I have a fifteen-year-old daughter who has been cutting herself. What can I do to help her? We have had long talks about it, but then she quietly goes into her room and cuts herself again. I don’t think she even understands why she does it and is always embarrassed about it later.
I urge you to seek medical and psychological help immediately. Find a program that is staffed by trained professionals who understand the condition and know how to reach teens. Your daughter can be helped, but you are not likely to lead her to wholeness without specialized care.
Now that you know what she is likely to be feeling, you can certainly come alongside her with encouragement and compassion. But as with anorexia and other eating disorders, simply talking and reasoning will not help. Nor will getting angry or saying, “I insist that you stop doing this.” There is far more going on inside your teen than meets the eye. Girls who are caught in this destructive pattern need our understanding and our intervention.