Home » Parental Control Tips » What Parents Should Know About Self-Harm in Teens

What Parents Should Know About Self-Harm in Teens 2023

What Parents Should Know About Self-Harm in Teens

As a concerned parent, it is essential to be aware of the different issues that your teen might be facing. One of the most concerning issues that parents face is self-harm in teens. Self-harm in teenagers is a concerning issue that requires parents to be vigilant and take appropriate measures to address it. In this article, we will discuss self-harm in teens and how parents can help their teens who are struggling with this issue.

Understanding Self-Harm in Teens

Self-harm in teenagers is a term used to describe the deliberate act of causing harm to oneself. This act can be in different forms, including cutting, burning, hitting oneself, or even pulling out hair. Teenagers who engage in self-harm do so as a way of coping with emotional pain or distress. Self-harm is a form of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) that is often used to relieve emotional pain temporarily.

Self-harm in teenagers is a serious issue that requires attention. Although self-harm may be used as a coping mechanism, it can lead to severe physical and psychological consequences. It is essential to note that self-harm is not a suicide attempt, but it can still be dangerous and life-threatening if left unaddressed.

Why Do Teens Self-Harm?

Self-Harm among teenagers for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Coping with overwhelming emotions such as sadness, anxiety, or anger
  • Feeling a sense of control when other things in their life may be chaotic or out of control
  • Expressing internal pain when words may not be enough
  • Seeking peer acceptance or attention
  • Experiencing trauma, abuse, or neglect
  • Struggling with mental health conditions such as depression or borderline personality disorder
  • Impulsivity and experimenting with behaviors.

It is essential to note that self-harm is not a sign of weakness or attention-seeking behavior. Parents should avoid making assumptions about why their teen is self-harming and instead seek professional help to determine the underlying cause of the behavior.

Different Types of Self-Harm in Teens

Self-harm in teens can take different forms. Here are some types of adolescent self-harm:

  • Cutting: Cutting involves making shallow or deep cuts to the skin with a sharp object, typically a razor or knife. Cuts may be made on various body parts, including the wrists or ankles, and may be hidden with clothing.
  • Burning or branding: Burning or branding involves using heat to inflict burns or scars on the skin. A common method is the use of lit cigarettes, pans or irons.
  • Scratching or biting: Adolescents may scratch, bite or pick their skin as a means of self-harm.
  • Head-banging: Some adolescents harm themselves by repeatedly hitting or banging their heads against solid objects such as walls, beds or desks.
  • Hair-pulling: A behavior known as Trichotillomania involves pulling hair from one’s head, eyebrows, eyelashes or other body parts.
  • Stabbing: Stabbing or pricking oneself with sharp objects, such as needles or pins, can cause physical cuts or puncture wounds.
  • Ingesting harmful substances: Some adolescents may ingest harmful substances, such as drugs or chemicals, or repeatedly overdose on prescription or over-the-counter medications.

Warning Signs of Self-Harm in Teens

Some of the signs of self-harm in adolescents may include:

  • Unexplained cuts, burns, or bruises on the body
  • Wearing clothing that covers the body, even in hot weather
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Increased irritability or aggression
  • Difficulty managing emotions or impulses
  • Obsessing over self-harm methods, such as reading or writing about it online
  • Stockpiling sharp objects or other items that could be used to harm oneself
  • Talking about suicide or death.

The Effective Ways to Help Teens Prevent Self-Harm

Self-harm is a serious concern that affects many teens. It’s important for parents, caregivers, and loved ones to provide support and help teens find healthy ways to cope with their emotions. Here are some effective ways to stop self-harm in teenagers:

  • Open communication
    It’s important to create an open and non-judgmental communication environment where teens can express their feelings. Let them know you are available and willing to listen, and that their feelings are valid.
  • Seek professional help
    Sometimes it is necessary to seek professional help to deal with self-harm. Seek a mental healthcare specialist or a therapist who is specially trained to deal with self-harm.
  • Encourage healthy coping mechanisms
    Help your teen find healthy ways to manage their stress like exercise, meditation, or journaling. Encourage them to express themselves creatively, participate in activities that they enjoy, and spend time with positive support systems such as family and friends.
  • Minimize access to harmful items
    Limit access to sharp objects or any other items that can be used for self-harm. This includes any medication that can be misused by your teenager.
  • Be patient and supportive
    Recovery from self-harm takes time, be patient with your teen and celebrate progress, no matter how small. Be supportive of their journey and continue to encourage them to get the help they need to overcome self-harm.
  • Monitor teens’ online activities
    Monitoring teens’ online activities can be an effective way to prevent self-harm as it can help parents or guardians identify warning signs and take appropriate action.

Remember, talking to your teenager about self-harm can be a difficult and emotional conversation. However, with patience, empathy, and understanding, you can make it easier to have an open and honest conversation.

Monitor Teens’ Online Activities with iKeyMonitor

iKeyMonitor is a parental control app that can help you monitor your teen’s online activity and provide alerts whenever the application detects inappropriate or dangerous behavior. iKeyMonitor can detect self-harming behaviors based on the keywords and phrases used in the user’s text messages, social media posts, and internet browsing history. Additionally, iKeyMonitor can detect keywords related to suicide or self-harm in real time and alert you immediately.

Here are some suggestions for monitoring teens’ online activities:

  • Discuss the importance of internet safety with your teen
    Start by talking to your teen about why online safety is crucial and how it can help prevent self-harm. Let them know that you understand they need their privacy and independence, but as a parent or guardian, it’s your responsibility to ensure their safety.
  • Keep an eye on their online activity
    You can use monitoring software, such as iKeyMonitor, to track your teen’s online activity. These tools can help you identify signs of self-harm, such as searches for self-harm content, suicidal ideation, or discussions about self-harm with online peers.
  • Set clear expectations
    Make sure your teen understands that you will be monitoring their online activity and why you are doing so. Discuss the consequences of violating online safety rules, such as restrictions on internet access, and reward them accordingly for responsible behavior.
  • Stay involved
    Stay involved in your teen’s life by staying informed of their interests and social activities. This will help you understand their online activity better and identify potential warning signs early.

Remember that monitoring your teen’s online activity is not a substitute for open communication and support. Talk to your teens, listen to their concerns, and provide them with the help they need if needed.

How to Talk to Your Teens About Self-Harm

Talking to your teen about self-harm can be a challenging conversation. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Start the conversation: Initiate a conversation in a non-judgmental and gentle way. Select a time and place where both of you can talk comfortably without distractions. 
  • Show Empathy and Understanding: Listen to their story and do not dismiss their feelings. Show empathy and understanding for their mental health struggles. 
  • Avoid Blaming and Shaming: Do not blame, shame or judge your teenager for their self-harm behavior. Instead, focus on understanding and supporting them. 
  • Educate yourself: It’s important to educate yourself about self-harm and the reasons behind this behavior. This will help you communicate with your teenager better. 
  • Seek help: If you feel that your teenager needs professional help, then do not hesitate to seek support from a mental health professional. 


Self-harm in teenagers is a concerning issue that requires attention and action from parents. Understanding the different types of self-harm, warning signs, and talking to your teen about self-harm can be effective in preventing and addressing self-harm behavior.

It is essential to seek professional help and guidance when dealing with self-harm in teenagers. Parents can also use tools such as iKeyMonitor to monitor their teen’s online activity and prevent concerning behavior. By taking proactive measures, parents can help their teens overcome self-harm and lead healthy and fulfilling life.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Parental Control Tips

Back to Top