Teens and cutting is a serious problem. Learn about the signs, symptoms and what to do.
Parents should be aware that teens have learned how to better hide issues such as cutting, New things to watch for are unusual places that you might not normally think a youth would cut. Most parents know to watch wrists and arms for cut marks these days. Teens cut for a variety of reasons — to relieve pain, to fit in with a group of peers or out of curiousity. Whatever the reason, parents agree that this is not a behavior they want to see out of their teens. It is a cause for concern, because it can be a cry for help and a precursor to more serious self-destructive behaviors.
However, today’s youth are smart and savvy. They are well aware that parents know to look for cuts on their arms. So, they are cutting in out of the way places that parents might not think to look. Friends and parents have told me they have heard of kids cutting in these places:
- The webbing between fingers or toes (ouch!)
- Upper thighs
- High up on arms
- Cutting in the same spot over and over and saying that the wound keeps opening
If you suspect your child might be cutting or your teen has had issues with cutting in the past, be aware of these new techniques. If you do find that your child is cutting, seek professional help immediately. Cutting is serious because it can lead to permanent scars, infection and also may indicate deep emotional pain that should be addressed. This self-mutilation is often caused by an intense hurt or anger that the child is keeping inside. Cutting can be a cry for help and some kids take it further and attempt suicide. Don’t ignore this serious problem. Seek help.
Cutting can leave unsightly scars. If your child has overcome this issue and has scars, consider seeking help from a dermatologist in having as much of the scarring as possible removed. This will allow your child to have a fresh start instead of wearing long sleeves or an armful of bracelets to cover unsightly marks.