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The Do’s and Don’ts of managing the time your child has with you.

Not living with your child everyday can make some Dads very protective, even jealous of time with your children. While many people would think this is a normal emotion it also highlights a need to look at things differently so that your protectiveness does not effect your children or your relationship with them.

It’s not about the time you have with your child. Rather, it’s the time your child has with you.

As children get older, they take on more and more external activities such as sport, friends and school activities etc and these activities can start to get in the way of your time. The feelings your experiencing are normal. But remember they are normal growing and developments pains. Understanding this and being accepting and flexible will only benefit you and your child’s growth and development.

If you are selfishly protective of your time with your children, if you believe that they would prefer to spend time on their own personal activities or with their friends rather than you, or if you complain and whinge, and think that their mother promotes this over spending time with you then you are gravely mistaken. Making your kids feel guilty about not spending their “allocated” time with you will only distance yourself from them and never achieve a normal relationship with your kids.

The best thing you can do is to show everyone including your children that their best interests are your top priority by displaying flexibility, understanding and maturity. You will gain major points with your kids if you approach it in this way.

DO’s

  • Support and encourage your child’s healthy activities.
  • Provide financial, emotional and moral support.
  • Always offer transportation and logistical support even if its not on your time or if its not the activity you would have chosen.
  • Promote practise time of all activities when they are with you.
  • Let your child go to sleep-overs or visit their friends even when its on your time.
  • Promote your child to have friends sleep-over at your place, this will help keep the normalicy around your home.
  • Get involved if possible with their sport and be a volunteer at the club.

Don’ts

  • Deny your child good things to get involved in such as healthy activities, promote these activities always.
  • Be upset that these activities get in the way of your time with them. Instead where possible get involved in their activities (in a non intrusive manner).
  • Ask your ex for “make-up” time for the time you have missed because of these other activities. Being a Dad and sacrificing time is normal and it is a growing experience for you as well as them.
  • Make your child feel guilty or sad “EVER” for the time that they miss with you. Your child’s healthy active activity is far better than being forced to stay at home.

If you do this right, I can’t stress how much this will benefit you. It will assist in your Children’s adjustment and development, they’ll have a positive attitude towards you, request more time with you, and your relationship with them will be more normal.

Share your experiences as a separated parent and be part of the conversation, it can benefit many dads going through separation.

Note: Some phrases and points I have used from a good read called: Wednesday Evenings and Every other Weekend.

Activities for all age groups

Hey Dads, whether you have a 5 year old or teenagers living with you, I thought it might be helpful sharing different types of activities the kids can do during Covid-19 lock-down or simply over school holidays.

  1. Toddlers: Allocate jobs, if you have a “smart” TV, jump on youtube and search for kids dancing lessons, there are plenty of use educational videos to keep them entertained and active when indoors by having jumping, skipping or dancing sessions – it will tire them out and give you a bit of a workout too;
  2. 4-6 year olds: Making dens and forts, colouring in/creating worlds for their toys, help with meals, small job around the house (chores), read books, making arts & crafts and leggo!
  3. 7-9 year olds: Set treasure hunts, get crafty, reading books, pocket money chores around the house.
  4. 10-12 years olds: Arts and craft activities, learn how to cook, set educational challenges, colouring in, Pocket money chores around the house, watch educational TV or YouTube and set study tasks for the kids to create as book or summary of what they have just learnt.
  5. Teenagers: Allocate jobs (either paid or paid) i.e. cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, their room, wash the cars, bake a cake or some treats , suggest projects, order some adult colouring books or free pages online, make plans – possible career choices, future holidays and design a dream board with all their thoughts and ideas.

If you and your children are proud of what they’ve accomplishing, send me a picture of what they’ve done and I promote it in a future post. Happy time off everyone and don’t forget t be patient and nice with everyone.

How to recognize and prevent domestic violence happening in your family

All reports are telling us that one of the impacts of COVID-19 because of the population needing to stay at home is causing an increase in Domestic Violence. Firstly: If you feel unsafe or are concerned for someone’s safety please call 000 or one of the Domestic Violence Support services below.

These are exceptional circumstances and it does not excuse aggressive behavior or any type of behavior that could constitute domestic violence.

Are you working from home and feel like you’re trapped and don’t have any relief or time to yourself? You’re easily annoyed at your partner &/or kids?
Remember no-one signed up for your BS! Take accountability and go for a regular walk to get some air, exercise and if you need some space.

During these times there are many professional services you can talk to, like: Online counsellors, 24/7 phone support and even chat services. Google them and connect to a service now! If you a man, a good initial support service to approach would be men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491 and if your a women a good initial support service to approach would be 1800 Respect National Helpline: 1800 737 732

You might even have lost your job and feeling sad and lost, these feelings are normal, remember you are human. If you don’t know how you’re going to pay the bills like rent, the mortgage, school fees or food. The best thing you can do is act quickly. Sign up to a MyGov account and register for Centerlink. Talk to your rental agents, your bank and the school they will all be very supportive during these times.

Emergency relief organisations provide immediate financial and/or material support to people in financial crisis. The type of assistance offered by each organisation varies, so log onto the Department of Social Services Emergency Relief website and find the support service closest to you.

Its especially time to be kind, supportive and tolerant of each other but it is very important to recognize the signs of domestic violence.

This is what typically a cycle of Domestic Violence looks like:

  1. Stand-over phase (intimidation)
  2. EXPLOSION
  3. Remorse Phase (Justification)
  4. Pursuit Phase (Promises)
  5. Honeymoon Phase (Behaves like the perfect partner)
  6. Build-up Phase (Increasing tension again)

Domestic Violence is not just hitting, other categories are:

  • Social
    • Isolating family or friends
    • Jealousy, accusing of affairs
    • Controlling appearance
    • Needing total attention
    • Smashing or removing mobile
    • Monitoring phone calls, internet or messages
    • Preventing social or employment opportunities
    • Denigrating family or friends
  • PHYSICAL
    • Murder
    • Strangling or suffocating
    • Throwing objects
    • Punching, hitting, slapping
    • Reckless driving
    • Use of weapons
    • Hair pulling, spitting
    • Locked Inside or Outside
    • Damage to possessions
    • Cruelty to pets
    • Forced substance abuse
    • Withholding access to medical help
    • Over or under medicate
    • Trivialization of medical conditions
    • Taunting someone in a vulnerable state
  • VERBAL
    • Insults and put-downs
    • Silent treatment
    • Name calling
    • Sarcasm
    • Fault finding
    • Lies
    • Public Humiliation
    • Threats
    • Dominating conversation
    • Yelling, shouting
    • Whispering
    • Being indiscreet
    • Always correcting
  • STALKING
    • Excessive phone calls or text messages, emails or letters
    • Driving past work or house
    • Reading or taking mail
    • Turning up at places where victim frequents
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL/EMOTIONAL
    • Threat to suicide
    • Emotional blackmail
    • Self -esteem erosion
    • Criticizing appearance or body shape
    • Undermining character
    • scaring
    • Implying mental illness
    • Spreading rumors
    • Private humiliation
    • Denying education
    • Jekyll and Hyde mood
    • Minimizing or dismissing feelings
    • Mind games
  • SEXUAL
    • Rape
    • Rationing or denial of sex
    • Sex on their conditions
    • Denying choice of contraception
    • Beliefs and practices around female circumcision
    • Enforcing sexual practices they are not comfortable with
    • Pornography
    • Sex in-front of children
    • Bestiality
    • Forced abortion
    • Risky behavior
  • FINANCIAL
    • Total control of finances
    • Restricting earning
    • Rationing or placing conditions on money
    • Drinking, gambling
    • Control of shopping expenditure
    • Concealing assets
    • Unable to buy new clothes
    • Forcing to take out loans on credit cards
  • SPIRITUAL
    • Denying choices
    • Demanding you take on their beliefs
    • Using beliefs to justify behavior
    • Not allowing negotiation in children’s spiritual education

Let’s not forget the effects to children who are living in the home of domestic violence.

There are many effects that have been documented of emotional and behavioural problems in children exposed to domestic violence, these include:

  1. Low Self Esteem
  2. Poor conflict resolutions
  3. Repressed feelings of anger, fear, guilt and confusion
  4. Adjustment problems, fewer interests, fewer social activities
  5. Unwillingness to invite friends home
  6. Increased levels of anxiety
  7. Clinginess
  8. Adolescent boys abusing girls
  9. Excessive cruelty to animals
  10. Stress-related physical ailments, headaches, stomach aches, ulcers, bed-wetting
  11. Eating problems – decreased or increased apitite
  12. Sleeping problems including nightmares
  13. Hair pulling, nail biting
  14. Fear of making mistakes
  15. Fear of being touches
  16. Aggression, temper tantrums
  17. Increased internalized problems, such as depression, withdrawal, isolation, loneliness
  18. Decreased cognitive abilities
  19. Poor school performance, difficult to do homework or study
  20. Restlessness
  21. Decreased empathy
  22. Suicidal thoughts
  23. Lower rating in social competence (especially in boys)
  24. Inability to form stable adult relationships
  25. Higher risks of alcohol – drug abuse and juvenile delinquency

There is every reason in the world to get yourself help and stop domestic violent behaviour, seek out help immediately. Don’t fool yourself, every negative action erodes both your partner, children, family relationships and your quality of life.

Family and domestic violence support services:

  1. 1800 Respect National Helpline: 1800 737 732
  2. Women’s Crisis Line (NSW): 1800 811 811
  3. Safe Steps Crisis Line (Vic): 1800 015 188
  4. Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491
  5. Lifeline (24-hour Crisis Line): 131 114
  6. Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277

Making practical parenting arrangements

Dads Online speak with family lawyer, Daniel Dalli of Aston Legal about how it is important to make an assessment of how practical parenting arrangements are going to be moving forward.
These series of podcasts focusing on separation and divorce can equip you, in making better decisions about your family matters.

Dads, we hope that you find this podcast informative. Remember if are feeling overwhelmed with sadness or grief, or need someone to talk to, there are organisations that can help.
Call Mensline (www.mensline.org.au) on 1300 789 978 or Lifeline (www.lifeline.org.au) on 13 11 14.

If you need family law assistance from a lawyer, feel free to contact Daniel Dalli, Partner of Aston Legal Group (www.astonlegalgroup.com.au) on either 0423 729 686 or email at daniel@astonlegalgroup.com.au. You don’t need to go through this alone. Best wishes and don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast.

The content of this podcast is intended to provide a general overview of the subject matter and is not be relied upon as giving legal advice. Advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

When they are with you they’re yours

Yep you’re in-charge of everything when your kids are with you.
It makes zero difference how many rules their mum has, your running the things now, so own it!

Obviously some degree of common sense is desirable between the two homes. You are free to set up your home exactly how you want to. If you like how their mum has set hers up, copy the good ideas.
If your’e not confident in knowing how to set up a home, don’t rely on their mum to show you, seriously work it out yourself.

If she offers, politely say, no thanks I’m good 🙂 and jump onto Google and YouTube, all our questions are answered there. You’ll be surprised how easy it can be and how logical and best of all you’ll a great sense of accomplishment! Putting a home together with your children in mind can be googled by using keywords and phrases like: setting up a girls bedroom or how to decorate a child’s room or how to make your home child friendly or teenage bedroom ideas…have a go.

Don’t worry if you have a completely different set up to their mums home, it will teach your children life skills around adapting to change. Kids know that there are different rules in different places. Every day they are adapting to change when going to school, over to Poppies house, going to football training. Don’t let the change concern you because they’re good at it and its not a biggy.

Some of the things I would consider around aligning your house rules with mums purely for the sake of looking after your kids. for example: If their mum doesn’t want toy guns in the house and it sets her off when they play war games or violence games online, then its best to not allow this too in yours. If you allow this in your house you could be making it hard on them when they return to their mums and we don’t want to do that, it’s not fair on them.

You are not obligated to abide by the kids mum’s wishes when they’re with you, you are free to care for them the best way you know how and i bet its perfect. Some Mum’s will try and tell you what to do and how to look after them, you don’t have to agree or give what she says any credence. Your job is to look after you children and do what is in the best interest for them.

If she argues with you about not doing as she likes, you just have to deal with it as that is also part of being divorce. She’ll get used to you carving out your own path of parenting once she see that your way works too.

Best of luck, I’m sure you’ll do an amazing job.

Instant gratification

A friend of Dads Online named Tony has been kind enough to send in a parenting tip that has worked wonders in his home. read his tip below…

“As a father of two teenagers and one 12 year old I’ve battled (as we all do) with the pocket money and chores conundrum. All kids love pocket money but when it comes to apportioning chores invariably it leads to ‘why did you ask me’; I did it last time; it’s not fair. Chore lists, magnet boards, spreadsheets  – you name it we’ve tried it AND FAILED.

So, what’s changed and why have my teen tech focused children started doing chores?

In this world of instant gratification weekly pocket money is gone and has been replaced with ‘who wants to’ and the corresponding reward e.g. who wants to feed the dogs – 50c, who wants to put washing out 50c, empty the bins – 50c, fold the washing $5, mow the lawns $10, vacuum upstairs $5. Every parent will have their own reward structure but it needs to be given instantly . . .

No longer is there bickering – because there is a $ value associated with ‘every chore’. The 12 year old has recognised that the small 50c chores soon mount up. And everyone’s a winner – my wife now feels supported, the kids are ‘earning’ their pocket money.

I wanted to share this simply because it’s changed life in our household!

Thanks Tony, I have actually adopted your instant gratification payment for jobs in my home too. .

I have gone with

  • $5 bedroom cleaned and tidy
  • $5 bathroom cleaned and tidy that includes scrubbing the shower, toilet and basin
  • $5 washing of her clothes and hanging up and putting away
  • $5 walk the dog
  • $5 vacuum and mop the floors

If all these are done weekly that $25 (which has never happened 🙂 ) she can use to save for those shoes or new top, or go out to lunch with her friends.

Thanks for the great tip Tony, if any other Dads have an idea, click here

Match-Day – a day in the life of an under-8s soccer coach

When I was asked to coach my son’s under-8s team I had visions of implementing a sweeper system or teaching my new team the beauty of the Italian art of Catennacio. I imagined stalking the touchline like Sir Alex Ferguson, making constant calculations and changes to our formation to exploit the gaps in our opponents’ formations.

As our first training session approached I got my folders ready filled with formations and even bought a whiteboard to illustrate my managerial genius to my new team – it took five minutes of my first session to bring me down to earth and realise how out of touch with under-8s I was.

Since he was old enough to pay attention I have bombarded my son with the history of the beautiful game; I’ve gone into pain staking detail explaining the strengths of one formation over another, how the great teams in Europe have lined up throughout history and how football is an art form, not just a sport. So when I watched as 14 kids, including my son, all crowded round the ball, playing chase the ball instead of anything resembling football I was distraught! My dream of developing the next Maldini or Messi in tatters I thought that a pragmatic approach was necessary – if I could just get them playing 442, sticking to positions and attempting the odd pass then that would be a huge step forward.

Here’s the thing I didn’t appreciate – 7 year olds don’t care. They don’t care about what some boring grown up has got to say about football; in their eyes, every minute I droned on about tactics was a minute they weren’t running around having fun. I may have taught the kids to pass a football and have a bit of understanding about formations but they have taught me way more about kids, about my son and about being a Dad.

Throw a football into a group of 7 year olds and they’re all going to chase that ball – because it’s fun! They don’t care about standing at left back or covering defence, they want to run about with their mates and have a laugh. I noticed the more I brought in formations and tactics the fewer smiles I saw. I got them playing effective football and we were killing off teams five and six nil. It was after out seventh win in a row that my son gently told me that he wasn’t having that much fun at football anymore. I was shocked – “But you’re winning every game”, “yes but it’s boring” he replied. I’d already sensed it but here it was in plain language for me – the thing he loved to do more than anything else, chase a ball with his mates, had been regimented and ruined by his over zealous Dad. At the very next training session I ripped up the tactics – threw the ball into the middle of the pitch and told them to have a go at it. They loved it, that laughter and craziness that only 14 seven year olds can bring came rushing back!

Now my life as a coach is less Sir Alex Ferguson and more substitute Mum/nurse/counsellor/mediator. And I couldn’t love it more. I’ve got to know the kids and their individual personalities; I listen to their daft stories, laugh at their terrible jokes and patch them up when they fall over. I’m basically there to facilitate two hours a week of fun with their friends, offering the odd tip that gets completely ignored and keeping injuries to a minimum. As long as I can tie their laces for them, have brought drinks and snacks and don’t impede their fun then I’m doing my job as far as they’re concerned!

But here’s what I’ve learnt – while they may not care or be ready to embrace my tactical philosophies; they all respond amazingly to chats about fair play and good sportsmanship. Kids have an inherent honesty and sense of right and wrong that is refreshingly black and white; there are no grey areas with 7 year olds! Sure they make terrible decisions, get annoyed, get carried away and can’t seem to stand still for longer than 5 seconds but they are all amazing little sponges, ready to soak up whatever example they are presented with! I love seeing them grow into fair-minded, kind and honest kids and if 1% of that is down to me then that’s a feeling that no unbeaten run could top!

 

Can next year be better than the last

Yes of course it can! If you want something bad enough then the only thing standing in its way is you.

That’s why its important to write out our goals for the new year. Writing them down goes beyond just thinking about what you’d like to achieve. It alters the emotional meaning behind all of your activities and forms a stronger connection back to the outcome, making it more likely you’ll achieve it.

When you’re writing down you goals you want to achieve, think about Why, By when and What will it mean for you, and write them under your goal.

If it means a lot to you then set an action plan on what you need to do to get their and then keep it top of mind. Put it on the fridge, in your diary, in your wallet and watch yourself move closer.

If your year has been average or let’s us been real maybe “crap” then you should be feeling quiet happy. Because the past does not equal the future. It doesn’t, seriously you can work your way out of financial hardship, find a better job, work on your relationships and you’ll be amazed at how quick it works. Its all about working towards your goals and being committed towards a plan that you really want.

Have a great year, write down your goals and get committed.

Have you and your partner discussed what having kids really means

Relationships start out exactly how we like them, we’re smitten and crazy about each other. It very sensual and physical. Its fun and exciting, everything is new and you feel like your connection is cohesive enough to be able to handle anything that the world throws at you.

Planned or unplanned, having kids can dissolve that cohesive glue you both thought was impenetrable, why? Because you went into having children unprepared or failed to discuss the things that can trip you up. It’s challenging, demanding, thankless, tiring and lasts for the first 10-12 years before you get reprieve.

I recently spoke to a man who was expecting his first baby with his partner. I asked him have you discussed how you will help each other and handle the tough times when they come? He said, Nah! its not something we discuss, things are ok and we will just deal with what ever happens…eeeek! I think this is common, sadly.

The things that can be important to know & talk through (but not limited too, if you can think of more, discuss)

  • Pregnancy is a long time and can be messy
  • You may not automatically love your child day 1
  • A diminished social life can make life feel boring
  • Loss of freedom and also loss of time together can feel like a disconnect
  • When sleep becomes more important than sex, is the norm
  • Disagreeing on  how to raise your child, remember there is more than one way
  • Weekend sleep-ins was your previous life
  • Work is relatively easy compared to raising a baby, how can you lighten your partners load
  • Life changes and so do you and your partner
  • Hobbies and sports need to take a back seat for quiet a while
  • You are no longer “Joe” the carefree guy, you are “Joe” with responsibilities
  • Your own routine now becomes your babies routine
  • Expect both you and your partner to have ups and down feelings of happiness
  • You baby/child needs things NOW, there is no more of …”I’ll do it later”
  • Your stress levels increase and you feel edgy often
  • Your money is now all accounted for and you need to save for emergencies
  • Your friends look at your differently now, you have 1 or 2 beers not 10 anymore
  • If baby is crying all night, it might be easier to have the baby sleep in your bed so you all can sleep
  • Babies poo is smelling and messy and someone has to change it often
  • Sometimes babies cry for long periods for know reason
  • There are some mothers who refuse to even leave their baby with a safe family member so you can go out and have a break, how would you cope with that
  • Learn to cook and make lots of meals to freeze, sometimes it is just easier
  • Facebook life is BS, raising kids is hard work and you both need to work as a team
  • Keep an eye out if either of you need help, don’t be afraid to ask
  • Sleep when your baby sleeps, you need it
  • It’s exhausting, make sure you both get time to rest
  • Eating together becomes a thing of the past
  • This is a 12 year commitment to work as a team, after that it becomes easier and you should have mutual respect for the road traveled together
  • What if you feel like nothing you do is good enough

With all the ups and downs its an incredible feeling to raise a child. It has enormous amounts of joy and satisfaction but its extremely important you go into it with eyes wide open. You need to look after your partner and carry equal amounts of the workload and sometimes more when she needs it. Talk about when times get tough and how you will get through those times together. Its important, it could be the difference between ending up a single Dad or at home with your family. Go the later!!

Whats been your experience? any tips?

25th November say NO to Violence against women

In 1991 in a Canadian University, a man entered and took a lecturer room hostage. He let all the men go and then killed 14 women, 2 women who survived later suicided. A disgrace on an unimaginable scale!

White Ribbon Day is to remember those women and to take the oath.

I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women.

Violence against women can take many forms, these are:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Financial Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Verbal Abuse
  • Social Abuse
  • Stalking
  • Spiritual Abuse

Abuse and domestic violence falls under the term of  “Controlling” behaviour.

Dads, we are a large group of men and a huge influence within Australia, talk about it, tell our sons and take the oath. Wear the ribbon with pride and lets make a positive difference in the word.

For more information check out White Ribbon Australia

What you say before your child walks out the door could save a life

We have all been there, our child (son or daughter) walks out to go off to a party or a club and we say ” have a good time” or “don’t do anything I wouldn’t do” or “take care” or “be careful”.

That’s it? I really do feel we need to spell out what exactly that means, to keep our children and their friends safe.

What we should say – to sons:

  • Make sure you protect girls that are with you and don’t allow anyone to bully them or take advantage of them
  • Make sure you treat all girls with respect and never go along with anything that you know is wrong
  • When you are out drinking with friends and you see a girl that is drunk or vulnerable, you be responsible and ensure she is safe and no
    one touches her in an indecent way. If they do, gather your friends (for support) and say something to make it stop and take her to safety
  • Don’t be frightened to say NO, if you feel whats happening is wrong!
  • Don’t take indecent photos of friends
  • Call 000 if you feel someone needs more help than what you can give.
  • Call me anytime night or day and I will come and pick you and your friends up

What we should say – to daughters:

  • Make sure you stick together and look out for each other
  • Do not allow boys to speak to you or your girlfriends with disrespectful language
  • It perfectly ok to say NO!
  • Don’t leave a girlfriend behind with a group of boys, everyone leaves together
  • Choose boys who you know and trust to get you home safely
  • Never leave your drink unattended when you go to the bathroom, get a good friend to mind it or take it with you
  • If you see a girl that is getting drunk make sure she has friends around her if not, tell her friends
  • Don’t take indecent photos of friends
  • Call me anytime night or day and I will come and pick you and your friends up
  • Call 000 if you feel someone needs more help than what you can give

If your kids walk out and you have had a discussion around safety for them and their friends, they are far better off and safer for it.

What every parent with a child who self injures needs to read

First a little about the author:

Garry King has extensive experience with working with young people encountering the issues of self harm and suicidal behaviour. This experience is the result of having worked as a teacher, youth worker and counsellor and complimented by degrees in welfare and education as well as masters degrees in counselling and suicidology. Garry has previously worked as the youth welfare consultant for the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention. He was appointed an adjunct lecturer, youth welfare at the Central Qld University and is the recipient of a Churchill Fellowship to the USA.

Garry has written a number of journal articles and books on youth welfare as well as being a speaker at national conferences. He is a peer reviewer for the International Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention. Garry is an invited author for the 2015 School Social Work USA. Garry presented at the 2016 International Society for the Study of Self Injury Conference in the USA.

If you have opened this page you are either curious, interested, have a child you are worried about that might be self injuring or your know someone who has a child that could be self injuring and you want helpful information? This type of behaviour is terrifying for families and Garry’s book will assist you with practical advice, hope, and the best research available on how to stop this behaviour.

First lets define NSSI “Non Suicidal Self Injury” – The International Society for the Study of Self Injury say’s: the deliberate, self-inflicted destruction of body tissue without suicidal intent an for purposes not socially sanctioned. It’s where a person purposely cuts, burns or inflicts damage to the body to achieve an outcome that is not socially acceptable.

Most research indicates a figure of 10% to 20% of young people having self injured at some stage. When broken down over a lifetime it equates to 11.1% females and 5.1% males have self injured at some stage.

There is an argument that the male statistics maybe under reported due to the fact ,males are more reluctant to seek help.

There are many and varied reasons why a young person may self injure. The most common reason is that they may become overwhelmed with painful emotions and are not able to manage this (self regulate). Findings do support that it is a coping strategy  because self injury allows them, for a short time, to feel in control again.

There are young people that are more at risk than others which can be understood by reading Garry’s book.

Because NSSI is often secretive and every parent hopes that their child doesn’t become involved it means, that at times, it can go undetected.

Things to look out for that could be a sign that your child is self injuring are:

  • Frequent injuries with suspicious explanations
  • unexplained bandages
  • Inappropriate clothing – jumpers in summer i.e hoodies
  • Excessive bangles, wristbands
  • low emotion regulation (they get upset very quickly and have trouble calming down)
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection (overreacting to negative situations)
  • Self defeating (gives up easy, wont try new tasks)
  • Relationship problems
  • Avoiding Sports (where they may have to change clothing in front of others)
  • Discovery of implements, broken razors, blades of pencil sharpeners
  • Blood on clothing, towels or tissues
  • Itchy under clothing (wounds healing)
  • Withdrawing from activities they previously enjoyed and isolating themselves

Finding out that your child is self injuring is a confusing time, you will be thinking “why, what can I do, why don’t they talk to me, who can help”? All very valid thoughts. If it is happening…

  • Stay & appear calm, even if you’re not. Get medical help if needed.
  • Get mental health support, if you are unsure how, speak to you doctor about this and they will guide you.
  • Have first aid supplies on hand
  • Encourage the young person to seek help when the urge increases
  • Utilize the strategies that their counselor or therapist has taught
  • Teach social skills, problem solving, discussion making, conflict resolution, team work, communication skills etc.
  • Harm minimization, remove objects where possible. Speak to your counsellor or therapist about how to go about this
  • Be there for your child

If your child starts to self injure, its very important that you seek out professional help and link up the services that can assist.

There is help available for your child, Garry’s book is only $15 (inc postage) and it is written in everyday language and offers well researched advice. click here to order your copy

If you feel overwhelmed and need to talk please call: