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longgone's avatar

How would you talk to a ten-year-old about cutting?

Asked by longgone (13728points) 3 months ago

She’s being exposed to the problem because an older girl she’s close to has scars. She hasn’t been asking any questions, but her parents feel it’s important to help her understand.

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11 Answers

Patty_Melt's avatar

I would tell her there are thousands of ways people react to stress, or anger, or sadness, and that some of the ways are helpful, some are harmful.
I would say that probably people who cut themselves do it with the hope that eventually they will get used to the pain. That if they do it enough, maybe other things wouldn’t hurt so much.
I would tell her that if the person doing it had asked for help, someone could show them better ways to handle things than harming themselves.
I would tell her that cutting doesn’t make that person bad, or hopeless. That having the scars is a reminder for all of us that anyone can need help, and when they do, they should ask.

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JLeslie's avatar

If she were my daughter I would probably tell her that when people are unhappy sometimes they hurt themselves to distract themselves from thinking about the unhappy thing. That it’s a bad way to deal with being unhappy, and that she can always come to me and I will help her. That she never has to be embarrassed or afraid to tell me when things are feeling difficult in her life.

Harming oneself in the end just makes life more sad and more complicated.

janbb's avatar

Both @Patty_Melt and @JLeslie have great answers. I don’t think I have anything else to add. I would normally say they should wait til she asks but they know their own daughters and family so the statements above are great.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I’m old school enough that I believe that you don’t stir the pot until needed. She doesn’t understand cutting & since most kids who cut don’t discuss it very much, she may not have put importance on the scars. Still IF she ever asks, I’d be as straight forward as possible. Explaining before she’s ready to inquire might give it more importance in her mind than it should have & could possibly give her the idea that cutting is a good way to deal with her problems.

PIN_24's avatar

I wouldn’t. I would rather just monitor the kids activities. If I find anything suspicious, only then I would try to explain that cutting is wrong. This is to avoid imbiming unnecessary fear in the kids mind.

Strauss's avatar

My (now 18-year-old) daughter went through a period of cutting. I first noticed when I was something she was writing about the pain relieving the pressure. I did not address it with her, but shared my observation with my wife.

A few weeks later, we noticed some scarring. That was when we talked about it.

I don’t want to trivialize the pain she was feeling, but I think it was a similar situation to that of the OP, where she was exposed to someone else who was cutting. After a few months, it became a non-issue.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Patty_Melt Wow, that’s a fantastic way to explain it to a child.

Patty_Melt's avatar

It isn’t a non issue for any child any more.
Kids organize cutting awareness campaigns at school, and on social media.
To recognize the cutters, and their traumas, kids will mark themselves to give the appearance of scars.
They write symbols on themselves for various current youth concerns.
Any kid allowed out the front door these days has access to what trending obsession is the current.
For better or worse, kids these days have chosen to be their own Dr. Phil.
We can’t stop that. Our best action is to talk, ask, explain, and sometimes go for help.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Cutting was explained to me as ‘a way to feel something’. I would let a child ask for more info before oversharing.

Aethelwine's avatar

If she’s been exposed she needs to understand why this person is cutting. Ten year olds don’t get enough credit for their intelligence and awareness.

We recently found out our youngest son has been cutting for the past year. He’s 14. He is loved and accepted by his family and friends yet he’s still hurting emotionally. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. The more we speak about it the sooner the stigma will end.

If you need more advice please message me. I’m here to help.

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