Cutting Yourself - Who Becomes a Cutter?
Most parents believe that their children are well adjusted and happy for the most part, and most parents are right. Yes, pre-teens and teenagers suffer through their trials but most make it through “none the worse for wear”. However, there are those who only know how to deal with the hurt and pain by inflicting self harm, or cutting themselves.
Who Becomes a Cutter?
For the most part, people who indulge in cutting behavior are those who feel as though they have no other way to cope. Often, they may have intense emotions built up inside that they do not know how to release in any other way. The cutting behavior may be the only way they can attempt to release some of the emotional stress and tension. Also, most cutters are girls, but this not a rule.
Cutters may also suffer from some sort of psychological disorder as well, though this is not always the case. Some of these psychological disorders include depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and bipolar disorder. Other cutters may be dealing with alcohol or drug abuse. However, anyone who is feeling overwhelmed and lacks the appropriate coping mechanisms can become a cutter.
Signs Your Child May Be Cutting
As a parent, you have been watching your child grow from an infant and often know his/her personality fairly well. When children become pre-teens and teenagers, though, raging hormones may often have an effect on your once angelic child. Most teenagers begin to want to express their individuality and independence around this time. So, how do you know if your changing/child is cutting himself/herself?
When a child is engaging in cutting behavior, he/she often wants to hide the evidence. They may tell you that the cuts and scratches come from rough play, a pet, or some other benign incident. So, you will need to look further. Some signs to watch for include sudden secretiveness, small linear cuts on the body (forearms, upper arms, inner thighs, etc.), and mood changes such as depression or anxiety. Also, if your child insists on wearing inappropriate clothing for the weather (i.e. sweatshirt and jeans on a 90 degree day), he or she may have a problem with cutting.
If you suspect that your child may be cutting himself/herself, do not become overly upset or hysterical. The most important thing is that your child receives help, but he/she must be willing to accept the help as well. The first step in the ‘help’ process normally begins with psychotherapy. However, be sure to select a psychotherapist who understands and is skilled in this type of behavior.