Update on the Safety Pins problem


New Member
Okay, I guess we discussed this issue on here once before and I appreciate all the feedback and support I received about this very sensitive and pretty disgusting behavior that our difficult child has been exhibiting. The problem is, now it has escalated....she has decided that the dead skin on the side of her feet isn't enough for her, so she is now sticking them through the skin on her thigh. Right in front, about 2 inches above her knee. She has all sorts of poke marks from putting them in, and some of them have become cuts from her sticking them through her skin and then yanking them out. I tried to have a conversation with her about this behavior since it has started to get worse and look more like self-mutliating behavior that is unaccepatble. She tells me that she does it for fun and that it doesn't hurt. I have a hard time believing that this is true, but why would a kid think that this kind of thing is okay?? I made her give me her safety pins, but being as though they are such small objects, there is a good possibility she has some hidden somplace that I missed. If I suspect this is true and I suspect that she could be doing this in more discreet places, is it innapropriate for me to make her let me check her skin after a shower, like the upper part of her inner thigh and above her pubic bone, and the other places they caution parents of a cutter to be aware of?? Being that I am step-mother, this is a bit uncomfortable for me since she is 12 and I didn't take care of her at all as a little kid...and it isn't like her DAD could do it...so I guess I need to know if it is appropriate, but also if you all think that it would be necessary...I am afraid that she could get an infection, and unlike a normal cut, if she gets infection in one of the ones she DOESN'T pull out, then we are looking at infection UNDER the skin, not on the surface of a cut like a normal cutter might get... the safety pins simply ARE NOT clean, and I am afraid she could make herself sick.


New Member
<span style='font-size: 11pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #663366"> of course it hurts. that's why they do it. to release the endorphins & help the psychic pain ~~~ at least that's my understanding of it.

have you spoken to her psychiatrist about the behavior? her primary care doctor about the infection risks?

i can certainly understand your discomfort about doing a body examination. it would make me uncomfortable too....& it could lead to allegations. that's why you need to talk to her docs before doing anything like that. this could be tricky territory.

we have parents here with-more experience with-cutting. hopefully they will be along soon & can offer you more precise advise.

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timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Might be time to schedule a physical. I'd also get in contact with the team who are working with difficult child. Make them very aware of this behavior.

You're right, there is very little you can do other than keep the pins out of sight. She will, however find others, or find another way to "cut", if you will.

It needs to be addressed - you need to find someone to intervene on your behalf simply because of your status of step mom.


New Member
I agree with the others. Basically, it goes beyond your scope as a parent/step-parent to be able to truly help her at this point. You need to address this with her psychiatrist as well as possibly her pcp, and they can advise you of the next steps.

Good luck!


Active Member
This needs to be addressed because by trying to prevent, you'll just drive it underground and it could get a lot worse. She's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which means if she starts getting compulsive with this (if she isn't already) then it could get really unhealthy.

I'd make sure husband is on board, she IS his daughter, and both of you take her to the doctor for a thorough physical and a solid talk about why she is doing this, as well as what is really going on.

You have to do something solid to really deal with this as the serious problem it is.

Something else is going on underneath this. Until you can find out what it is and help her deal with it, the underlying distress is going to continue, and she will break out somewhere as a way of trying to cope.

Don't be angry with her - something is really wrong and she doesn't fully understand what or why yet, let alone what to do.