How should I approach my teen's possible cutting behavior?
November 20, 2010 11:07 PM Subscribe
Today while walking with my 13 year old daughter, I slipped my hand under her arm just to give her a little squeeze, and I discovered about a dozen thin superficial cuts on the inside of her left forearm, just below the elbow. I think I handled it wrong and I’m hoping someone has first hand experience to share with me.
I immediately confronted her but she denied cutting herself and insisted that she had fallen and scraped her arm. I’m not aware of her ever causing harm to herself or lying to me, but my gut tells me she did this to herself. I backed off and told her I accepted her explanation but that I was still worried and would be watching her. I didn't feel good about this because, in truth, I don't accept her explanation plus I'm afraid my warning will result in her trying to hide it better if there is a next time.
She and I usually talk openly, so I know cutting has been a topic of discussion among her friends and classmates. I’m hoping she was just experimenting and now that she’s been caught, won’t ever try it again. If this isn’t a problem, I don’t want to blow it out of proportion. But if it is a problem, I don’t want to ignore it or cause her to try to hide it from me.
So what should I have done and what should I do now? I’m not just looking for opinions here – although I do think highly of the opinions voiced by many mefites. In your experience how should a parent of a young teen confront dangerous behavior - that may or may not be happening - without making matters worse?