If you suspect your teenager is engaging in self-harm, keep an eye out for the following warning signs:
- Wearing long sleeves or pants during summer
- Cuts, scratches, bruises, carvings, or burns anywhere on their body
- Spending time with friends or acquaintances who harm themselves
- Missing patches of hair, including eyelashes or eyebrows
- Sharp objects hidden in the bedroom, backpack, clothes, or car
- Isolating in the bedroom with the door locked, especially after a stressful event
- Wounds or scars are noticed by a teacher, coach, or family doctor
- A close friend or family member reports seeing your teen engage in self-harm
- Finding sharp objects in your teen’s room with blood on them
Parents should be aware that self-harming behavior can be a sign of significant emotional pain. Some of these teens may have suicidal ideation as well. It’s important to seek help if you are seeing signs of self-harm in your teen.
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Angus is a writer from Atlanta, GA who writes about behavioral health, adolescent development, education, and mindfulness practices like yoga, tai chi, and meditation.