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Children Self Harming

Self-harming is a tricky subject to talk about. The reasons for young people self-harming are complicated and varied. The numbers are hard to find, but girls are 4 times more likely to self–harm than boys. Is child self-harming on your radar?


Why Harm?

Self-harming is a coping mechanism for difficult feelings or a release of tension. The physical pain of hurting can feel like a distraction from the emotional pain. Difficult experiences or emotions can make self-harm more likely, such as:

  1. Depression, anxiety or eating problems.
  2. Low self-esteem.
  3. Being bullied.
  4. Physical or sexual abuse.
  5. Problems with family relationships.
  6. Lack of control.

Signs to look out for  

It can be hard to recognise, but look out for:

  • Covering up, by wearing long sleeves.
  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns or bite-marks.
  • Blood stains on clothing or tissues with blood.
  • Becoming withdrawn.
  • Avoiding friends and family.
  • Feeling down or low self-esteem.
  • Outbursts of anger, or risky behaviour.

Quick solutions 

Give reassurance without judging. Speak to a GP, as they can discuss concerns and show the support options. Other ways include helping the child to:

  • Draw, paint, or sketch out thoughts and feelings.
  • Listen to upbeat and/or happy music.
  • Write out thoughts or feelings in a journal.
  • Write down a list of strengths or talents.
  • Wear an elastic band round the wrist and ping it against the skin
  • Take up a new hobby or interest.
  • Create a list with a close friend of positive things.
  • Write down negative feelings, then rip up the paper.
  • Carry a safe object such as a precious stone or stress ball.
  • Create a distraction box containing a list of the good things

A child may find it difficult to talk about self-harm. Try to locate the reason for self-harm, as it is often a symptom of something else. Dealing with that pressure point can help to reduce the bad feelings. Monitor the situation, but don’t overdo it, as being over watched may increase their feelings of anxiety and guilt.

ChildMax continues to ensure your salary and pays your take home salary while you’re on 12 months’ unpaid leave, caring for a sick child. It starts from £49.50 or for easy budgeting an initial payment of £8.25 followed by 11 monthly payments of £3.75.

Visit at or call the UK call centre 0333 323 0098 for more information.

Important: speak to your GP or other medical expert, if you are concerned about possible self-harm.


Date: 23 January 2023 by Max Robinson