Today’s blog post isn’t something pleasant, but it is something that I want to write about…to encourage other parents to be aware of. Self harm, self injury, mutilation, call it what you will.
Teens devise elaborate self-harm
SOME troubled teens are embedding nails, paper clips, bits of rock, glass and even crayons in their bodies as a way to cope with disturbing thoughts and feelings, US researchers say.
Taken from news.com.au
All forms of self harm are shocking. Did you know that there are many forms of self harm? Did you know that even *good kids* can wind up practicing self harm and self mutilation? Just because you are a Christian who homeschools don’t be fooled into thinking that your child could or would never do something like that.
Who self harms
According to some research, girls are seven times more likely to self harm than boys. The behaviour usually starts in adolescence but is also known amongst younger children.
In my experience, self harm can start very young. It doesn’t always look the same but the attitudes, the pain, the inability to deal with guilt, the anger is still present. I’ve known of a child who cannot/will not be smacked by his parents. They say it is because “he is such a sensitive child…” and they went on to tell me that every time he starts to get into trouble or be corrected, he would throw himself onto the floor and bang his head on the floor, thus preventing him from being disciplined by his parents!!! Strangely enough, the mother of said child often has exhibited self harm behaviour. When this person is upset or angry, she will hit her head against a wall repeatedly. This is a grown woman! So, I would say that self harm is something that can start to manifest in young children because it can be an inability to deal with pain, hurt, anger, frustration, etc.
As parents what can we do?
Become informed. Learn to recognise possible warning signs. There is a lot of information available on the Internet, but please exercise caution. There is a lot of pop psychology out there and secular worldviews pervade the ‘behaviour of teens’ industry so please line everything you read up against the word of God.
Observe our children. When they make a mistake, how do they react, cope? How do they deal with being corrected?
We need to teach our children correct Biblical views about guilt, forgiveness, (atonement for sin) shame. Teach them how to deal with and/or express their anger. Teach them/lead them to the Cross for the forgiveness of their sins. Teach them Scripture. Teach them who they are in Christ and what He has done for us. But more importantly, we need to model these things. They will be watching us and learning how we deal with anger and guilt.
The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has a download which is a good starting point.
Self-Injury.org Is an anonymously edited series of pages written by a former female self harmer from a Christian perspective. It gives a comprehensive list of Bible verses which relate to the subject. The author helpfully reviews other resources which have been published and writes personally about her own story.
Secret Shame (self-injury information and resources) This site covers many areas, such as why someone would injure him or herself, information for family and friends, and ways that a self-injurer can help him or herself. It is well documented and contains information from people who injure themselves as well as from books about the subject and other resources.
Christians in Recovery — A Christian recovery ministry containing both Christian and secular information about recovering from abuse, depression, addictions, etc.
But we’re a Christian family!
Yes, even Christians can self harm! Even Christian children can self harm. Hiding away, denying it, trying to avoid the shame and humiliation from other Christians is not going to help the problem…it simply reinforces to the child that denial of sin is the way to deal with it. So, ask for prayer…see your pastor but don’t live with it alone or trying to pretend it can’t be happening.
In His Grace,