It’s hard to be a parent. I think more so now than ever (although I bet every generation has felt that way). Social media has put a lot of pressure on us to have it all together. We post our cute pictures, we share our family’s accomplishments, and we try to find creative ways to share the news. It can make it appear that everything is going great. It can make it seem as though others have it all. It can make you think that something must be wrong with your family because you can’t say all those things about your kids.
Here are some things to tell yourself when you feel that way:
1. People are not (or shouldn’t be) putting their “dirty laundry” on social media so you’re not seeing everything!
2. Lots of people are not responsible with their money. Many Americans live their lives on credit (I used to). So they may seem like they have everything but they probably they don’t really own all of it. Think about this they could be paying for that amazing vacation for the next ten years!
3. You have positive things going on in your family, the bad just might be making it hard to see. For example, maybe you kid never earns anything higher than a C but is an amazing artist. Why not post a picture of something she created? Or maybe your kid is awesome with computers, did something kind, or is able to get up every morning and get ready for school with no problems. These are all brag-worthy on social media.
4. Don’t use social media if it makes you negative towards yourself and your family. It is not vital to life (as much as it seems to be).
This all applies to your kids too!!!
Cutting, burning, mutilation.
Self-injury is scary. It’s scary for parents, teachers, siblings, therapists (yep us too), and the self-injurer. I’ve been working with adolescents and teens for over 13 years. Unfortunately, I’ve worked with many who self-injure. A few boys, but mostly girls.
What is self-injury?
Mayo Clinic defines it as “the act of deliberately harming the surface of your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself.” Self-injury is not usually a suicide attempt. I have worked with kids that self-harm and have had suicide attempts. These are very different acts. Self-injury is the person’s way of coping, an unhealthy way but a way to cope nonetheless.
Maybe you talk it out or journal when upset (healthy coping skills) or maybe you drink or overeat (unhealthy coping skills). For a person who self-injures, the act of self-harm is how they manage feelings.
If you find out someone you care about is self-injuring, what should you do? First, the person needs to be evaluated by a professional to make sure it is not suicidal in nature. In the area I live, Behavioral Health Response 314-469-6644 or www.bhrstl.org can come to you home for an evaluation. It’s a great resource.
Secondly (or really in conjunction with the first step), don’t panic, don’t shame, and don’t blame. The person is in need of help and support. Let her know you care and are concerned. Let her know that what she is doing can really hurt her and that you want to support her obtaining help.
Thirdly, do some research and find some support for you (if you are really close to the person). As I said before, this is scary. It is scary to see marks, scars, blood, etc on a person and then to find out that the injuries are self-inflicted, causes stress for many. NAMI.org is a great resource for both information and local support. Also, Safe Alternatives is an excellent program (it’s the model I follow with clients). Check out selfinjury.com
Lastly, know that the person can get better. It takes time and hard work but remission is possible.
JENNIFER EULBERG, MA, LPC
Welcome Jennifer, our new blogger!
Jennifer is a counselor at Sandhill who specializes in depression, self-esteem, and grief & loss. Get to know Jennifer as she shares her perspectives on life, contemplates value themes, and offers gentle encouragement.
THANK YOU to Stefanie Pisarkiewicz, LPC for her blog contributions from November 2014 - February 2019!