Why Do Kids Cut Themselves?

Cutting is when someone use a sharp object to injure themselves on purpose. Keep in mind that it is called cutting only when someone uses a sharp object that breaks the skin and causes bleeding. It is a form of self-injury. Most adults who cut themselves usually start doing it in their teenage years. Some people cut themselves on legs, while others cut their wrists, bellies, or arms. While these cuts and injuries leave marks, most people hide them in a way that others do not know about it.

Why Do Kids Cut Themselves?

Cutting or self-injury is a maladaptive coping mechanism during times of anxiety and stress. That may or may not accompany by suicidal thoughts. However, it is not easy to pinpoint one single cause of this self-harming behavior. Why do kids cut themselves? That may be because they are going through some emotional trauma. They may have been emotionally overwhelmed for too long, and this often makes them numb to pain. They maintain a different perspective towards life. They sometimes become indifferent to what is happening in their lives. They feel the only way to feel alive is to cut.

Some teens feel burdened by anxiety, stress, depression and other emotions. They resort to cutting to get rid of those feelings. Other reasons for cutting include an intense feeling of helplessness, aloneness and the need to punish them for something that happened.

Below is further explanation of this issue to help you better understand the reasons and please ask yourself some questions to figure out what could be the problem and talk it through with your kids:

What Can Happen to Kids Who Cut Themselves?

Why do kids cut themselves? Though it's hard to pinpoint the exact cause, one thing for sure is that they're indeed suffering and are trying hard to feel better, just in the wrong way. Some experts believe that cutting does provide some relief from a terrible feeling, but they also believe that it is not the right way to handle things. Moreover, the relief does not last and often increases the stress. It is important to note that cutting is not a good behavior because it can take a wrong turn. While people who cut themselves do not want to hurt themselves permanently, they usually stop after a few cuts, things can go wrong and lead to serious consequences. Some kids misjudge the depth of a cut and end up being hospitalized. These cuts can become infected when using non-sterile cutting instruments, such as scissors, razors or pins.

Most people do not try to commit suicide by cutting. They do it as a way to feel better, but it can quickly turn into a compulsive behavior. When this happens, it becomes impossible to stop.

How to Help

Now you know the answer to your question why do kids cut themselves, it is important for the parents to learn how to help teen resolve this behavioral problem.

  • Take your kids to the hospital if the cut is too deep or bleeding is quite heavy.
  • Talk to a mental health professional to learn how to treat self-injury. Work with an experienced person only.
  • Communicate with your kids and let them share thoughts with you.
  • Tell your kids how much you love them and let them know that you will be there whenever they need you.
  • Actively participate in your kids’ treatment because your support will help them recover soon.

As parents, you need to keep calm and not freak out when you know that your child is cutting herself/himself. Yelling and demanding them to stop will only make things worse. Understand that your child is in pain and you need to find a way to help them feel better without inflicting pain upon themselves. Two experts talk about this issue and explain how to deal with it:

What If It Is You Who Are Cutting?

If you are cutting, you should pay attention to the following tips to improve things.

  • Talk to someone about your problems. The first step is definitely the hardest, but you need to take it to be able to break free from this bad habit of cutting. Talk to someone you trust–you can talk to a teacher, parent, school counselor, nurse, doctor or coach. You can even write a note if you find it difficult to talk about.
  • Actively look for what triggers the cutting behavior. It is usually a way of reacting to emotional pain or stress. Identify those situations first. It could be anything from pressure to be perfect and a painful trauma to emotional anger, mean criticism and more. Identify those situations and then figure out what you can do about that. There is always a better way of dealing with things.
  • Be honest with a mental health professional or counselor will definitely help, but you need to be open to them and utilize any strategies they share to help you cope with your life's stresses. Be consistent and always tell your counselor how you feel about different things and what pushes you towards cutting.
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