Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

13 year old daughter is self harming.... HELP

I just found out yesterday that my beautiful 13 y/o daughter is and has been self harming for the last 4 months! Shocked, devastated, blame, confused, why? are feelings that im experiencing atm.

She is the middle child of 3 daughters 16, 13 (her) and 11, we have a loving family, both parents , kids argue and get on each others nerves, but what siblings dont? i just cant believe what i saw and cant get my head around it.


I have taken her to the mental health team today, and they have confirmed that indeed she is in peril, where we go from hear i dont know but i really need some help from parents in a similar situation!!!

Re: 13 year old daughter is self harming.... HELP

HI worried mum and welcome to the forums
first of all it sounds like you are being a great mum because you worry about her and you are showing you really care for your daughter by seeking help both through this website and a mental health team . 


many people self harm for many reasons, some people do it for a stress relief and this stress coping needs to be replaced by a skill works better then self harm


you might want to read these articles on self harm



your daughter may not want to talk to her mum, and this is not a reflection on you as a mother. Perhaps you could invite your daughter onto these forums or you could invite her to call the kids help line on 1800 55 1800 where she can talk through her problems to a trained professional. 


keep us posted and keep on being a great mum 



Re: 13 year old daughter is self harming.... HELP

Hi there, as an 18-year-old girl who used to self harm a couple of years back, I just wanted to assure you that this is no reflection on you as a parent. There are a lot of reasons why someone might self harm, and sometimes the cause behind it isn't immediately obvious. JJR has given you some great links to look at, so I just wanted to encourage you to keep being supportive and make sure she continues to get professional help.

Re: 13 year old daughter is self harming.... HELP

Hi worriedmum, welcome to Reach Out.


You obviously love your daughter a great deal and it was so courageous of you to come here and share your story. It must be terrifying to see her self-harm and not know how you can help. I want to echo what others have said and add that during my own experience with self-harm I actively hid the evidence of my activity from my mum because I knew it would devastate her. Please don't feel bad about not realising sooner, it's likely that if your daughter wanted you to know she would have told/shown you.


Reach Out is aimed at young Australians aged 14-25 so there may not be too many parents checking in, but Kid's Helpline offer a specific phone line just for parents to counsel and support loved ones. You can find the number for your state or territory by clicking here.


Please remember to take care of yourself through this difficult time.

Re: 13 year old daughter is self harming.... HELP

Hey worried mum,


Welcome to the forums. I imagine this is a really terrifying and unsure time for you, but to me it sounds like you're a wonderful, caring and dedicated mum who is doing everything they can to help their daughter - so try to remember that. As a young girl who self harmed for a large part of my life (I'm now 23), I can relate to graphical saying that self harm doesn't necessarily have any reflection on your parenting. There are hundreds of reasons why young people self harm. I also want to assure you that just because your daughter is self harming now doesn't mean that this will last forever - she can definitely recover from this.


You've absolutely done the right thing by reaching out for help - both in contacting the mental health team and on the forums here. Did the mental health team organise any follow up for your daughter? Your local health service should have a child and adolescent team who deal with young people all the time, and who have counsellors who are equipped to work with both your daughter and your family to get you guys through this as easily and quickly as possible. If they haven't organised any follow up appointments, it's definitely worth giving them a call and seeing what is available in terms of more support for your daughter and yourself.


The Kids Helpline line for parents that ElleBelle mentioned is a great resource for things like this - they're definitely worth talking to as well. Also - does your daughters school have a school counsellor? They can be a fantastic resource - I know when I was struggling through high school I found my school counsellor invaluable, as did my parents who would often deal with her. 


Hang in there - remember that this doesn't change who your daughter is - she's still the same person. She's obviously having a hard time and is struggling with how to cope with that, and is probably just doing the best that she can. If she's able to talk to you about what is happening for her, that's fantastic - but if she's not, that's okay too. Making sure that she has someone who she can talk to is important though - whether that's a favourite teacher, school counsellor, the mental health team, whoever - just so long as someone is there to hear what she has to say. 


Remember to look after yourself as well. Take care Smiley Happy

Re: 13 year old daughter is self harming.... HELP


What's already been said is pretty spot on.
Your daughter can recover from this, you have already started doing the right thing, and this doesn't automatically mean that you've failed as a parent.

I don't really have any experience here - I never self-harmed, and I've never lived with someone who did. I think that one of the things you really have to think about is how you're approaching all of this with her.
I think it's really important that she doesn't feel like you're mad at her or ashamed at her.
You're already showing her that you're taking this seriously and that's really good, you should keep that up.
Letting her know how important she is by what you do rather than just what you say, could make a big difference. If she is able to speak to you - about anything not just this tough stuff, make sure you give her your attention. If there's anything which is suggested by her or anyone she is speaking to about ways you could help, don't complain in the slightest about them just do them the best you can so she's more likely to be able to tell you what she needs without fear that you'll ignore it, argue or decide it's too much to ask.

I don't think you should start treating her as though she's fragile, and don't bring attention to it. I know this would be a hard time for you and you'd really like to get this stuff off your chest, but whenever my mum talked about what was going on for me mental health wise with extended family or her friends I just felt embarrassed, upset and annoyed at her.

Re: 13 year old daughter is self harming.... HELP

So so confused about what to say to her or how to be around her? I don't want to pretend it hasn't happened & ignore it or she'll think we don't care and I don't want to smother her either! Do I take everything sharp from the house? She hasn't told me much and I don't want to ask too much, she told me she wants help and that's what I'm doing.... So emotional at the moment. Shattered that my baby is in pain and I can't take it away....

Re: 13 year old daughter is self harming.... HELP

I feel like I have failed somehow as a parent... We have been very open and honest with our kids, talked about everything possible, drugs, alcohol, sex, depression, self harm, suicide, all of which their father or myself have had first hand and second hand experiences with. We have always told our kids they can talk to us, we provide them with numbers like the kids help line etc. and we keep out lines of communication open with them always... We never judge their choices and many of they're choices have been big learning curves not always positive! We have always been supportive to them. Where did we go wrong ?

Re: 13 year old daughter is self harming.... HELP

Birdeye.. I do understand what your saying. I would never be mad at her, I have told her how much she means to me and told her how important she is to our family, I have told her that I will do ANYTHING to make sure she gets the help she needs and she can talk to me any time of the day or night! This is the problem though, she says she doesn't want to talk EVER and every time I do try and talk to her she shuts down. She says she's ashamed and embarrassed and I know all her secrets now so there's nothing left to say! She also said she has no idea why she self-harms she says there's no reason why and she doesn't understand herself? All I know is that my heart is breaking for my girl...

Re: 13 year old daughter is self harming.... HELP

Hi worried mum,

I can only imagine how shattered and helpless you would feel about learning something such as this. I want to assure you that you did not go wrong anywhere. It most likely doesn't have anything to do with what you did or didn't do. Unless she has spoken to you about how and why she is feeling the way she is feeling it can be difficult to take a step back and look at it from an observational stand point.

Is she social? Maybe she's having problems at school with friends, or talking to people in general. Maybe she's a perfectionist and can't live up to her standards. Maybe she's being bullied. Maybe she has seriously low self esteem. Maybe she's lost and confused about this thing called life and feels it's pointless.

Can you see how difficult it is to say why and how this could happen. The reality is that it is happening...and you can support her in the best way you know how. You said that she wants help and you took her to a mental health facility. Maybe you can ask her how she felt about going and if she will think it will help? Maybe group type therapy might work. Be supportive and take an interest in how her treatment is going and maybe what's been suggested. But don't ask specifics of what's wrong. If she wants to share something with you she will.

Don't know if this is helpful at all. But might make you see it from an alternate perspective.