new school. I hate talking about my feelings and even when I do to my mom she starts yelling. I don’t see why people freak out. It’s not like I’ve tried to comitt suicide or anything but my family is falling apart and I always have to be in the middle of it.

  • Deseree

    Hey, my name is Deseree and im 16 years old i’ve been cutting since the 6th grade i was only 11 when i started. To this day I still continue to cut i honestly don’t know what the big deal is, I know most parents think their kids do it for attention. Their not trust me. Every wrong thing I do my parents think i’m doing to get attention even though they don’t know I cut I sill wish I could talk to them about it. Parents don’t realize that even thought we cut to feel. Some times it doesn’t help. I know over the years I have actually become used to the pain, and tryed resorting to other methods of coping some even worse. Parents just need to understand that all you need to do is listen. Just listen to your kid, even if they don’t wan to talk about it all you have to do is be there. I feel if my parents just payed atention enough to me I would atleast try and talk to them about it.

  • Sherry

    My daughter is 14 years old and I find that she has been cutting. She has been recently diagnosed with ADHD and clinically depressed and now the cutting. She is on medication. I dont see that it has helped much. I know she is tryin to get someone to care. She knows I love her and care so much for her. I feel she wants her friends to care as she doesnt keep friends for too long it seems due to her ADHD sometimes. I dont know how to talk to her with out getting her mad. She is starting to see a counselor who I also will be seeing separatly. I am hoping and praying .

  • Ryan

    I just found a letter in my daughters room about her cutting once a week me and my wife had no clue how do u think we should bring this up without making her want to just run to her room and cut again???

  • Angela

    I am concerned that my adult son may be cutting again, he is 22 but as far as I knew he had not cut since he was 15 (that was when we discovered it). He has bipolar disorder, OCD and social anxiety, he lives with me and rarely leaves the house.

    Today he came out of his room without his shirt on and before he could get it on I noticed 4 cuts on his upper arm (in the same area he used to cut on) I asked him what happened and he just shrugged and said he didn’t know.

    My biggest concern at this point, and my question is, he’s an adult so what can I do?

  • Brenna

    I have recently discovered that my younger sister of 14 years old has been cutting herself. Our family is in and shock, she showed absolutely no signs of this at all and as the person she is closest to, I need to talk to her about. Only problem is I am 16 myself, and have no clue with how to address the issue, and get her to open up to me. Any advice?

  • Matthew

    Hi, I’m 14 and I have problems with Cutting and Burning, I honestly have no Idea why. I have great friends, though they cut sometimes, I’ve tried not to let it get to me. I also have a great, loving family and they try to keep me happy and feeling loved. They do a great job. Anyways, I’ve tried to talk to my father about it, He told me if I did it again that he would “Give me the pain I want.” I absolutely can NOT tell my mother, she’s been through enough Sadness and I don’t want to hurt her further. I really need some advice. Please.

    • Fran

      Matthew, do not be afraid to tell your mum not matter how much she has been through she will find the strength to help you, that’s what we as mothers do. I have been through losing a son to suicide and had my heart broken but that will never stop me from wanting to help my children or someone else’s children. You are all so special, life is way to short find the strength to tell someone and get help and be happy, take care xx

  • Bett

    I saw today that my 11y old has scratched the top of her hand and forearm with a piece of glass two days ago. She said it was the first time. She has been under some stress lately. I’m glad she admitted to it, I haven’t had the opportunity to sit privately and talk to her yet. I’m not sure what to do except to talk with her about it. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

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  • Stacy

    My 12 yr old daughter has a terrible time showing any emotion except for anger. She takes a lot of it out on her 10 yr old brother especially if she’s actually mad at me. She is an honor student in GATE and she plays softball. On the outside, you wouldn’t even know she has a problem — except I know she does. My education in psychology told me to follow me instincts and so I examined her ipod while she was at school. I knew she was depressed but I was not prepared for what I found. She had pictures of her cuts on both her arm and her thigh. Although I said “no” to facebook, she has instagram where she has posted photos of herself that show her cuts. There was a boy she had a pic of and she was communicating with that was way too old for her and asking her “if she was still a virgin.” She also wrote that this other boy from school she liked only liked her for her “boobs.” She has no idea that I know all this but I have told her that I know she’s depressed and so I have made an appointment with a therapist. I feel like I’m a bad parent and yet I know she has had a great childhood. If anything, I have erred on the side of being too nice. My parents were abusive so I never spanked her and I have tried to let her stay young and be a kid. Now that she’s wanting more freedoms, I expect her to take on more responsibilities like doing some chores around our house. This has become a fight everytime she is asked to help out. She hides in her bedroom and text, cut, etc… My question is should I confront her about what I know or let the professionals handle it? I guess I don’t like the way I found out (by snooping) so I don’t want her to know that I don’t respect her privacy. Afterall, she is not forthcoming with her feelings and as the mom I need to know these things. I don’t want her to get more secretive because she doesn’t trust me not to snoop. Thank you, in advance, for any and all help you can provide.

  • Elizabeth

    I am the Mother of a 15 year old girl who is a cutter. It began when she was 10 as scratches and eraser burns. It has progressed to over 127 cuts (her last cutting session) with a razor blade on one arm. She is scarred on both arms, both legs, and her torso. For five years I have medicated, therapy, screamed, punished, cried, hospitalized, talked, loved, hugged, and yes…even tried to ignore it. I have learned that no matter what I do, I cannot stop it. I cannot change it. It may seem awful for some of you to hear, but the sight of it no longer shocks me. I have had to (with great difficulty) remove the guilt and blame I held toward myself and let it go. I have had to come to terms with how she is. She is the only one who can stop it. Therefore, I have stopped trying. It was not because I no longer cared, it was because I blamed myself and felt like a failure myself when she cut again. I am not a failure as a parent or as a person. I have no control over the situation and I refuse to let it have control over me. I am still her Mother. I am not one of her friends (which by the way, cut as well). She still has to follow the rules, she still loses rights to the fun things, she still gets grounded, and has lost a lot of freedoms and privacy due to her actions. But the most important thing she has lost is my trust. She is not allowed to be alone. She is not allowed to stay at friends. I cannot trust that the adults there know the gravity of her mental state. But we go on. I go on. Unfortunately I am severely in debt with medical bills and still no closer to an answer or diagnosis. This last round, when she was discharged from the “Wellness Facility” instead of going to shop for her first car…I took her to look at caskets and began pre-planning a funeral which I am sure is imminent unless by some miracle she “Grows out of it” as many have said. Harsh? Maybe. But for me, its a real possiblity that I have had to accept. What else do you do when nothing has worked? You let go….and hope for the best and prepare for the worst. If you don’t, as a Mother you can go crazy trying to change something that you have no control over.

  • I found an article 4pgs on how I can stop cutting I havent seen any cuts on her.Very concerned she spend alot of time in her room and at times is very moody.

  • khrystal

    Im 16 years old and i cut. I started cutting when i was 14. My mom has saw some of my cuts but i blames it on my rabbit and i know she doesn’t believe me. I know i need to tell her about my depression and self harm but i dont know how…

  • My son is a newly turned 17 and after moving to his ‘deadbeat’ dad’s a few months ago, after not wanting to follow any rules regarding computer use..he began to pull away from all motherly influences, due to peer pressure undermining by ‘dad.’

    After being made fun of for not needing to have a a girlfriend, he acquired his first – a cutter, shut-in and living in a foster home for older kids; whom was a cutter, of a few months. She was 18.

    After he let go of her.. for i’d responded to what she shared on skype to me about her many diagnosis and medications, to him – he met another .. cutter – this time a bit younger – his age, and she is from a ‘good home’ with parents she has deemed ” do not love her.’

    I have not been permitted to meet either of these unhappy and self-admittedly depressed girls. Yet, both have been in touch we me – reaching out .. and sharing, on Facebook!

    My son refuses to have me meet his now – girlfriend.

    I see a pattern here .. of course.

    Almost always, i blame myself .. that i must be somehow responsible for his supposedly unwitting selection ..for he now refuses to tell me where he lives, even.

    I have shown complete compassion to both girls, for they could be my own daughters, let alone another’s beloved’s. I do not want to be a hero. All i want is for me son to be aware and see …

    I wonder how depressed my son must be to attract this or/and what he doing to himself, other than ‘killing’ online for hours and more .. online, at a time – rather than deal with his emotions as he once did .. with painting and journaling – until a rabid rash of online terrorism took over our lives and pretty much broke our devoted mom/son bond .. apart.

    I met a therapist who shared that every girl she has ever worked with .. who was cutting – had or was being sexually abused – usually by their own father – on this quiet Island where we were both living, on the west coast of B.C.

    Yet, i believe it must go deeper .. than that. Pardon the pun.
    Meaning, i do not feel that this is the only reason for such behaviour. And, hopefully not the primary ..

    As a single mom, i must confess my son began stealing from me, at age 7 and it developed into an almost compulsive disorder, as more stressor’s accumulated and he pulled away from even admitting that there was an issue to deal with.

    At one time, he told a few trusted authority figures . with me alongside that he had stolen from me, ” quite a few times, ” to put it mildly. No one ‘took the ball,’ from there and the beautiful honesty that was shared .. was tossed right out the window.

    Now, my son is almost completely alienated from me. Most of the time, it seems I cry .. and am not that effective at communicating with him – due to extreme loneliness of the heart – of mine- and absolute concern – for him.

    Whew, all of this before bed – thanks for allowing me to share – it is now 6 am and i will sleep for awhile.

    With highest regards for your support in aiding so many with what has become a pandemic pandemonia ( new word .. ),

    Katherine – a brave heart who would rather her son shun her, than sit in silence …and do nothing

  • Carolin

    My name is Carolin, I’m 13 and I cut.
    A few months ago I decided to tell my teacher about my problems. At first I was really scared because I thought she wouldn’t take me serious and she would hate me If I told her. But when I talked to her she was really nice and she is really trying to help me. We still often sit together and talk about it and I’m really getting better. I never regret that I told her about it. I think telling a teacher can be a really good way, especially if someone has problems at school/with other students.

    • Dylan Broggio, LCSWR


      Thank you so much for sharing your experience, I am sure your post will help a lot of kids afraid to tell someone find the courage to reach out. I am so glad that you have found someone you can trust to talk to about what you’re going through. Since you found such good support with your teacher, I encourage you to reach out also to a counselor and your parents to address the issue with a professional who can give you great ways to cope with and overcome it. Again, thanks for sharing and keep being brave and reaching out :)


  • Audrey

    I’m so lost right now. I suspect my daughter is cutting. She struggles with anexity and since starting high school has become depressed and withdrawn. I have taken her to a therapist but she refuses to talk. I finally read her journal and it is full of pages about her cutting. I tried to talk to her about her sadness and I ask if she ever thought of hurting herself. She does not communicate well and just gets angry. She is my only child and truly the love of my life. I’m beyond sick with worry. I called the therapist she went to and she suggested I take her to the hospital. She’s so shy I’m afraid that would push ger further away from us. No cuts on arms or legs because I made her show me. but I think if she is doing it, It must be her thighs. I just don’t know. My girl hates pain so bad it’s hard to imagine she would do this. I want to help her but I feel like I don’t know the next correct step to take.

  • b.

    My daughter just told me last night that she has been cutting. she showed me and it is very minor cuts and not many.. She says that shes only done it a couple of times in the last year.. This year her dad and I got divorced. he older brother left home .. she has had a rough year. she says that kids at school send her social media messages telling her to kill hersef. she doenst know who they are because it is fake accounts. she says that she blocks them. She talked to me a little bit last night, but doesnt wanna open up completely yet. Says she refuses to go to therapy. She promised that she didnt have any desire to do it again, but Im not so sure since I know that most ppl cant control it that easy.. Should i be worried and how can i help her.. Please use the emai I have attached to reply, as I just stumbled across this article.

  • Harley

    My parents called the cops on me for cutting. Personally, I don’t think this was the right course of action. It’s more important to talk with your children and have them explain to you what’s going to make them feel better. Don’t just automatically inform the police or send them to a mental hospital. For some people this might be a good option but for others your risk making their situation worse. Communication is the best option in this situation. Let them tell you what’ll help in this situation. Offer them a social worker or some sort of therapist to get evaluated. What I’m trying to say is, don’t call the freaking cops on your kid unless you think their life is in jeopardy at that very moment. You might end up freaking them out by calling the cops on them.

  • Amanda

    My name is Amanda, I am 15 and have been cutting since I was 13. In 2012 my family fell apart, leaving me with no control over my life. During this time my 2 dogs died, my father was admitted to the Hospital for a heart problem and my mom was constantly fighting with me. My mother found out I cut about a month ago, and instead of trying to help me, she screamed “manipulation!”
    Somewhere in her mind she thinks Im doing this to control her, but I’m not, and I can’t speak to her about it, or my dad for that matter, he thinks that cutters are mental cases, insane people. The reason is because I’m in pain, and I have no one to turn to for help. Nor do I want it, I stopped trusting adults years ago, they never cared about me or the fact I was bullied every day for 10 years.

  • Christina

    Doesn’t anyone else see this as a manipulativ, shitty, selfish way for these kids to make themselves martyrs? To manipulate other kids, or adults into believing they are poor abused misunderstood kids? When all along its really about the kid is pissed at the parents and knows this will get them upset. Essentially, using our love for them against us, and continuing to NOT take responsibility for their own actions. Often times when kids ‘cut’, I’ve noticed in these forums and other studies, they do this almost immediately following some sort of discipline, for their misbehaviors! They get in trouble for one thing, so they cut, hoping parents will notice and the discipline becomes overshadowed by the “OMG there’s something ‘wrong’ with my child!” feelings that ensue. So, now the teen has everyone’s attention and sympathy, they’ve forgotten about the bad behavior, mom and dad, or whoever, are sick to death with worry, and the kid feels vindicated and as though they ‘WIN’. I call shenanigans! While it may become a habitual behaviour after they started, I think it’s all an attempt to gain sympathy amd prey on others emotions, and that’s IT! WTF do kids this age know about mental health? They are ‘learning’ this behaviour somewhere. Someone at school told them and they are trying to fit in. I don’t buy it as a disorder. I know I’m going against the grain in this post but I think everyone here is so confused by this because we (as kids) would have NEVER thought this sounded like a viable answer or solution. Temporary OR perminantly! Take responsibility for your own actions and stop trying to find a scapegoat disguised as a MHD..js

  • Im hoping to get some advice my daughter is 13 and she seems to have a couple of friends that cut themselves. One day I found a razor blade in her back pack with a bottle of spray that helps heal scars. Now whats strange to me is that im a very understanding parent she comes to me and talks to me about everything so far anyways. She has a good life and as far as i can tell there shouldnt be any reason for her to be cutting herself except for the fact that her friends do it. I asked her about the razor blade and asked her why she had it and she said she tried to cut herself because she wanted to see what it was like but she got scared to cut herself and didnt do it and had no plans on trying to do it again and that she just forgot to take it out of her back pack. Thats been a few months ago. But now ive been told by my niece who is 16 who stayed the weekend with us that my daughter was talking to her and that she told her that she is cutting herself where i cant see it. I hav already explained to my daughter that if someone is cutting themselves then they have some kind of mental issues that need to be addressed and they probably need to see some kind of mental doctor because it isnt something that anybody should be doing its no normal. So what do i do.??????

  • Stephanie

    My name is Stephanie, I recently found out my 13 year old I was cutting apparently that is the thing to do where we live I’ve done everything I can to give this child the best life that she has and she has cut up her leg and I literally just stepped out of the bathroom for a minute to get a bottle of water and she sliced up her wrist it wasn’t very deep so I get the whole I need attention thing plus she’s a middle child but I’ve never had to deal with this before I don’t understand the concept of wanting to hurt yourself especially when you’re spoiled rotten any moms out there have anything to say please say

    • Tanya

      I think your looking at it, not from her point of view. Just because your child may have everything like electronics, best clothes ect. Cutting is a cry for help from a child that feels helpless. Material things are nothing to a child craving or needing love, I believe saying she is a spoiled brat or needing attention is counter productive and have negative repercussions. I believe what she is saying is I need you and your help please listen to me, really listen to me because I can’t control my feelings and this is the only way I know how not to feel the way I do. Get help for the both of you to understand each other. As a parent we need to try and understand what they are going through.

  • Tammy

    We have our daughter in therapy and we’ve calmly discussed it. She admitted that she was doing it in the bathroom with the razors we use to shave in the shower with. Can anyone recommend a safe razor that would make it difficult for her to do this?


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