Hi, I recently found out that my 11 year old daughter has self harmed. The school informed me as another child had informed them. She is a confident, articulate child and we have a good open relationship. She does talk to me if things are bothering her but usually a couple of days after an event. I think this gives her time to process things in her head first. So I don't push usually and allow her this time knowing she will talk when she is ready. I had a gentle discussion with her about the self harm, she says she scratched herself with tweezers due to feeling angry about a situation with her absent father. She then told a friend at school what she had done. I believe her when she says it was the first time. She has no visible marks on her body even from the tweezers. She is a gymnast so spends a lot of time wearing nothing but a leotard, and she is quite the nudiust at home so she doesn't appear to be hiding marks or harming often. I made sure she knew I wasn't mad and that she wasn't in trouble just concerned. We've talked about alternatives for expressing feelings, writing it down etc and talked about people she feels she can talk to even if its not me. I'm worried that this first time will lead on to a second, third continuing. The situation with her father won't change and he pops up every few months by messaging her. Which obviously doesn't do her emotions any good. She is also at that age, puberty is accelerating fast and her emotions and moods are up and down due to this. But she is adamant she still wants contact with him and I worry blocking him will do just as much harm. She is reluctant to talk any further about the self harm and I don't want to push it then make her afraid of ever talking to me. I seem to be able to find lots of help leaflets for parents but are there any child friendly leaflets/booklets for them to be able to read? Aimed at them, how they might be feeling, what to do, but in their language? I figure if I can find one then I can give it to her to look at if she feels that way and doesn't want to immediately talk. I'm reluctant to suggest looking on line in case she stumbles across those other dreadful sites which encourage it.

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By: Ruth Ayres

on: 23.01.17

Thanks so much for getting in touch with selfharmuk and for sharing your story with us, it would appear you have handled this really well. The most important thing is that you daughter knows she can talk to you and know that you will listen and try and give her coping strategies. I think its just important that you keep talking with her and taking things slow, all she needs to know is that you are there and available to her to listen when she needs it.

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