My daughter has started cutting herself.

We are trying to figure out how to support our 17 year old daughter who has just started cutting herself.

Parent Replies

Parents, want to reply to this question? Sign in to post.

I have so much empathy for you. We are in a similar situation, because my daughter has been cutting herself as well. The thing to remember is that our kids are doing this because they are in immense pain. We have my daughter in therapy, and she just started an anti-depressant. So please, run, do not walk, to get your child into therapy. Yes, you'll have to contact upwards of 20 different people to find a therapist accepting new clients, but get started. We can't love their pain away, even though we'd do anything to take it on ourselves to lesson their burden. We can validate their feelings, believe their feelings, and find a community of help for them (therapists and doctors). And, we need to take care of ourselves. I too have been seeking a therapist to help me with the difficulties of this situation, both so that I can best support my daughter but also not be overwhelmed by it. You have all my best wishes.

Hi, I am following because my son also started doing the same. I have no advice at this point because I am just trying to figure it out myself, but hope others do!

Try DBT therapy. There are a number of clinics in the East Bay, including Clearwater. Sorry, you are dealing with this. It is scary but this therapy greatly helped my kid. Take good care. 

I wholeheartedly second the post by Anonymous on 5/23. Been there. It may be that something traumatic has happened to her (for example, sexual assault) that she's not able to process or cope with; the pandemic may have isolated her from a social support network/that group shifted during the pandemic; excessive use of social media may be leaving her depressed and anxious; mental illness also can become more apparent in the late teens; family issues or issues surrounding gender identity; or even something like feeling overwhelmed by the choices that lay ahead of her (college applications are a huge stressor). The point is, she may not be able to tell *you* but there is certainly something going on and a therapist can help get to the origins in a safe place and give her strategies for coping. Good luck to her and to you. 

Cutting is serious, but it's also common among teen girls due and glorified to some extent on social media like tik tok.  The only advice I can give is to be really open about talking about it with your daughter.  Ask her what she uses to cut and get rid of it.  Cutting is usually an impulsive thing so if she doesn't have the tools readily available when she has the urge, she won't do it.  Talk to her about a plan for what she can do instead when she feels the urge to self-harm, like calling a friend, taking a shower, or doing a less destructive type of harm like holding an ice cube in her hand. And, of course, therapy/medication if you're not already going down that route.  I say this as the parent of a teen girl who has been cutting for years and has permanent scars.  I feel for you and your daughter.