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How to Help My Child Stop Cutting

Posted by in Uncategorized | 9 comments
How to Help My Child Stop Cutting

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:

Cutting: Self Injury Facts & Statistics

What is Cutting & Self Injury?

Why Do People Cut or Self Injure?

Treatment For Cutting or Self Injury

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:
  1. Talk and listen to your child.
  2. 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:
  1. Drawing, painting or scribbling on paper
  2. Writing down how you are feeling in a diary or journal
  3. Use a punching bag or something safe to hit to relieve anger
  4. Listening to music that calms and soothes
  5. Squeeze an ice cube until it melts
  6. Call a friend
  7. 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:
  1. Drink a glass of water
  2. Watch TV
  3. Exercise, run, walk, or just dance, ride your bike
  4. Go for a walk
  5. 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.

Discussion Topics:



  • Barbara Mosco says:

    that’s it! she does not tell anyone ! how can i Help her if she won’t hear you?

  • alix says:

    i need help to stop cutting

  • VA says:

    I don’t know that I agree about taking away self-injury implements. I suspect that someone would simply use a different way to hurt themself. I am now 755 days free of self-injury, and I know when I was first trying to stop that when I focused on not doing the things I had always done to hurt myself that I began to come up with new ways to hurt to replace them until I became more aware–some of these ways may have been more risky than the original, which is why I think that removing self-injury implements may not be such a good idea. The items may also be a sort of security blanket, and without the sense of control of those being nearby the urge to hurt may come more often and stronger. Sorry to disagree, but wanted to share my thoughts.

    • jay says:

      I agree with you VA. My daughter has been self injuring, cutting, for almost a year. At first we took away everything that she could use to hurt herself and she still found other ways. Now I don’t bother to search her room anymore and I find she is doing it less. Maybe your right, it could be a security blanket or actually maybe she feels that she is in control. She is now in a program and we are hoping that it will help. What I don;’t understand is they why. I never belittle her because i can’t imagine what could hurt so much inside that she would want to hurt herself. I am just so sad.

    • Jannell Webber says:

      thank you for sharing I hope you are still free from self injury. I think my daughter has just started, and Im scarred to death that I will not choose the best way or that I might pick the worst way. If you could email me I would appreciate it I feel more comfortable learning from and reading from people that experienced this personally
      thank you again for sharing and if you don’t mind and if possible can you tell me why or what made you start to begin with and how you took your first step into this being in the past I would appreciate any advice thanks again

  • tp says:

    VA i understand where your coming from but as ive been reading for some its also an addiction.With these objects laying around ispretty close to a drug addict trying to quit but still has drugs sitting around the house..Im very encouraged that you have not cut for so long as i am battling it with my 13 year old daughter now whos mother has passed away and has been in the hospital a few times..It gives me hope to know that it is possible for her to stop.Thank you for the inspiration..and keep up the good work!!!

  • B.T. says:

    @Jay, Unfortunately i can understand why my 12 yr old daughter is cutting. I used to do it also (not to a severe degree) but i got rid of some stress in my life (her father) and eventually i stopped. It does still cross my mind occassionally. It’s like the pain you can inflict on yourself makes the pain inside feel better. It’s like a release of emotional pain. I am trying to get my daughter in counseling, her cutting just started a couple of months ago, but her father is not being cooperative. I’m going to do it anyway & if he doesn’t allow her to then i’ll take more drastic measures. She does live with him right now but i filed for full custody in January so we’re still going to court. Which i know has quite a bit to do with her anger & feelings right now. She won’t nor does she want me to tell him anything about this due to her being scared of his reaction. It’s hard when you’ve spent their whole lives trying to protect them from hurting themselves & now that is taken out of your hands.

  • alex says:

    i have been cutting for like 2 years now but only 1 person knows but they dont know i have been doing it this long i bought braclets to cover it up and this whole summer ive been thinking about telling the counsiler at school but she has told on me before and i just dont want it to happen again. and jay i like your responds but if i tell my mom i know she will start yelling at me and not try to calm down so idk any more

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