This is the fifth ScottCounseling article on cutting and self-injury. This article focuses on some step-by-step approaches parents and cutters can use as strategies to put an end to the behavior of cutting. Other cutting articles by ScottCounseling include:
Steps To Take To End Cutting & Self Injury
- Make an appointment to talk to your child’s pediatrician or doctor. This may be one of the hardest steps. It’s not hard to make a doctor’s appointment; but it may become difficult to follow through. Chances are your child may share with you:
- “I do not have a cutting problem and I am NOT GOING TO SEE ANYONE!”
If this happens, or your child refuses to meet with a trained medical professional, let that person know so that he or she can provide you with some helpful solutions.
- Teach your child that the first step to take when he or she feels the urge to cut is to tell you or another adult. If your child is at school, he or she should tell the school counselor or nurse. When your child tells you that she feels an urge to cut:
- Talk and listen to your child.
- Do not scold or lecture.
- Help your child identify the reason or “trigger” that causes the child to cut. Encourage your child to stop the moment that there is an urge to cut, stop and write down what caused the urge. Share these “triggers with the doctor and counselor.
- Remove cutting materials from immediate area. Finding a cutting object and removing it may just put an end to the impulse.
- Remind your child to use some of the actions or activities that the doctor recommended to take the place of cutting. Help your child to express his or her emotions in a safe manner. For example, when your child shares that he or she feels like cutting, try doing one of the following to replace cutting:
- Drawing, painting or scribbling on paper
- Writing down how you are feeling in a diary or journal
- Use a punching bag or something safe to hit to relieve anger
- Listening to music that calms and soothes
- Squeeze an ice cube until it melts
- Call a friend
- Screaming at the top of your lungs
- Use distractions in place of analyzing the emotion. Some people feel that rather than analyzing their emotions, they feel better when they get rid of them or forget them completely. When you feel the urge to cut, try distracting yourself by trying out the following:
- Drink a glass of water
- Watch TV
- Exercise, run, walk, or just dance, ride your bike
- Go for a walk
- Spend time with your pet
Finally, teach your child to learn to love themself. There are many positive self-help books that are available help guide them through the self loving process.