My 3rd grader and cutting

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ML, May 15, 2008.

  1. ML

    ML Guest

    difficult child told me the other day that a friend of his at school knows somebody who cuts themselves on purpose. He said that this friend said he thought it was kind of "cool". difficult child admitted that he thought so too. So, yesterday he cut himself on his knuckles with some sharp rocks. I told him that I would definitely be taking him to therapy to which he answered "if I stop I don't have to go?". Anyway, I was doing some reading and this sort of goes with eating disorders, anxiety, etc. Any advice or words of wisdom? For goodness sakes he is in 3rd grade yet!

    I don't get it at all. I mean I kind of get what the research is saying but difficult child has never had any trauma and I have always tried so hard to praise him, show him love and encouarge his own self expression. It's very scary.

  2. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    Hi ML,
    cutting has become a sort of "cool" thing to do, has become very popular (usually among teenage girls.) I know a couple of therapists have told me it is very "in". So it doesn't necessarily mean your kid has a serious disorder, it may just seem like a cool thing to do. I remember being shocked when I found out both my difficult children were cutting but difficult child 1 was definitely doing it for the "cool" aspect, whereas I think difficult child 2 was doing it to get relief from some trauma she'd been through.

  3. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    My son went through various phases of this as well - starting as young as 6. I don't, in any way, want to downplay the potential severity here - however - I also don't think you should freak out quite yet.

    You are right, it goes hand in hand with other mental illnesses. I also do not think completely healthy kiddos do this - however - we have difficult children. A lot of them have higher pain thresh holds, want excitement, are depressed, have poor impulse control, have a few neurons mis-firing at times. These are all reason a kiddo might "experiment" with this concept of cutting. It does not necessarily mean they are "trying to hurt themselves".

    I do think it is indicative of your child struggling, but you already knew that. Personally I would not give this episode much attention at all, or you might fuel the issue. Now, if this continues, and the cutting is more than with just rocks, then you might change directions.

    Again, just my 2 cents, and opinion from personal experience. As always, go with your Mommy gut.
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    So, he's going to stop and he won't have to go to therapy, right?
    Sounds like a deal.
    I agree that in this case, with-what little info you've given us, your difficult child is probably just following the crowd, especially since he just scraped his knuckles.
    My difficult child is the kind who would do well with-a good scare or lesson, such as my threatening to scrape his knuckles FOR him.
    If I were to bring it up in therapy, it would be along the lines of, "If all your friends think that jumping off a cliff is a good idea ..."
    I would redirect the adrenaline rush into sports. Easier said than done, I know.
  5. splitN2

    splitN2 New Member

    Hi. I'm new here too. Could someone tell me if I've missed something here or how I get started?

    Thank you.
  6. ML

    ML Guest

    Update: I asked d if he told any of his friends about scraping his knuckles and he had. Apparently his best friend said "I'm going to tell your mom" and another girl said "you shouldn't do that". I realize that this behavior is in and of itself "not" attention getting but I think perhaps in this case, it may be. Though you can be sure I will continue to monitor things (we warrior moms don't rest much).
  7. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    When thank you tore up his arms with a hanger, my beloved 4th grader asked me if he had gone "emo" on us. I had to google the term. Does seem to be a segment of kids that think this is "cool" though I cannot fathom why. Can only tell you that thank you's going to look ridiculous going on job interviews in July with long sleeves :faint:

    Since this seems to be a copying kind of behavior right now, I'd just carefully watch. Hopefully he gets that it was a real goofy thing to do. These kids....
  8. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    If he stops there shouldn't be an urgent need for therapy. He tried it, is the way I look at it. Hopefully it hurt and he didn't like it.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Well, heck, "I'm going to tell your mom" doesn't carry much weight when he already told you.
    At least you've got that much.
    Let's hope it is a VERY quickly passing phase, especially as he has to deal with-sore knuckles for the next few days.
  10. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Hopefully a one time thing. If so, not much to be concerned about, but you are smart to continue to monitor the situation. .
  11. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    Hi Michele,
    My difficult child was quite handy and creative when it came to sharp objects and her skin. She just stopped cutting her arms about a year ago.

    Slsh - my difficult child is an "emo" - there are lots of them out there now - pretty much what we used to call punk, then it was goth, etc.

    I think your difficult child was experimenting - but it doesn't sound like he was purposely trying to hurt himself. Keep an eye on it, but it sounds like you all scared him out of going any further with this. Good luck!