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Hi Everyone


Any ideas on how to deal with/advise parents upon an * year old who has begun to self harm???????!


Her Mum is worried and so are we. It looks like it may be a call for help/attention (a middle child of 3 with two sisters and a middle child with special needs.


Any advice gratefully received


Kate :o

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Amongst my many claims to fame ( xD:o ) is the fact that we as a family have been through this. That does not mean I have any useful advice to offer! Sorry. My son was old enough, and intelligent enough, to articulate, just chose not to. We seem to be out of the woods now, and are talking about it (if not very often!), even he does not seem to fully understand why he chose that route. He'll remember, though, he bears the scars! :( . I just can't believe that he could do the things he did to himself, and I still feel bad about myself as a mother, although every day he shows us how much he loves us, frequently saying, hugging...

Just keep trying to reassure your parents and your child, be there, basically.


Until someone can come up with better advice!!


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I had a student who was actually an ex pre-school pupil who after leaving us after 2 years unfortunately went down this path in a very serious way. I really tried to help her when she was with us but in talking to her was very aware that she needed attention that she could not find. She was always constantly late each morning but admitted to me ,during many of our long chats ,that he loved all the attention the children gave her when she came in at a different time to everybody else.

She craved attention from the children and I was constantly have to remind her not to keep cuddling the children. This is the only experience I have had of this and I did feel this young lady didn't like herself. She had very low self-esteem had been bullied at school,felt that her parents favoured their other sibling, She was O.K. as long as I could praise her and give her special projects to do.

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I was reading about this the other day - I think it was in the TES? The article said that it's often not treated seriously at first but that it needs to be as it can be addictive - the bodies response to pain is to produce adrenaline and this gives a bit of a high. I'm sorry that I can't be more helpful :o , but perhaps you could suggest to mum that she needs to go to her doctor to get more specialist help?



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There was a program on channel 4 last Thursday called My Crazy Parents. It was about a woman who was about 40 who had suffered from depression since her late teens. She had had a traumatic childhood and she was eventually diagnosed as having psychotic depression. She was taking the most enormous amount of drugs which actually made the situation worse. She was a self harmer. She had only done it for the last few years after she was raped. She slashed her arms with a razor blade, on one occasion during the filming all the way up the lower right arm. It was so sad. But the strange thing was that after she had done it, and she said that she needed to see blood, she was so much calmer-almost like a relief. She had never been for counseling after her attack and she was told that until she faced up to her past she couldn't begin to look to the future.

The program was seen through the eyes of her 3 children whom she had never harmed and had brought up in the best way she could. They loved her to bits.

She hated herself, had no self esteem at all and had tried to commit suicide several times. The self harming with the razor blade was never a suicide attempt, she always used an overdose for that.

I know this doesn't help any Kate but it does make you wonder why a young child would be doing this. It could be a cry for attention. I don't envy you or her mum trying to deal with this.


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Hi Kate, I come across young people from time to time who self harm, in my role as an interpreter. A couple of organisations that we have found helpful are

SIARI (self injury and related issues)



Also the National Self Harm Network is a support/campaign group that has basic facts and myths about self harm, they can be found



hope they are some help even if to help in your own understanding.

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Oh dear, I can only symapthise but my own teenage son has recently expressed self harming intentions.

I took this as a cry for help, he was struggling with school and medication side effects which meant he was missing a lot of school, and went to the GP pronto, he has been referred to mental health and although I'm not sure that is really helping, at least people are listening and I dont feel quite so unsupported. A change in his medication has also lifted his mood considerably and he is beginning to interact more with his peer group and generally be more interested in things.

I think, I would be encouraging this girls family to seek other help via their GP. Is there any way you can encourage the girl to talk with puppets etc, or work with her to raise her self esteem?

Hope you can get something sorted.

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