Motherlode - Adventures in Parenting SEARCH PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCE Why Teenagers Cut, and How to Help By JESSICA LAHEY OCTOBER 30, 2014 10:47 AM October 30, 2014 10:47 am Photo Credit Jessica Lahey I noticed Sarah’s arms as soon as I met her. It is hard not to, as 15 years of self-injury have rendered them more scar than skin. Sarah isn’t my student, but I’ve taught plenty of kids like her, and she offered to talk to me about why she has cut herself for a decade and a half, and how the adults in her life could have helped her manage the pain that prompted her to self-injure. By the time she first cut herself at 12, she’d already endured seven years of abuse at the hands of a parent. “Cutting was my comfort, from the very beginning. I know that sounds strange — to cause pain to feel better — but it worked. Sometimes, if I was feeling anxious in school, all I had to do was go in to the bathroom and look at my scars. Just seeing them comforted me.” It can be difficult for people who have never sought relief through self-injury to understand Sarah’s actions, but to Dr. Michael Hollander, director of Training and Consultations on the 3East Dialectical Behavioral Therapy program at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., and author of “Helping Teens Who Cut: Understanding and Ending Self-Injury,” her explanation makes sense. In Sarah’s mind, self-injury functions as an effective, albeit destructive and dangerous, coping mechanism. “The vast majority of kids who cut themselves do so as an emotion-regulation strategy, and, unfortunately, it works, which is why it’s so hard to get them to stop,” Dr. Hollander said. Kids who cut themselves are either jumping out of their skin and use self-injury to calm themselves down, or are numb and empty and use self-injury to feel something. A small percentage use it for avoidance, to create a distraction, and an even smaller percentage use it to get attention. Some, a very small group of kids, use it to punish themselves; kids who feel they don’t deserve to live, breathe or take up space may cut themselves, usually in the context of an extreme emotional situation. Kids who self-injure tend to be particularly emotionally sensitive and vulnerable and suffer from what Dr. Hollander calls “emotional illiteracy.” They can’t name their feelings, let alone formulate a plan for managing and coping with them. Strategies that work with most kids, such as reassurance, minimizing the severity of difficulties, or offering to help them solve problems, can backfire with kids who self-injure. When I asked Dr. Hollander to offer ways teachers and parents can help kids who self-injure, he said that what adults should not do is often more important than what they should. Do not agree to confidentiality. “All too often, well-meaning adults agree to keep the self-injury a secret on the promise that the kid won’t do it again, and this is a terrible idea.” While cutting is not generally a suicide attempt, “there’s a link between cutting and suicide. Suicide risk is nine times higher if there’s a history of self-injurious behavior, and some believe that self-injury is a sort of rehearsal for more severe injuries that can lead to death.” Adults should not prioritize relationships with a child above that child’s well-being. “Kids who self-harm need treatment, and in short order,” Dr. Hollander stressed. Giving in to their pleas for more time, silence or additional counsel only delays treatment and could lead to further, more serious injury. Do not suggest substitute behaviors for self-injury. Offering such advice, Dr. Hollander explains, can slide into the territory of treatment, and laypeople are not qualified to counsel or treat kids who self-injure, no matter how many books and articles they read. What adults should do, according to Dr. Hollander, is validate children’s feelings, and work with the family or social services to get that child into treatment as quickly as possible. Validation, Dr. Hollander stresses in his book, is the key to supporting a child who self-injures. “To validate someone is to communicate that you understand other person’s experience. You don’t have to like to or agree with it; you just have to acknowledge it.” Solving their problems, attempting to put their emotional pain in perspective, reassuring, and offering “I’ve been there” feedback may feel helpful in the moment, but when emotions feel overwhelming, and an adult tells you that everything is going to be O.K., emotionally sensitive kids can hear that reassurance as an invalidation of their feelings. Above all else, initiate professional treatment. Self-injury that goes untreated can evolve from minor cuts to life-threatening injuries in a moment. As Sarah explained, her worst injuries always began as tiny cuts, “just a scratch, maybe one that would look like the cat did it,” and ended in a trip to the emergency room. “Because I am disconnected from my body and physical pain when I cut myself, it’s the sight of the blood — not the pain — that brings me back to myself, and things can get out of control pretty fast.” As we finished talking, I pointed to the marks highest up on her forearm, scars that seemed to form words. “What does that say?” I asked. “Part of it, down at the bottom, says ‘HELP ME,’ ” she replied. She then pointed to a faded ‘I’, an ‘M’ and an ‘S’, and said, “That used to say ‘I’m sorry.’ I cut that just after I reported my dad to Child Protective Services.” She slid her finger to the right, then tapped the clear ‘N’ she’d incised next to the “I’m” and added, in a half-smile, “I added the ‘Not’ later.” She shrugged, took a deep breath, and stretched her sleeves down over her fingertips to let me know that our interview was over. Jessica Lahey is an educator, writer and speaker. She writes about parenting and education for The New York Times, The Atlantic and Vermont Public Radio Her book, “The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed,” will be published by HarperCollins in 2015. Find her at JessicaLahey.com. Like what you’re reading? Get the best of Motherlode articles, links, comments and conversation, along with previews of posts to come, delivered each week to your inbox. Sign up here. PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCE, CHILDREN AND CHILDHOOD, MENTAL HEALTH AND DISORDERS, PSYCHOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGISTS http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/30/why-teenagers-cut-and-how-to-help/?_r=0

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Please make note that I, Jessica Lynn Hepner the creator of What Every Parent Should Know, is not giving legal advice. I am not a lawyer. I am giving you knowledge via first hand experiences.

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Save A Life by Angie Kassabie

Save A Life by Angie Kassabie
I URGE ALL MY FRIENDS TO READ & SHARE THIS; YOU COULD SAVE A LOVED ONES LIFE BY KNOWING THIS SIMPLE INFORMATION!!! Stroke has a new indicator! They say if you forward this to ten people, you stand a chance of saving one life. Will you send this along? Blood Clots/Stroke - They Now Have a Fourth Indicator, the Tongue: During a BBQ, a woman stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) ...she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Jane's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 PM Jane passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would be with us today. Some don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead. It only takes a minute to read this. A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. >>RECOGNIZING A STROKE<< Thank God for the sense to remember the '3' steps, STR. Read and Learn! Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions: S *Ask the individual to SMILE. T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. Chicken Soup) R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS. If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke. A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved. I have done my part. Will you?

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