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Old 05-15-2008, 08:29 PM   #1
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Need advice with 14 yr. old son cutting himself ....

I really don't want to be overreacting about this, but my 14 yr. old has cuts on his arm and when I asked him about it he laughed and said alot of his classmates had done this and it was a joke in school. Has anyone else went through issues like this with teenagers? Thanks

 
Old 05-15-2008, 11:57 PM   #2
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Re: Need advice with 14 yr. old son cutting himself ....

I would say that as long as this is a one time incident, it was probably just as he said. Teenage boys (and girls) can do some pretty stupid things for fun. Especially if it's a dare. Have you noticed any other changes in his behavior that would indicate that he might be depressed? A sudden drop in grades? Isolating himself from his friends? Outbursts for no apparant reason?

If not, then I would take his word for it.....for now. If you notice something like this again, or any of the other signs, you may want to sit down and have a heart to heart with him. Even just going through puberty, tends to make kids act a little different. But I think at 14, you would have seen something else, before this, if it was normal pubescent changes.

Best of luck. For now, I wouldn't worry too much.

 
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Old 05-16-2008, 03:54 AM   #3
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Re: Need advice with 14 yr. old son cutting himself ....

Thank you cmpgirl, I just don't want to be one of these mothers who doesn't know what is going on, so I think I tend to overreact sometimes. Thanks again!

 
Old 05-27-2008, 03:04 PM   #4
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Re: Need advice with 14 yr. old son cutting himself ....

I don't think you are overreacting at all. Cutting can be a very serious thing and can become an addictive behavior in some people. Maybe your son was too embarrassed to tell you why he really did it. Look up info online about cutting. Then I would sit him down and express your concern in a very non-confrontational, caring way. This is a situation that should not be overlooked. I don't want to alarm you, but self-inflicting wounds is not normal behavior.

 
Old 05-28-2008, 10:57 AM   #5
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Re: Need advice with 14 yr. old son cutting himself ....

JUbie,

My heart sank when I read this :-(

I was where you are, 5 years ago. It was fall/beginning of winter. We live where it is cold, so long sleeves.

I got a phone call from my daughters principal. He was alerted by one of her teachers, regarding an essay she wrote. The essay was about a girl cutting herself, due to pressures of life. The teacher ended up doing a skit in class, that required all kids to be in short sleeves, a way for her to see her arms. Sure enough, there were little pink lines.

We put her in therapy, she was 12 at the time. Turns out she felt so much pressure in school, to get good grades, so her friends would, and basketball was her life, and she felt she held the team on her shoulders (she was 5' 7" in 7th grade).

We would NEVER have known without inspecting her.

This is NOT normal behavior...it is behavior driven by something going on with them, and is a way to "numb" the pain, by causing pain.

I'm happy to say that 3 months of therapy worked, she's been fine ever since.

There are several things they (therapists) use to control this behavior. Keep a rubber band on the wrist, and snap when feeling the need to cut. have a bouncy ball around and throw it against the wall (doesn't cause damage).

One thing that is big in treatment is finding the CAUSE of the pain. All teenagers have pressures etc, however some feel the pressures more than others. We always thought ours was just "one of the kids" when in fact after speaking to the teachers, principal, school therapist, there was much pressure on her as her friends actually did better in school, if she did good...she felt the need to do the best she could, hoping they'd follow....we didn't realize how many kids looked up to her.

She's healthy, happy and doing well now...she's an honor student, plays sports, has great friends, and now a wonderful boyfriend!

Good luck to you....I'll check back if you need to talk!

 
Old 05-28-2008, 11:32 AM   #6
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Re: Need advice with 14 yr. old son cutting himself ....

When I was his age, the big thing at the time was rubbing an eraser on your hand or arm as long as you could resulting in a burn that would blister or bleed. I was a normal, athletic and popular boy who never had any suicidal thoughts. Looking back, it wasn't a very bright thing to do, but there were no long lasting effects. I would guess there's nothing behind his actions, but would probably keep a closer eye on him for a bit, and check his arms again in a couple of weeks. Good luck.

 
Old 05-29-2008, 08:15 AM   #7
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Re: Need advice with 14 yr. old son cutting himself ....

Well, I was a cutter when I was a teenager. I tell you what, it started out as my friend and I doing it together just for fun... who could cut the most without it hurting. Stupid huh? Then I noticed it became a way to get my mom to realize that I WAS in fact going through pain in life. I was pressured to be the best and it really got to me. When I told my mom how I felt, she didn't seem to care. I was NEVER trying to kill myself, if was a way of getting HER to realize that I needed her attention and caring.

I also did it occasionally when I was mad. I would see how much I could cut myself before I couldn't take it anymore. It usually took my mind off things that were bothering me like someone else said... it was a way to numb the emotional pain I was feeling.

So it could be many things... if you are close to your son, I would pull him aside one day and tell him you are worried and concerned, not mad, and just want to know if there is anything bothering him. Let him know that he can talk to you and trust you. Trust is a big issue and let him know he can tell you anything without you getting upset or disappointed in him. Maybe he will tell you.

Just keep an eye on his arm. See if he does it again. It could just be a stupid teenager thing....

 
Old 06-19-2008, 04:34 PM   #8
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Re: Need advice with 14 yr. old son cutting himself ....

I haven't been on in a while but thanks for all the information. He hasn't cut himself any more that I know of, but now we are dealing with his FITS of anger when he is told to do something that he does not want to do. It just comes out of no where and he refuses to do what I say if he is in trouble-like "go to your room" he says NO this is bull....! I am just so shocked by this behavior. I don't know what to do or what kind of punishment would be appropriate since he has soooo much anger. Any suggestions would be great!! Thanks

 
Old 06-19-2008, 07:50 PM   #9
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Re: Need advice with 14 yr. old son cutting himself ....

hi there, i have had two 14yr olds go through similar, nd we had great communication, it turned out that they had an anxiety dissorder, and ws having trouble mixing with others and focussing. with the right medication(zoloft) and a caring shoulder all was good, goto your gp, nd have him tested for depression and anxiety, just to be sure. or aybe he would talk to someone out side the home about what is problems are. you are not a bad parent, do not despair,there are answers.
good luck and regards barry

 
Old 06-20-2008, 03:39 PM   #10
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Re: Need advice with 14 yr. old son cutting himself ....

Thank you for some suggestions, we just recently caught him smoking also which is not like him at all...this behavior has just shocked us all to no end. My other question is how do you punish a 14 yr. old when they don't follow the rules and will not go to their room when told??? you can't just beat them?

 
Old 06-20-2008, 03:41 PM   #11
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Re: Need advice with 14 yr. old son cutting himself ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by barry65 View Post
hi there, i have had two 14yr olds go through similar, nd we had great communication, it turned out that they had an anxiety dissorder, and ws having trouble mixing with others and focussing. with the right medication(zoloft) and a caring shoulder all was good, goto your gp, nd have him tested for depression and anxiety, just to be sure. or aybe he would talk to someone out side the home about what is problems are. you are not a bad parent, do not despair,there are answers.
good luck and regards barry


How do you test for depression and anxiety?

 
Old 06-20-2008, 09:13 PM   #12
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Re: Need advice with 14 yr. old son cutting himself ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by jubie View Post
How do you test for depression and anxiety?
The doctor will talk to your son, or send him to a psychologist to talk, and they can decide what's going on by the things he says.

 
Old 06-23-2008, 09:04 PM   #13
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Re: Need advice with 14 yr. old son cutting himself ....

Jubie ~ I have a daughter who started cutting when she was 12. She said the same thing as your son, that most of her friends were doing this. We took her word and then it went to anger, agitation, not liking our rules, running away, and hanging out with the wrong kids. She was convinced that she would be better off living somewhere else.

Eventually she took a bottle of Aleve after having a fight with a friend...she did tell a friend and was so sorry and we took it as an impulsive act and kept a watch on her for a while after poison control said it was within safe limits.

She continued to get worse and eventually self inflicted a scratch on her face and told her school that she was being abused. A CPS investigation insued and then a call from the school social worker informing us that she was planning to run away to NYC and recommended a teen home. When we asked if there was counseling and shared our concerns she confronted our daughter about her story about the scratch on her face and when she heard our daughter admit that she did it herself to get away from us she recommended that we get her to the ER for an evaluation and called ahead explaining that she was a flight risk and a danger to herself.

Long story short our daughter was treated for depression and then induced into a mania with the meds and then diagnosed with Bipolar.

It took 4 hospitalizations and a second suicide attempt as well as an arrest for shoplifting to finally get to the bottom of all of this.

Since being properly diagnosed and treated we have our daughter back. It took us 2 years to get there and another year to find the right meds.

Today she is an honor roll student who is smiling and doing what all other teens her age are doing getting ready for her Junior prom, looking into colleges, driving her car to and from work etc.

The one thing we regret is those 3 years we lost when we didn't seek out the help that she needed feeling that it was just a phase or that we were experiencing those turbulent teen years. But it was more than that and I wish I had somebody who knew better tell me so.

Please do not ignore you son's cry for help. Get your son into a good Child Psychiatrist to be evaluated ASAP.

My older daughter was diagnosed with ADD which can also exhibit signs and symptoms like you describe. And a good child psychiatrist will be able to differentiate the difference.

Good luck and please post to let us know how things are going.

~ IG

Last edited by Ivorygirl; 06-23-2008 at 09:07 PM.

 
Old 06-23-2008, 11:47 PM   #14
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Re: Need advice with 14 yr. old son cutting himself ....

hi jubie, i just wanted to add...when iw as about 13, i did cutting too. just for fun. like really...for fun. of course i'm 32 now and i'm no longer into that self inflicting pain crap. but i do remember it being like a "phase". i am not saying that it's ok or anything but there was whole bunch of us in what....in 1989 who were cutting ourself for fun. well i know mine was just for fun. we even used to carve our initials or shaped out hearts from blades. i know it was stupid and dangerous, but we did it. i even smoked cigarettes and drank vodka for STUPID reasons, just to fit in...and i hated everytime my friends asked me if i wanted to join them. and it wasn't at all because i was in some kind of depression or anything like that. it was really a phase. when i got to being 15-16, the pressure of boys and all that...didn't lead me to do anything stupid. i actually was in the good crowd in school, very active in school activities, was in the National Honor Society, was a Senior Class Treasurer, Spanish Club VP and so on. And my parents didn't even know that I was doing all this crazy stuff when i was younger. Totally clueless. So it's great that you have caught this and perhaps get help if needed.

about the whole discipline thing, does he get any allowance? or how about you take away privileges? like no tv for a week or no cell phone or playstation. watever ur son is into. my daughter is 8 and i'm sure that i'll be dealing with these things real soon. she already likes to answer me and sometimes i get her real quick with a smack in the mouth and she HATES that and runs away crying. so she watches her mouth rather quickly when she wants to rant to me about something. that's why she runs away from me when she wants to start speaking up. but then i tell her to come back to me and tell it to my face and she just says " i didn't say anything mommy". these kids are wise! more like wise cracks! which i don't know how to work around that. it's hard to discipline one way at home when most of their days are spent at school and the pressures of being cool and friends play a big factor in growing up. we can't shelter them all the time. but i wish that the lifeskills we are instilling in them now will be remembered for whem they are adults. goodluck.

 
Old 06-24-2008, 08:28 PM   #15
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Re: Need advice with 14 yr. old son cutting himself ....

I feel for your situation, I really do. It could be a phase, or he could be depressed, or he could have any number of different problems, but either way, he needs to see a doctor.

If he has depression or some other mental issues, they need to be diagnosed and fixed fairly quickly, as cutting is very serious and the worse his problem gets, the worse his actions will get, and they are already very alarming.

If this is just a phase, then I still think you should take him to see a doctor. The fact that he is 14, he is of an age where he knows what is right and wrong, what hurts and what doesn't. If he feels compelled to accept pain and even disfiguring scars just to fit in with his friends, he may have some self esteem issues or a milder form of depression where he needs to fit in with other people to feel worthy.

Either way I think you should take him to see a doctor. It can't hurt, right? And this is the safety and well being of your son.
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