Parenting Child Psychology and Behaviour

Self-Injury Awareness Day 2018 - Know Why Does A Child Harm Himself/Herself

Priyanka Chakrabarti
7 to 11 years

Created by Priyanka Chakrabarti
Updated on Mar 01, 2018

Self Injury Awareness Day 2018 Know Why Does A Child Harm HimselfHerself
Reviewed by Expert panel

Have you ever spotted your child hurting himself/herself? Is your child showing signs of depression? Or, have you recently spotted unusual marks on your child’s arms, wrists or thighs? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, take action now! Your child is probably getting into the phase of self-harming as a coping mechanism to unresolved tension, stress, depression or low self-esteem. March 1 is marked as the Self-Injury Awareness Day; it is also called the Self-Harm Awareness Day.

What Is Self-Injury Awareness Day 2018?

Self-Injury Awareness Day is an international awareness event where people from all walks of life come together to talk about their own self-harm narratives. Awareness institutions on March 1 ensure to make extra effort to spread the knowledge and educate people about self-harm and self-injury. Some victims choose to flaunt an orange ribbon as a symbol of awareness, some write ‘love’ on their hands or arms, and few paint butterflies on their hands to encourage awareness on self-harm. The main mantra of this event is to break the taboos that revolve around self-injury and to educate medicals professionals about this lesser-spoken-about condition.

Self-Injury In Your Child

Self-injury is a very detrimental way to cope with emotional discomfort, deep anger and frustration. Children as young as 7 years of age are self-harming themselves by cutting, scratching, bruising, and hitting themselves, along with other unsafe ways. Now, such behaviour stimulates feelings of control and help reduce tension, while helping the child express his/her emotions and fight the pain that comes with depression in children. According to the report published by The British Medical Journal (BMJ) on 18 October, young children who self-harm themselves are nine times more likely to die than other children. And as a parent, it is only you who can play a very consequential role in helping your child deal with issues in different ways other than hurting himself/herself.

Why Does A Child Harm Himself/Herself?

A young child does not know how to voice out his/her feelings So, he/she will tend to act out by self-injuring. Now, a young child may find solace in self-harming to relieve deep-rooted sorrow or other overpowering emotions. He/she may also do it to depict self-loathing, guilt or humiliation. A child takes this route because he/she feels alone and helpless.

Signs & Symptoms Of Self-Injury In Your Child

  • Cutting wrists, arms, thighs or chest with a sharp object
  • Scratching to hurt
  • Hair pulling
  • Social withdrawal
  • Sudden isolation
  • Signs of depression
  • Fluctuations in eating habits
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor performance at school
  • Becoming quiet

How Can You Help Your Child Reduce Self-Harming Behaviour?

Self-harm in a child may become an addictive phenomenon. If you ever notice any signs of self-harm in your child, immediately take him/her to a therapist for a medical assessment. A therapist or a clinical psychologist will be able to establish whether your child’s self-harm phase is related to suicidal or non-suicidal attempts. Moreover, they will educate your child about healthy or less harmful alternative methods for dealing with aching emotions.

Positive Visualization –

visualization is a very powerful tool. Visualizing a lovely, peaceful place is a great way to lessen anxiety or sore emotions. When you practice positive visualization with your child – it will help them feel calmer and more relaxed. Talk about a pretty cottage, a sunny beach, a hassle-free afternoon play at a park or some positive memories from the past - be as specific as you can in your description of the happy imagery.

Identify Trigger Points –

talk to your son/daughter and try to understand what triggers self-harm in him/her. Is it a particular school teacher? Is it an elder who bullies your child? Is it a domestic help? Is it a phrase that you often tell him/her? Is it a particular book? Is it a particular subject? Figure it out and then address the issue at its grass-root level.

Encourage Less Severe Behaviours –

Whenever your child starts self-harming, teach him a less-severe alternative like sucking a slice of lemon, painting his/her emotions on a white sheet of paper, or perhaps holding an ice cube.

Engage Your Child In Physical Activities –

Activities like running, swimming or dancing can give your child a good adrenaline rush. These will keep him/her away from self-harming.

Be patient –

It is not easy to cure this problem in a jiffy. Your child will take time to heal the habit of self-harming. There will be triggers and there will be setbacks – but please be patient. Try not to scold or express emotional breakdown – be supportive and share your own struggles and how you cope with them. This will gradually help your child get rid of this habit.

Did you find this blog useful? If you have a story to share too please drop a line in the comments section below.

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| Mar 01, 2018

very effective tips to help yr child with self harming tendencies. keep pouring in such great valuable information.

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