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Self-harm or deliberate self-harm includes self-injury and self-poisoning and is defined as the

intentional, direct injuring of body tissue most often done without suicidal intentions. These terms
are used in the more recent literature in an attempt to reach a more neutral terminology. The older
literature, especially that which predates the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders almost exclusively refers to self-mutilation. The term self-harm is synonymous with the
term self-injury.
Self-harm can be a way of coping with problems. It may help teenagers express feelings but cant
put into words, distract teenagers from their life, or release emotional pain. fterwards, teenagers
probably feel better!at least for a little while. "ut then the painful feelings return, and they feel
the urge to hurt themself again. If they want to stop but dont #now how, they should remember
this$ %ou deserve to feel better, and you can get there without hurting yourself.
&arents play an integral role in preventing their teens from engaging in self-harming behaviors and
from joining an unhealthy peer group, where this problem may be the glue that #eeps them
together. t home, parents can ma#e spending time together as a family a priority. &arents can put
the teen in charge of selecting and planning a wee#ly family outing. The family mood needs to be
more calm and inviting for the teen. 'hen conflicts do erupt or crises occur, family members
should wor# together as a team to solve these situations. Teenagers need to feel a sense of place in
the hearts and minds of their parents. They need to feel appreciated and #now that their parents
will be there for them unconditionally. It is the parents( responsibility to create firm boundaries
between their wor# and family lives.

)ne way to help foster more meaningful connections between parents and teens is to share family
stories. &arents should share with their #ids what their struggles and high points were in
adolescence. They can also share with their teens any important words of wisdom and stories that
their own parents shared with them when they were growing up.

Self-harming behavior can be dangerous, particularly if the youth is abusing alcohol and other
drugs. &arents need to ta#e a firm stance and set consistent limits with these behaviors. &arents
also need to model for their teens( responsible use of alcohol and healthy ways to manage stress.

It is a parent(s right to meet their teen(s friends, as well as their parents, and voice your concerns
when warranted. Should a parent discover that their teen is engaging in ris#y and dangerous
behavior such as self-harm, they should rest assured that a family therapist will be able to
s#illfully assist the family and teen with this serious issue.