Self-Harm Behaviour

Children inflict harm on self to ease out emotional distress or psychological pain. It is an indicator of difficulty in regulating emotions which are too intense for a child to handle. Acts of self-harm are soothing and a way of expressing overwhelming emotions which are not verbalized. It is not an intention to commit suicide, tough it can take addictive qualities. Adolescents can start enjoying the pain and visual stimulation of watching the blood flow, easing out their distress. Self harm can be like scratch, burning or cutting on the body with a blade, piece of glass, or any sharp object.

If you notice signs of self-harm, take your child to a therapist for a professional evaluation.

Many kids who self-harm also struggle with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, physical abuse or other serious concerns. These children have learnt to push down their feelings so hard that when a crucial time arises they are incapable of feeling anything and in order to externalize the internal intense pain use self-harm as a coping mechanism. Self harm behavior can also occur when children want to communicate feelings of shame, embarrassment, hurt, or asserts anger towards primary caregivers to gain their empathy or understanding. Some children also hide their tendency to self-harm, as it gives them relief. When dealt with confidentiality in a warm and accepting environment many children willingly share their experience with such acts.

What should one look for:
Wounds on wrists, near heels, thighs covered with shorts
Multiple scars in the same area
Bandages being changed daily
Scars or wounds not healing for long
Wearing unusually covering clothes
Isolating, spending long hours in bathroom or room
Cottons or first aid being found regularly in waste or different parts of the rooms

It can be a learnt behavior, happen in groups or in isolation. Children can experiment with it initially as a part of teenager growing experience, can turn into lethal form if handled impulsively. It is required to show the child to a Clinical Psychologist for immediate evaluation and intervention for underlying psychological, emotional or mental health issues.