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Clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, state that endorphins that has the same effects as drugs are released when cutting occurs, making the adolescent feeling better. Self-mutilation is a way to get his / her control on life back, because he / she feels overwhelmed by life. Cutting is a way to handle some of the following mental states / issues: Depression. Anxiety. Stress. Humiliation. Anger. Sorrow. Abuse. Family conflict. The risk of becoming a cutter is quite high in competitive and perfectionistic young people. Most of them have a low self esteem and even for younger children the frantic rushed life between school, homework and extramural activities can be exhausting. They feel 'swamped and there is no or very little family time. The family time, however, is essential for children to acquire mechanisms to deal with abovementioned issues. And then, as we all know, there is the media. The way in which aggression and violence are explicitly displayed also leads to self-mutilation. A child can also be influenced by a friend that cuts him- / herself. Because a friend is doing it, it seems like acceptable behaviour. Cutting often appears when children suffers from so-called "borderline personality disorder" (BPD), schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Children with autism can be extremely violent, because of their unique needs in life, and can mutilate themselves out of frustration. They usually use this to escape from the environment stimuli that they experience as pain. Finally, cutting can occur merely out of exploratory behaviour by any normal young person without any vast problems. is however not their aim to kill themselves. After all, it keeps people alive when they experience unbearable mental pain. Often this deviation is confused with suicidal attempts. It serves as an emotional pain control mechanism. This behaviour occurs in people of all levels of society and is usually misdiagnosed and misunderstood. It is also a secret activity and the person feels ashamed. According to Sadag (the South African Depression- and Anxiety Group) self-mutilation is not only a teenager trend and, as believed, a thing that only young girls do. A person who does this is not attention-hungry and his / her aim is not to manipulate others. It is also not depicted as an automatic sign of mental illness or child abuse. Sufferers usually find it difficult to change, and it is not specifically something that they really want to do - they feel so-to-say "obliged" to do it. Most people think about "cutting" when they think of self-mutilation. In reality there are quite a few behavioural patterns that can be classified under self-mutilation. Sadag hy do they do it? More about cutting ut themselves to deal with Flems. As parent, you hcr ry for help before it is t Self-Mutilation I Parenting rJ NIJ E 1111 confirms that a person can use a knife or any other sharp object to cut him- / herself with, they can burn themselves, hit themselves with their fists or any other objects, scratch their skins or pull their hair, misuse alcohol or have eating disorders. Eight methods to help your child Firstly parents must first try to deal with their own shock. To invade your child's personal space, to get angry with him / her or to suddenly make demands, can raise his / her anxiety levels which can increase self-mutilation. You have to remain calm and give him / her sufficient time to speak with you about it. Should your child find it difficult to talk to you, propose that they send you an sms or write a letter to you which will include ways to make their world a better place. If your child doesn't want to communicate with you at all, you have to get help. Cutting is not a way to get attention, it is a serious cry for help! Take care of your child's wounds. By doing this they will realise that his / her body is worth caring about. Get proper medical attention when serious damage was done. Don't just do wound care, focus on your child's emotional state. Show empathy and show your child that you would really like to understand what he / she is feeling. Should your child explain his / her feelings, summarise it, and repeat it in your own words. They must realise that any emotions and feelings are acceptable, self-mutilation however, is not acceptable. Try to find out who or what makes your child sad. It may be exam stress, bullying or they can suffer to deal with the death of someone close. Sometimes they can be disappointed in themselves by something they have done wrong. Build their self confidence by giving them positive feedback on every little positive thing that they are doing or have accomplished. 5. Younger children doesn't always have the sufficient vocabulary to explain what they are feeling. This frustrates them. Through play therapy they use the natural language of play to communicate stress, frustration, anxiety or any other needs to the therapist. This is seen as a safe place. The therapist will then give parents practical advise on how to support the child at home. Get educated about this behaviour. Try to find out what is causing your child's stress and help him / her to discover problem solving skills to use in difficult circumstances. Avoid judgement and don't criticise. Children with this deviation feel lonely and isolated. Make sure that they come into contact with children who is not hurting themselves. Never keep this behaviour a secret. Encourage your child to speak to a therapist. Therapists have the ability to teach children how to recognise their feelings, how to express it, how to regulate it in meaningful ways and how to live socially acceptable. Remove yourself from the situation. Try to focus on something else in stead of the pain. Make a list of supportive friends which you can talk to. If your friends can't help you, make an appointment to see a professional. Try to do relaxing- and / or breathing exercises. Keep a diary of how you are feeling and what the exact reason is for self-mutilation. Learn the ability to confront others and make sure everybody knows how you are feeling. Make a list of reasons why you are going to stop and set realistic goals. Look ahead! When things feel too huge and difficult to handle, it can be very difficult to change the future. When you feel like this, think of the following: "The problems that seems undissolvable on this stage, will change. Life changes continuously and you are in control of yourself and your own environment!"