Some parents don't realize that their teenager is self-harming until it is a well-established practice because teenagers are so good at hiding it. However, it's is never too late to get your child into a troubled teen program for teens who self-harm. While self-harm can be a terrifying thing for a parent to discover about their child, the good news is that with the right professional help and a good support system, teens who self-harm can make a full recovery and overcome the issues causing the behavior.
Signs and Symptoms of Self-Harm
Teens who self-harm generally struggle with distress, stress or depression. While cutting is the most common form of self-harm, it can also manifest as burns, pulling or plucking out hair, scratching, punctures and more. Self-harm happens when the teen is unable to deal with their emotions in a healthy way. The idea is that the physical pain helps the teenagers to dull the psychological pain they feel.
Here are a few things to watch for that may provide clues that your teen is self-harming:
- Unexplained scratches on arms and legs
- Burn marks on hands, arms, legs or torso
- Dressing in long sleeves even if not appropriate for the weather
- Discovering sharp objects hidden in the room, like razor blades or knives
- Discovering lighters or matches hidden in the room
- Increased amount of time spent alone
- Bruises or welts on head, neck, face, or arms
- Thinning hair on the head, eyebrows, eyelashes or on the arms
The act of self-harm relieves the teen's stress levels temporarily and they often continue to do the behavior whenever they feel negative emotions build up. In extreme cases, self-harm can lead to suicidal behavior if not treated early on. If discovered, there's no time to waste in getting your teen the help he or she needs.
Programs For Teens
Therapeutic boarding schools and residential treatment centers that specifically treat teens who self-harm are experts in helping teens learn better ways to deal with their emotions, both negative and positive. In a carefully controlled environment, teens follow a daily routine that includes group and individual therapy, chores, school work, recreation and meals. The predictability and security at these facilities often give teens a chance to relax and get into a pattern of behavior. The therapy helps to get to the root of the issues causing the pain, such as depression, abuse, trauma, anxiety and more.
Therapeutic boarding schools and residential treatment centers for teens are especially good at getting them to discover new ways to handle stress and problems. Above all, teens are taught that they have value and support no matter what kinds of behavior they do, including self-harm. Teens are also taught about self-discipline, setting and achieving goals and coping skills for stress that are healthy and productive. Academics are also an important part of life at a therapeutic boarding school and trained faculty ensure that each teen gets an individualized education plan so they can keep up.
Behavior Modification Programs
Many therapeutic boarding schools and residential treatment centers use behavior modification to help troubled teens work through their issues and change their behavior from dangerous and negative to positive. Most facilities use a series of responsibilities that earn teens rewards like fun outings or restrict them from such activities. Teens quickly learn that they can control themselves and become who they want to be. Successful programs for teens who self-harm are the ones where the teens make great strides toward better health and wellness while keeping up academically.
Finding the Best Programs
The best programs for troubled teens who self-harm are those that are properly licensed and accredited, and offer a combination of academic, spiritual, therapeutic and life skill programs. Because not all therapeutic boarding schools are alike, it's important for you to do your research into facilities that are proud to share their philosophies, as well as references from previous participants.
When it comes to helping your troubled teen gain control over their behavior and stop self-harming, it's a good idea to locate a therapeutic boarding school that features a program to help your teen overcome the challenges and transition toward adulthood with no regrets.