Cutting…Are You Familiar With This?

My daughter and I are very close. She tells me many things about her school and friends that I would otherwise not be aware. One of the behaviors rampant in not just her school but at other high schools in our small (85,000 people) city is cutting.

Cutting is defined as “not an indication of suicidal behavior” but rather a “cry for help”. She knows more than four or five people who have cut themselves and/or are still cutting themselves. These teens suffer from depression and cut themselves to relieve their inner pain. Most of the people she knows use razor blades to make superficial cuts around their wrists. The cuts bleed but heal fairly quickly, sometimes forming dark red lines that can be easily seen by others.

I heard the other day that many teens have “cutting groups” during which time they all sit together and cut themselves and commiserate with each other about how they’re feeling. It’s akin to group therapy I would imagine, without the therapist.

“Life is too much,” they say. “Everything is too much,” they add.

What is it about our society today that is overwhelming these young girls and boys?

I’m glad I was not born during this time. Even though I’m happy using my iPhone, the internet and television, I think the immediacy and pace of today’s world is overwhelming. There is too much of which I am aware – immediately – and oft times I find it’s “too much” for me and I’m an adult. I can deal with it. I can shut it off, turn it off, cut it out of my life. But with teens today, in order to “fit in” and “relate to their peers” they jump on board this never-stopping train and go, go, go for very speedy rides through life.

What do you think?

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Posted on September 20, 2013, in Blog Posts. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I agree, Patti. It is very hard for teens to be kids with all the information and rushing into adulthood. I’m sad to hear about your daughter’s school, but I think that is pretty common. I’m glad your daughter is talking to you so you can help her find ways to cope without hurting herself. Hugs.

    • Thanks for commenting, Christy. I think the more open communication you can have with your teen the more likely s/he is to tell you things about themselves as well as their peers, etc. I’m finding out all kinds of stuff!

  2. My daughter had a cabin mate at camp several years ago who cut herself. I was stunned to see it happening among twelve-year-old kids. The ONLY positive about that situation was that it brought about a conversation she and I needed to have. She was so repulsed by it that, hopefully, she’ll never do it herself!

    It is sad that kids have so much pressure on them, but, when talking among women in my generation, I learned cutting isn’t limited only to today’s kids. As a parent, you just have to be diligent and talk to your kids–even when they don’t want to talk to you!

    • That’s the thing, Tracy, being diligent about talking with them “when they don’t want to talk to you”. My son isn’t very open with his feelings and had several episodes when he was a senior in high school when he would not talk at all in the middle of a conversation about certain things. He’d shut down and hit the “mute” button in his brain and turn into a zombie.

  3. Sometimes all it takes is for a parent or other trusted adult to acknowledge a teen’s pain. To let them know that it is OK to feel frustrated, sad, etc. And then to listen to the teen WITHOUT trying to solve problems. Best of luck with maintaining your relationship with your daughter!!!

    • That’s the consensus in this group, Eilene – to keep that communication going between your teen and you. It’s quite a job in and of itself but well worth it. It’s so intriguing to find out what’s going on in a teen’s mind and recall how I felt at her age.

  4. It makes me sad — and a little sick — to think that teens have to go to this extreme. I’m just thankful my boys are out of this stage. 😦

  5. This is so sad, Patti. I believe the solution is to seriously increase face-to-face human contact, especially hugging. Technology can be isolating, and human touch is needed to provide balance. Cheers, Ashley

    • I know what you mean, Ashley. I swear they seem not to know what it means to talk to each other unless they’re physically together. My kids are fine with being physically with their pals otherwise it’s texting and rarely talking on the phone. I don’t get it really.

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