Some teenagers view their adolescent years as a carefree time to enjoy life and prepare for adulthood. However, for others, their teen years are a troubling and chaotic time, which may lead to developing self-destructive habits. One of the most dangerous habits teens often develop is cutting. In fact, it is one of the most common forms of self-harm. Of every 12 teens, one is reportedly engaged in cutting or other forms of self-harm. Girls reportedly self-harm more than boys, but boys still make up 40 percent of self-harm cases.
Signs and Symptoms of Self Harm
Many people assume that teenagers who identify as “scene kids” with colored hair, black clothing, and a love for the grotesque are the ones at risk. However, teenagers from all backgrounds are susceptible to self-harm. So, what are some of the signs that will help you objectively identify teenage boys cutting themselves?
- He may wear long-sleeved clothes or long pants even in warmer months to hide the scars.
- He may become withdrawn, not just from parents and other members of the family, but also friends he was once close with.
- He may spend more time than usual alone, locked in his bedroom or bathroom.
- You may find a razor blade in the bathroom or among his personal belongings. Unless he uses this for shaving or arts and crafts, he may be using it to cut himself.
Causes of Teen Cutting
So, why do teens cut? Most teenagers who self-harm are struggling to cope with strong, negative emotions. Because of this, teenagers who are abused, neglected or living in a dysfunctional family have a greater likelihood of engaging in self-injury. However, even boys in stable homes with supportive families can struggle to cope with other obstacles in their personal lives that may lead to self-destructive habits. Here are some of the many causes or triggers that lead to teenage boys cutting.
- Self-harm may be a symptom of larger issues like depression, anxiety, PTSD or other mental health concerns.
- Physical pain may sometimes serve as an easier-to-handle distraction from emotional distress and confusion.
- Some boys cut for the mere thrill of it, as it is a form of risk-taking behavior.
- Boys are more likely to self-harm if they are doing badly at school, are unable to attract positive attention from the opposite sex, or do not feel respected by their peers.
Lakeside Academy Treatment and Programs
Helping Teens Who Cut
At Lakeside Academy, we want our students to actualize the potential we see in them and work with them to recognize and alleviate self-destructive habits that may arise during their teenage years. With this goal in mind, we specifically include self-destructive behavior and cutting in their initial assessment in order to get them into onsite mental health care if needed. That way they can start talking and building that foundation with one of our professionals and have the option to work with someone their entire time here if needed.
The boys will live on our campus in our dorm rooms with multiple boys sharing a room. We designed the living situation this way in order to build a sense of community among the boys, and have successfully found that they do open up and share concerns with one another. However, if someone is struggling with ongoing and continual cutting, we may not be the best place for them, because the boys have access to so many different tools and objects here on campus with our interactive programs.
There are opportunities here to mitigate risk as much as possible, and we also ask the boys to make an agreement with us as well. We do welfare checks with all of our teens and pay attention to every minor red flag they may show. We want him to know that he is loved and that we will help him through his struggles until the cutting is over.
At Lakeside Academy, we understand that our students come from different walks of life and will be at different phases in their development journey. For this very reason, we are committed to pointing them in the right direction and provide the foundation for them to mature into healthy, well-adjusted adults. Please contact our admissions office with any more questions you may have about how our programs can help get your son back on a positive, successful path of life.