Self harming


New Member
At our meeting with difficult child on Tuesday night i noticed cuts on his forearms .. he quickly pulled his jacket sleeve down when he saw me looking. I have informed the school about my fears that he si self harming and they are going to investigate.. i don't have a contact number for his foster carers so do i just tell his social worker when i see her tomorrow? I don't know for sure that he IS self harming but it looked like more than a few scratches to me and they were quite fresh as well. And do i try and contact the mental health nurse that visited me about him as well?


Active Member
Sorry, I only just saw this.

Lisa it sounds highly likely that he's cutting. If they were random scratches he wouldn't have tried to cover up. First BIG clue.

Definitely tell. Also, chances are if you confront him about it he will get very agitated, very upset and deny. It might take a professional to step in an say something, to get some sort of response.

When easy child 2/difficult child 2 was cutting, she always wore long sleeves (or something covering her arms and would not talk about it. We couldn't remove all knives because she'd either find them or buy them (she was using a Gothic-style knife she'd bought as an ornament, and then sharpened).

She stopped cutting at about the same time as she finished school. Also coincided with her first boyfriend - not sure which is why she stopped. I don't think she knows either, although boyfriend did know and do his best to stop her from cutting - she simply felt no need, anyway. I do think school was a major stressor for her, major trigger.

She now has permanent scars.

Cutting - check the direction of the cuts, if you can. Dangerous ones go along the arm, effective-looking but not so dangerous go across. A longitudinal cut is one which can rip open an artery and do serious suicide attempt stuff.

Not all cutting is suicide attempt or even close - easy child 2/difficult child 2 was cutting to try to balance emotional pain with physical pain; if she saw blood she knew there must be physical pain and it felt balanced.

But you've seen it, he knows you've seen it so will be expecting you to tell someone. Part of him probably wants to talk about it, at least with someone outside the family as a counsellor. easy child 2/difficult child 2 did, but didn't know how to aks for help. difficult child 1 was more willing to talk about it (made less effort to hide it - he kept forgetting). In difficult child 1's case his emotional pain was so extreme, and he felt so bad about himself, that at least partly his cutting was a form of self-punishment.

Good luck with this one.



New Member
Yes, I agree that you should tell his social worker. I think this is important information for them to know. I don't know too much about it, although my son was doing it when he was on high concentration of stimulants and he stopped when we removed them. It is unnerving to see. My step child told me that she also had cut in the past, and there was a web site she went to for support and to learn more about it. I don't know what it is called thought. Good luck.
My easy child (former difficult child) went through a phase when she cut. It was definitely for attention, not any suicide attempt. Months after the cutting stopped, I discovered that one of the things she was using the knife for was to "carve" her boyfriend's initials into her ankle. I did have to remove the knives from the house for a long time.

Now, the 6 year old difficult child does other things which worry the heck out of me. If I am talking to her, and she does not like what I am saying, she will punch herself in the head. There have been a couple instances where, after she has hurt another child, I would find her in her room scratching herself up and down her arms. When I try to stop her, she says "no mommy. I'm a bad girl."

I wish I could take every difficult child...EVERY one of them...gather them in my arms, and take their pain breaks my heart when I see this type of thing happeneing.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Tell SW & mental health nurse. Anyone who is involved in difficult children care should be aware of the self harming.

It's never anything to play around with - cutting can become addictive.


New Member
My difficult child went through a cutting stage when he was around 16. I did a lot of reading about it and it definatley isn't any kind of suicide attempt. Somehow it releases stress and tension??????? I can't figure out how, but who knows.

Mine was doing it while taking adderall and now that he's 20 he can look back and tell me why he was doing it. He said the adderall depressed him. He used to burn his arms sometimes with cigarettes too :frown:

There are many different extremes of cutting. I was fortunate my son was never that bad, but I know it can be and even though it's not intended for suicide, they can accidently cut much worse then they are intending too.

I would definatley mention it to his sw and see if he/she can find out what is going on in his head that might be causing him to do this.


New Member
Have told our SW and she is informing difficult child's foster carers today, so hopefully someone will be able to talk to him asap


New Member
SW spoke to difficult child and also had a look. He said he scratched himself jumping in bushes (hmmmmmm) but foster carers are aware and will be keeping a watchful eye.


New Member
Our difficult child's therapist got to the point that she told us if we suspected our difficult child was cutting that we should do a "body check" after her shower because while they may start on their arms, usually after the first time someone notices them, they switch to more private areas that people don't generally see. The inside of the upper thigh is a place she said to check, also the lower abdomen, right above the pubic bone is a place she said to check. So in case the professionals don't mention this to the foster carers, you might let your difficult child's social worker know that they should be aware of those areas as well as the arms.

Very fortunately for us, our difficult child had only a very brief experience with cutting, she really didn't enjoy it and stopped on her own.