What's a parent to do about self-injurious behavior?
- First, don't panic if you discover that your teen is injuring herself.
- Realize that most teenagers with self-injurious behavior (SIB) are not attempting suicide.
- You'll want to carefully address the issue with your child. It's not a behavior that requires punishment; punishment may only increase the child's negative emotions.
- Do not judge or blame your child for what has happened.
- Understand that many of the internal impulses are often unexplained or unrecognized by the child.
- Try and listen to what your child has to say.
- Hug your child if she will let you, or sit by her side.
- Tell your child: "I am so sorry you are going through this. You must be hurting so very badly inside, and no matter what has happened in the past, I am your parent and I love you. What can I do to help?"
- Do your homework, call a local support group, talk to your child's pediatrician and/or local social-service professional for recommendations for health-care professionals who can help your child.