Parental response tips to kids self-injuring

Psychologist Wendy Lader, PhD, shares advice for parents on how to best respond and react if they know that their child is cutting or self-injuring
Parenting Tips | How To Respond When Your Child Is Self-Injuring | Kids in the House
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Parental response tips to kids self-injuring

One of the hardest things for parents when they have the realization either that they know their child is hurting themselves or the child comes to them. They don't really know how to react. What are they supposed to do with that information? Some people think its best to ignore it because if ignore it, it will go away. I would tell you that's not the best thing. If your child comes to you and tells you the injuring, or even if you suspect, bring that to the forefront. Say, "I have concerns. I'm worried that you might be injuring. You can talk to me about anything. If you are, we will get you the help. I just want you to know that I'm here for you." Some parents react in anger. They think that if they can just tell their kids to stop it, or pull themselves up by their bootstraps, or they are just doing it for attention. They respond in their own anger. That might be out of fear, but that's really not helpful for the child. The other way parent's respond is that they try to over-protect and try and take away all the sharps and watch them 24 hours. I can tell you right now, that's not going to work. If a child wants to injure, they will find a way. I think it's very important for parents to just talk to their child directly. Be there for them. Let them know that you might not know how to deal with this and how to handle this. You don't have to give them advice. You don't have to tell them what to do. You can find help out there. There are websites, therapists, youth pastors, school counselors, pediatrician, there are many resources out there that can help you get to the right place that you, yourself, might not have.

Psychologist Wendy Lader, PhD, shares advice for parents on how to best respond and react if they know that their child is cutting or self-injuring


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Wendy Lader, PhD


Dr. Lader is co-founder and clinical director of the S.A.F.E. (Self Abuse Finally Ends) Alternatives Program. An internationally recognized expert on the treatment of self-injury, she lectures extensively on the subject and is co-author of the book, Bodily Harm: The Breakthrough Healing Program for Self-Injurers as well as Self Injury: A Manual for School Professionals. In addition, she served as the expert for a training video on Self-Injury for the American Psychological Association. Dr. Lader is co- founder of the Self-Injury Foundation and a founding member of the International Society for the Study of Self-Injury. 

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