5 tips for supporting young people who are too hard on themselves

I’m stupid

I’m annoying

I will never be good enough

I’m fat

Nobody likes me

…are some of the self-critical comments I’d say to myself daily. 

All young people think bad things about themselves at times, but when their inner voices constantly put them down and make them feel like a failure, it can have a profound effect on their self-confidence and self-esteem.

In my teenage years, I was constantly hard on myself. It came from the social pressures of being a young person, growing up and finding my identity, from using negative self-talk as a way to protect myself from what I thought others thought of me, and from my extended family constantly comparing me to the other young people in my family. 

The problem was that I started to believe some of these critical statements.

I’m writing this blog to give parents and loved ones some support and guidance as to how you can help your own child steer away from destructive self-criticism

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5 things NOT to say to a child who self-harms

Supporting a child or teen who self-harms, will be one of the most stressful and difficult times of your life. But you have to be careful about showing your child how upset and worried you are. You see, there will be many times when they’ll trigger a strong knee-jerk reaction from you, but it’s often advisable to hide this. Your unrestrained reaction can be unhelpful, as it reveals all the strong anxieties and worries you have inside. What they actually need to see in you is a strong, stable, loving parent, that they can rely on during this tumultuous time in their life. Even if it’s just a front!

So in our experience, knowing what NOT TO SAY at times you feel triggered and upset is really important to work out in advance.  

Here are 5 things NOT to say to your self-harming child: 

#1 Please don’t do it again today

This statement can come from a place of love and wanting to protect your child. That’s totally understandable. But pressuring...

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Why do young people find it hard to stop self-harming?

self harm support Jan 27, 2022

Why do young people find it hard to stop self-harming?

 There can be many reasons why your teen is self-harming, but there is one main reason they find it so hard to stop – although deeply unhealthy, it’s the most effective coping mechanism they’ve found for the troubles in their life!

But the short-term relief they feel after self-harming, soon gives way to strong negative feelings, which in turn need to be managed. And that's why young people find themselves in an endless cycle of self-harm.

Why does your teen self-harm?

In my experience, the most common reasons for young people self-harming are:


Why is it so hard to stop?                                               

When asked, a lot of young people can't explain why they’re self-harming, but it’s commonly understood that the pain of hurting themselves is a distraction from...

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