I'm Worried About My Child
Incidences of self harm, also known as self injurious behaviour (SIB), are on the rise and rates of self-harm in the UK are now amongst the highest in Europe.
A child who self harms can engage in many different acts including:
Cutting, scratching or burning skin
Banging body parts against a wall
Overdosing on medicines, including antidepressants
Taking illegal drugs or poisonous substances
Girls are more likely to self harm than boys – and most children who self-harm are not usually trying to commit suicide; only a very small proportion of people who self-harm go on to take their own life.
Self harm and self injurious behaviours are often symptoms of a condition such as anxiety disorder or depression. These disorders in themselves come about due to a lack of skills in certain areas – these can be anything from a struggle in social skills through to not being able to label how you are feeling inside. It is very important to complete a thorough analysis of your child’s skill-set.
Events in the environment, such as stress and trauma, from bereavement or abuse, to family breakdown or bullying, may cause a child to have difficulty communicating and problem solving, which leads to inappropriate ways of managing it. That is where we come in – we will teach both you and your child skills to deal with these struggles in a healthy way.
Our partners at NETwork Interventions have years of experience of successful interventions and support for children struggling with unhealthy or inappropriate patterns of behaviour. Applied Behaviour Analysis and Verbal Behaviour are highly effective ways of teaching a child skills and behaviours they require in order to reduce and eliminate unhealthy and dangerous behaviours, including self harm.
Our starting point is to undertake a detailed assessment of your child, identifying the underlying cause or triggers for the self harm. Helping your child to express unvoiced anxieties and fears is often the first step, as is identifying and removing any behaviours in the environment which are maintaining the behaviours.
We then work with you to implement a strategy for reducing and eliminating problem behaviours, and teaching new skills and healthy, age appropriate ways to deal with stress and anxiety.
For you as parents, having a child who self harms can be desperately worrying. Many of the families we meet express feelings of guilt, fear and anger, often blaming themselves in some way for their child’s self harm.
A whole family approach is integral to the way we work and relate to our families; we recognise that having a child who is self harming can place a huge strain on all of you – and instead of working with your child in isolation, we get alongside you as a family unit, providing the professional support you need to move forwards and thrive.
Even a very young child can engage in self-injurious behaviour. We have worked with children as young as 13 months old. There is good news: self harm is a behaviour – and behaviour can be changed.