Category Archives: Teen Counseling

Tips for Maintaining a School Night Routine

tips-school-night-routine

In the first part of this guide, we discussed how to create a school night routine. Now we are going to focus on maintaining that routine and making it a consistent habit. Your children may be resistant at first, but they will ultimately feel better and perform better in school if they stick to a nightly schedule. Here are some tips for keeping up with your school night routine.

Follow through with the Rules You Make

If you tell your children to be in bed by 8 PM, stick to that. If you say 5 more minutes on a video game, mean it. If you allow your child to watch one episode of a show before bed, stop after that one episode. Following through with your rules establishes a clear set of expectations for your child. Saying no is hard the first few times, but it gets much easier when your child knows what’s expected of him or her.

Create a Nightly Checklist Your Child Understands

Children respond well to checklists. They can see the tasks that need to be completed, and they get instant gratification when they are checked off the list. If your child is old enough to read, you may be able to write this nightly checklist out in words. If not, use pictures to symbolize different tasks for the night – picking up toys, brushing teeth, reading a book, etc. Find a visual system that works for your child.

Set Alarms for Different Nighttime Tasks

If your child is old enough to have a phone, set alarms for different tasks each night. For example, you may have a warning alarm 10 minutes before the TV has to go off, then another when the TV must be turned off. You may have an alarm for nighttime medicine or for taking a bath. Alarms do not work for everyone, but they are good reminders for many children.

Avoid Using Rewards to Encourage Routines

You may be inclined to reward your child for sticking to the school night routine. However, doing so may send the wrong message. Completing daily hygiene routines and doing homework isn’t something that should be rewarded. That is just a natural part of growing older and gaining more responsibility. Encourage your child to abide by the rules, but don’t rely on rewards to achieve that. Your child needs to learn that sometimes, you just have to do things you’re not excited about.

Lead by Example

Your child watches your every move. If you have a nighttime routine, your child will mirror that. Of course, your routine doesn’t have to be the same as your child’s. You should try to live by some version of the same structure though. Leave your phone in another room for dinner, brush your teeth at a certain time, put work away during family time – do some of the things you are asking of your child. This will keep your family progressing as a unit.

For more parenting tips or to schedule an appointment with a family counselor near you, call Perspectives Counseling Centers.

 

Setting a School Night Routine | Family Counseling in Michigan

school-night-routine

Now that the school season has started, it’s time to get everyone on a routine. You may have spent the summers staying up late and sleeping in as a family, but the school year requires a bit more structure. Here are some tips for setting a school night routine, courtesy of our family counseling centers in Michigan.

Benefits of Having a School Night Routine

Before we describe the ideal school night routine, we want to explain why it’s important to have a routine in the first place. Children do best in structured environments. They learn the value of responsibility, and they gain a sense of independence. School night routines also improve academic performance because children wake up well-rested and ready to absorb new information. It only takes a week or so to get children in a routine. Stick with it, and you will see rewards from it.

General Guidelines for a School Night Routine

Every family is different, so you may need to adjust these steps to suit your needs. Here is a template for a successful school night routine:

  • Complete homework before dinner time. For older children, you may ask them to complete their homework before you get home from work, or you may designate homework times throughout the night based on their workloads. For younger children, you may allow them to eat a snack when they get home from school and then do their homework, if applicable.
  • Eat dinner around the same time every night. Not only will this help with consistency, but it will also aid in digestion. The body thrives on routine just as much as the mind does. If your children know they will eat around a certain time each night, they will feel full and energized all day long.
  • No technology at the dinner table. No phones, no tablets, no TVs. Reserve dinner time to talk about your days and interact with your children.
  • Designate a time for television and electronics. This will vary from family to family. For instance, you may watch certain shows or movies as a family after dinner. You may allow your children to play video games for 30-60 minutes after dinner. You may allow everyone in the family to have 45 minutes of social media time before spending time as a family. That is up to you.
  • Establish a bedtime routine. This should include cleaning/chores, showers/baths, brushing teeth, winding down for the night (perhaps with a book or 30-minute TV show), and a specific bed time.
  • Continue the routine into the morning. Set a time for your child to wake up in the morning, and schedule breakfast around the same time every day. Allot enough time for your child to wake up, get dressed, eat (if he or she is eating at home) and get to the bus stop (or other transportation arrangements).

Adjusting to Suit Your Family’s Needs

As we mentioned above, that schedule may not work for everyone. Feel free to make adjustments to fit your family. You might make one night a week completely free of technology, where you play board games or go for a walk as a family. You may need to vary the schedule for a shared custody arrangement. The goal is to keep your school night routine as repetitive as possible.

Try to Stay Consistent over the Weekend

Your weekend routines may be different than your school night routines, but the two should be complementary. You can let your children stay up later, but try not to adjust the timing too much. If you let your children do whatever they want over the weekend, it will be harder to get them back in the routine on Monday.

Continue to Part 2 where we discuss Tips for Maintaining a School Night Routine.

How Parents Can Prevent Teen Suicide | Suicide Prevention Michigan

teen suicide

Suicide is the second most common cause of death among teenagers and young adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Nearly 18% of teenagers have seriously considered taking their own lives, and 8.6% have attempted to at least once. In an era of physical bullying and cyber bullying, parents constantly worry about the safety of their child’s mental health. If you are a parent concerned about teen suicide, the tips below explain how to talk to your child about depression and suicide.

Make Communication A Habit

Your teenager may not always want to talk to you, especially when something is wrong. That doesn’t mean you should stop talking altogether though. The goal is to create a habit of communication, meaning that your child feels so comfortable talking to you that it’s just part of the routine. The conversations don’t have to be extensive – a quick review of what went on during the day and what the plans are for the week. Do this every night at dinner or in the mornings while you get ready for work/school. Show your teen that the line of communication is always open, and he or she will be more likely to use it in a time of need.

Expose Your Strength And Vulnerability

It’s amazing how effective leading by example is. Your teen may fight every day to not be like you, but in the end, your example will rub off. Use this as an opportunity to teach your child how to process different types of emotions. If you need to grieve, grieve with your child. If you feel stressed and depressed, talk to your child about that in a healthy manner. Do not vent to your child, but rather let them know that it’s OK to feel helpless at times.

Follow-up these moments of vulnerability with moments of strength. Show your child how you plan to overcome a negative situation. This is where the real learning begins. It’s natural to feel sad, but you cannot let that sadness control your life. If you personally need help with depression, work with a depression counselor to get through your current obstacles. Talk to your child about the progress you are making in counseling so he or she knows that there is strength in getting help. When your child sees consistent examples of how to handle tough situations and emotions, he or she will be better equipped to fight teen depression.

Talk About Uncharacteristic Behaviors In A Supportive Way

Has your teen been acting a little “off” lately? The excessive moodiness and emotional outbursts may be a sign of something much bigger below the surface. You do not have to condone this behavior, but you should not immediately disregard it. Consider the root cause of the behavior adjustments, and talk to your child about them in a positive, supportive manner. Perhaps your teen’s best friend moved out of state, or maybe there was a recent death in the family. These situations are tough for a teenager to get through, but he or she will progress easier with your support.

Listen – Truly Listen

All your teen wants to know is that his or her emotions are valid. If your child decides to open up about an important issue, truly listen to what is going on. Put your phone away, turn the TV off, and provide your full, undivided attention. Breaking up with a two-week boyfriend may not seem like an issue to you, but to your teenage daughter, that could feel like the biggest tragedy she’s ever faced. If it matters to your child, it should matter to you. Discuss ways to overcome this situation together, and your teen will know you are on his or her side.

For more information about preventing teen suicide, contact our depression counselors in Michigan. You may also reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) at any time. They have free resources to help teens and adults alike. Help is always available.

Helping Your Teen After Unexpected Weight Gain: Michigan Teen Counseling

teen weight gain

Teenagers go through years of growth spurts, hormone shifts and body adjustments. This can create a major fluctuation in weight, and for some teens, that’s a big blow to their self-esteem. As a parent, there are some things you can do to help your child during this difficult time. Here are a few tips for how to help a teen after unexpected weight gain.

Healthy Weight Gain Vs. Unhealthy Weight Gain

Before we get started, we need to point out the difference between healthy weight gain and unhealthy weight gain. If your child has always been extremely thin and is now filling out, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Women in particular go through weight fluctuations as their bodies take shape, and there is nothing wrong with that. The focus here is on teens who gain a large, unhealthy amount of weight in a short period of time (often the result of eating junk food in combination with hormone shifts).

Comfort Your Child During Moments Of Low Self-Esteem

Your teenager may become extremely self-conscious after gaining weight. Peer pressure and bullying at school will not help this, but your teen may feel self-conscious all on his or her own. If your teen is willing to talk to you about it, listen and comfort the best you can. Give unprompted compliments from time to time. “Oh wow, that shirt looks great on you!”

If your child is in teen counseling, you can use that as an opportunity to talk about self-esteem issues. Your counselor will give you tools to help your teen during this time, including self-esteem building, self-harm prevention, eating disorder prevention, and more. If you do not work with a teen counselor at the moment, we would be happy to set up and appointment for you. Contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers in Michigan to learn more.

Encourage Healthy Eating In A Subtle Way

If you normally eat dinner together as a family, try to plan those meals around healthy foods. Chances are your teenager eats junk food throughout the day, both at home and at school. You may not be able to control all of that, but you can have a say in what you eat as a family. Slowly work in more fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins in your diet to improve your family’s health as a whole. As your teen develops a taste for these foods, chips and candy will become less appealing.

Be Confident About Your Own Body

Teenagers pick up on what other people think is the “right” body shape. That group of “people” includes you. If you are constantly saying negative things about your body, you are sending a bad message to your teen. Be confident about who you are and how you look, and your children will follow suit.

If you personally are having issues with self-confidence and low self-esteem, feel free to talk to one of our counselors in Michigan. We have depression counselors and body dysmorphia specialists that can help you turn your thoughts completely around. Give us a call to schedule a confidential appointment.

Anger Management Tips For Parents: MI Teen Counseling

anger management tips

Every stage of parenting comes with its own challenges. From the terrible twos to preteen drama, you’re in for a rollercoaster ride. Perhaps the most frustrating stage of all is the teenage years because your child is old enough and smart enough to argue on a whole new level. Before you let this get to you, check out these anger management tips for parents of teens, courtesy of our Michigan teen counseling center.

Watch For Signs That Your Child Is In A Bad Mood

Most teens will let you know they’re in a bad mood early on, not necessarily in what they say but rather in what they do. Your teen may become quiet, withdrawn, or disinterested in family gatherings. He or she may overreact about small issues or start crying about something minor. If you know your child is in poor spirits, try to adjust your behavior to avoid triggering a blow-up. You may still face an emotional upheaval, but do what you can to reduce the risks.

Sympathize With Your Child…Genuinely

It’s easy to write-off every complaint as a teenage tantrum, but that’s not always the case. Think back to when you were your son or daughter’s age. Problems that seem insignificant now were all you thought about at the time. That is what your child is dealing with, so you need to try to listen to your teen as much as possible. Identify the root cause of the problem and do what you can to fix it. Your teen counselor can help you with this process so the entire family can enjoy a happier experience.

Don’t Let The Back-talking Get To You

It’s important to teach your children to respect their elders. No matter how much you drill that into their heads though, chances are you’re going to get some back-talk from your teenager. This is one of the biggest causes of anger management issues for parents. They get overwhelmed with the disrespect and retaliate with verbal aggression. Having a screaming match is not going to solve the problem at hand, and it won’t teach your child how to react in a confrontation. Try not to let the back-talk get to you, and see what your teen is trying to say underneath the argument.

Find Creative Bonding Techniques

Family bonding will help balance out the arguments. You will get to know your son or daughter better, which will let you understand his or her emotional outbursts. Find special activities that the two of you can do together, from sports to music to working on cars and more. The stronger of a connection you have with your child, the less likely you are to argue with one another.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a teen counselor in Michigan, contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers at (248) 244-8644.

Michigan Teen Counseling: Improving Your Teen’s Body Image

body image

Body image is the way we perceive ourselves when we look in the mirror. This is usually different than the way others see us because humans are naturally self-critical. Teenagers can be particularly judgmental about their bodies because of peer pressure, images in the media, bullying, and more. As a parent, you have the opportunity to help your child feel better about himself or herself so your teen can walk through the halls with confidence.

Here is a guide from our Michigan teen counseling center to help you improve your teen’s body image.

Buy Proper Fitting Clothes

The fit of a person’s clothing has a major impact on how he or she looks and feels. If your teen is wearing clothes that are too tight or too loose for his or her body, he or she may have a negative experience. It may be difficult to keep teens in proper-fitting attire because of growth spurts and budget constraints, but do your best to get clothes that your teen feels confident in. This will do wonders for his or her attitude.

Use Random, Unexpected Compliments

Your teenager may not respond well to your compliments in the moment, but they do mean something to him or her. Every now and then, provide a compliment about your teen’s appearance. This doesn’t have to happen every day, and it shouldn’t seem forced. A sincere, natural compliment will not be hard to come up with, and it’s not something you have to dwell on for long. All you need is a little seed of positivity, and your child’s mind will take care of the rest.

Avoid Making Negative Comments About Other People

One of the biggest reasons why teenagers feel self-conscious is because they have judgmental people around them. “If dad thinks that about a major celebrity, what does he really think about me?” Before you joke around with your teen about negative features on other people’s body, think about how that may impact your teen’s body image moving forward. The less judgment you have in the household, the better off your teen will be.

Carry Yourself With Confidence

You are your teen’s biggest role model – even if he or she refuses to acknowledge that. Your teen takes your words and actions to heart, so it’s important that you carry yourself with as much confidence as you want him or her to have. It’s natural to feel insecure about your body, but don’t let your teen see that insecurity. Also keep in mind that the way you see yourself is not how others see you. To your child, you could be the best looking person in the world.

If you need help with self-esteem counseling for yourself or your child, contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers in Metro Detroit, MI to learn about our teen counseling and family counseling programs.

Parenting Tips: Helping A Child After Teen Dating Violence

teen dating violence

Dating violence can start at an early age. If you have a teen who has started to date, you need to be mindful of the signs of teen dating violence, should they present themselves. While you may not be able to prevent the violence altogether, there are steps you can take to help your child through the recovery process. In the guide below, we will discuss some parenting tips for helping a child after teen dating violence, along with other resources you may explore for recovery.

Help Your Child Understand It Is Not His/Her Fault

Manipulation often accompanies physical and emotional abuse, where the person committing the abuse makes the victim feel like he or she is to blame. It may take some time for your child to get past that mindset and realize that the violence was not his or her fault. When discussing the matter with your child, make sure you emphasize that your child was not the person committing the violence. Your child will slowly start to rebuild his or her self-esteem and gain a better perspective on the matter.

Be Aware Of Emotional Triggers For Your Child

Depending on how traumatic the violence was, your child may react in an unusual way to day-to-day situations. For instance, hugging or touching your child may cause him or her to flinch or push you away. This is especially true for victims of sexual assault, or those who experienced consistent physical abuse. Learn what your child’s triggers are and be respectful of them. They will become less severe as your teen continues to heal.

Expect Emotional Outbursts

Teenagers are known for having emotional outbursts in general, let alone when they experience some form of trauma. Your teen may have a hard time processing what happened to him or her, which may lead to irritability, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and more. All of these can trigger “meltdowns” or “tantrums” that you need to be ready for. Understand the root underneath those feelings, and truly listen to what your child has to say. Try to remain as calm as possible so you can help your child get through this difficult time.

Be Open To Conversation But Not Forceful

It’s important for your teen to understand that he or she has a support system, but that does not mean that you should try to force him or her to talk to you. Many teens have trouble expressing their feelings and emotions, regardless of the circumstances. Encourage conversation as often as possible, but do not make your child feel pressured to talk to you. That will only push your child further away.

Talk To Your Child About Teen Counseling

Teen counseling is an excellent resource for victims of teen dating violence. In this program, your child will work with a counselor to understand what has happened to him or her. The counselor will also help your teen work on ways to recover from the trauma so he or she can move forward to a happier place in life. If your teen is facing other issues, like low self-esteem or bullying, the counselor can provide assistance for those areas as well.

Your teen could go through individual counseling, or you may go through family counseling together. This will depend on what environment works best for your child. Some teens prefer talking to a counselor on their own because there are things they do not want their parents to know about. Others feel more comfortable having a familiar face in the room with them. Talk to your teen about your counseling options, or contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers to learn more about our family counseling programs. We would be more than happy to get you set up with a counselor in Michigan who specializes in teen dating violence.

Signs Of Teen Dating Violence

teen dating violence

When most people think about dating violence, they picture a set of adults in a heated argument that got out of hand. Unfortunately, violence is not limited to people over the age of 18. Many teens experience abuse and trauma when they date, which changes the shape of their future relationships. Whether you are a parent or a teenager in the dating world, there are things you can watch out for to identify dating violence and prevent it from happening again. Let’s take a look at some common signs of teen dating violence so you know what to look for.

How Common Is Teen Dating Violence In Michigan?

According to the Michigan Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board, one in five female high school students reports being sexually or physically abused by their dating partner at some point during their relationship. Girls and young women 16-24 years of age are the most vulnerable to dating violence, but boys and young men can be at risk all the same. The department says that approximately 95% of victims of teen domestic violence are female, based on several independent studies. Many teens do not speak out when they are being abused or even after the abuse is over, so it is difficult to say just how prevalent this problem is among middle and high school students. Nevertheless, it is a growing concern worth watching out for.

Warning Signs Of Teen Dating Violence

If you are worried that someone you know is the victim of teen dating violence, look for the following signs:

  • Sudden Social Withdrawal (No Longer Wanting To Spend Time With Friends And Family Members)
  • Consistent Apologies, Even When Nothing Was Wrong (Apologizing Is A Habit That Can Form After Someone Is Consistently Put Down Or Emotionally Abused)
  • The Development Of Depression And Anxiety After Entering A Relationship
  • Signs Of Physical Trauma, Such As Bruises, Cuts, Or Scratches
  • Changes In Personality Traits, Like A Talkative Person Becoming Extremely Quiet And Reserved
  • Increased Irritability (Getting Angry About Small Matters)
  • Reduced Self-Confidence And Self-Esteem
  • Loss Of Concentration (Often Combined With Low Grades)
  • Being Defensive On Behalf Of The Abuser When Confronted By Other People
  • Attempting Suicide

You may notice a combination of the signs listed above, or you may see other changes that are out of character. The goal is to see the way the teen reacts after getting into a new relationship. It’s natural for a teen to become infatuated with his or her boyfriend or girlfriend, but it is not natural for that infatuation to cause fear, isolation, anger, etc. Be mindful of the changes that your son or daughter experiences during the dating process, and seek help if you believe dating violence is involved.

What To Do If You Suspect Teen Dating Violence

If you think your teen is a victim of dating violence, there are several steps you can take to get him or her out of the bad situation. First, you need to speak with your son or daughter about the issue at hand. Tell him or her that you are worried about the changes he or she has gone through while dating a certain person. It’s important not to point out the teen’s faults, but rather discuss transitions he or she has gone through, like social isolation, getting rid of friends, or changing personalities altogether. Your teen may be reluctant to hear any of this, but you need to establish a foundation to build on.

Once you have talked with your teen about the problem, you need to find a way to either remove him or her from the relationship or get the other person to get help for his/her anger issues. Even as a teenager, abusers are completely capable of changing and improving if they want to. You simply need to figure out if that person is willing to make the changes necessary to stop the violence. You can discuss all of this with a family counselor who will guide you through the confrontation and recovery process.

If your teen wants to get out of the relationship but fears for his or her safety, you may need to speak with a school administrator about ways to keep your teen safe away from home. This may require a schedule change moving your teen’s locker to another part of the school, or alerting the security guards about the matter so they can respond accordingly. In a worst case scenario, you may need to move your teen to another school to keep him or her safe.

Throughout this process, you may ask your child to go through teen counseling to speak with a professional about his or her relationship and the abuse he or she experienced along the way. Your teen may be more open to discuss this issue with a professional, rather than telling you about it directly. Your teen counselor will help your teen build back his or her self-esteem and progress forward to a better quality of life.

For more information about helping a child after teen violence, feel free to contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers at (248) 244-8644.

 

Signs Your Teen Is Committing Self Harm

signs your teen is commiting self harm

Teen self-harm has become a commonplace among young Americans as they struggle to deal with peer pressure, anxiety, depression, and other emotional changes in their lives. While children can begin these acts at a fairly early age, most start in during or after puberty. If you are worried that your child may be committing self-harm, read on to learn the warning signs of self-injury.

Types Of Self-Harm

In order to notice the signs of self-harm, you need to know what your teen may be doing to his or her body. There are several types of self-injury your child may use to cope with emotions. The most common self-injuries include:

  • Cutting
  • Carving The Skin With A Dull Object
  • Scratching
  • Burning
  • Punching Or Slapping

Most of these acts are designed to leave a mark on the body, but the marks may be hidden by clothing, accessories, or adjusted body movements. The type of self-harm your child uses will depend on the reasons for self-injury, but cutting is the most common act to look for.

Obvious Signs: Noticeable Marks On The Skin

The most obvious sign your child is self-harming is visible cuts, burn holes, scratches, or bruises on the skin. If your teen is cutting in an attempt to get attention, he or she may put the cuts in a visible place on his or her wrist or arm. This is not to say that all teens who cut visibly do so for attention.

Your teen may blame the cuts or bruises on a bully or an accident at school. Assess if the marks look deliberate or haphazard. It’s not always easy to tell if the marks are intentional, but it’s worth investigating before you pass them off as accidents.

Emotional Withdrawal And Personal Isolation

Is your once social butterfly now spending most of her time in her room? Emotional withdrawal is often associated with self-harm because teens feel ashamed of themselves or their behaviors. Depression, anxiety, and a general disconnection with the rest of the world is not always caused by “teenage mood swings.” Your child may be struggling with an area of life and using self-harm as a coping mechanism.

Even if your child is not committing self-injury, you should seek help if he or she shows signs of depression. Working with a teen counselor will help your child get through this difficult time in life.

Wearing Clothing That Hides Certain Body Parts

If your teen is wearing long sleeves in the middle of the summer, he or she may be hiding marks on his or her arms. This is similar to a child wearing a turtle neck to cover a hickey or sunglasses to cover a black eye. Your teen may also begin to accessorize more in attempt to cover marks on the body. This may be nothing more than a change of taste, but your child’s “new style” could also be a cover-up for a much bigger issue going on in his or her life.

Knives, Razor Blades, And Other Evidence

You may find knives or razor blades in your bathroom that were not there before, or you may notice knives missing from your kitchen. If your child is using burning for self-injury, you may find a lighter or matches in his or her room that were not in your home before. The bathroom and the bedroom are the two most common places for teens to self-harm because of the privacy these spaces provide. Look for evidence there while you observe changes in your child’s behaviors.

Blood On The Floor

Your child will try to clean up well after self-harming. This is another reason why the bathroom is a preferred spot for cutting. If blood gets on the floor, it is easy to clean up. Nevertheless, your teen may forget to clean one area or simply not notice it when he or she leaves the room. If you see blood in your house without explanation, you may need to have a discussion with your child.

What To Do If You Notice Signs Of Self-Harm

If you suspect that your child is committing self-harm, talk to your child about your concerns. Come into the discussion from a place of compassion – not anger or shock. You may be upset inside, but you cannot let your child see that. He or she needs to know that you care about what’s going on and you want to help. If the child feels like he or she has disappointed you, you will only make the problem worse.

Once you and your teen talked about what is going on, you can work with a teen counselor to tackle the root emotions that lead to self-harm in the first place. Your teen will have a chance to work with the counselor in a private setting to openly discuss matters he or she may not share with you. You will also have a chance to sit in with some of the counseling sessions so you can gain insight in your child’s life. Your counselor or therapist will give you the tools you need to move on to a better state of mental health.

For more information about teen and child counseling, contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers at (248) 244-8644.

Why Teens Self-Harm

Why Does Your Teen Self Harm

Cutting, burning, and other forms of self-injury are a commonplace among American teenagers. There is no way to truly predict how many teens self-harm because most kids work hard to conceal their injuries. If your child is deliberately hurting himself or herself, you may feel shock, disappointment, fear, or confusion. Understanding why teens self-harm will give you greater insight into the struggles your child is facing, and it will help you seek the help your teen needs now.

Self-Harm For Pleasure

The most common reason why teens self-harm is to cope with overwhelming emotions. Acts of self-injury temporarily release endorphins, opioids, and serotonin in a child’s brain, providing a sense of pleasure before the pain hits. Some people naturally feel more pleasure from cutting or burning than others, so your child may be using this as a tool to balance out negative emotions in his life.

Self-Harm For Punishment

Another reason why teens self-harm is because they feel like they deserve to be punished. For instance, a child who is constantly bullied at school may start to believe he is as worthless as the bullies claim he is. If your child’s grade slip due to emotional struggles, he may self-harm as punishment for disappointing you. Teenagers go through extreme hormonal changes that greatly impact their ability to process their emotions. Self-injury is just a potential byproduct of this turmoil.

Self-Harm For Communication

If a child is not getting the attention he or she needs, he or she may self-harm to signify the severity of his or her emotions. This does not mean that the root emotions are not real and are not worthy of concern. Those who go through with the self-injury typically have emotions that need to be addressed. You need to search for the deeper meaning behind the action and seek help.

Self-Harm For Suicide

Sadly, many teens use self-harm to attempt suicide. This is not to say that every act of self-injury is a suicide attempt. That is far from the case. Nevertheless, a deeper-than-usual cut on your child’s wrist may be an effort to end his or her life. This is why it is important to seek help at the early stages of self-harm, when possible, to conquer your teen’s struggles as quickly as possible.

Getting Your Teen The Help He Or She Needs

If your child is committing self-harm or you suspect he or she may try in the future, work with a teen counselor to tackle the emotions together. Your teen will speak to a counselor on an individual basis and in family counseling sessions with you and your spouse so you can all work toward a plan for recovery. Approach this process with an open mind, and you may be surprised by how much you learn about your child along the way.