The media is reporting that Paris Jackson cut herself and made a suicide attempt last night. Cutting is a hot topic. Are you a parent who has experienced this? Have you been tormented wondering why in the world your child would want to hurt themselves? What do those suspicious cuts or burn marks on their arms mean? Why do they keep punching things, injuring their hands? What is this really about?
Did it throw you into a panic? It did me. I had never heard of cutting before (also called self-injury or self-mutilation) and had no idea what it meant, much less what to do to help my daughter. Today’s headlines stated that Paris cut herself with a meat clever and may have taken a handful of over the counter pain pills after having an argument with her family. The family said, “No, you can’t go to the Marilyn Manson concert.” She flew into a rage, ran into her bedroom, slammed the door and the rest is history. Sound familiar? It does to me. I’ve been there – and it’s an awful place to be. So frightening and alarming. Words fail to describe the experience.
My heart goes out to Paris and her family. Cutting is becoming more and more common today but is still very scary for parents. Did you know the late Princess Diana was a cutter? Reasons behind why people hurt themselves are profoundly complex and largely misunderstood. The link below is to an excellent article that helps parents understand. If I could sit down with Paris’ family members I would share it with them along with these things:
1. Learn all you can about self-injury. Ignorance only causes more fear and reactions that aren’t helpful. For example, it’s impossible to hide every sharp object in your home.
2. Join a support group for the encouragement and comfort of knowing you are not alone.
3. Be available to listen without judgement – encourage her to talk and be open with her feelings; let her know you care, even when you have to say “No”.
4. Find a way to connect with her heart – do things with her she enjoys (even if you don’t); spend time together having fun – teens open up much more easily when engaged in an enjoyable activity.
5. Seek professional help – counseling and sometimes residential treatment is needed; parents tend to drag their feet to pursue this, not wanting to admit something is wrong with their child.
6. Hold on to Hope – it may be a long journey, inner healing may be slow to come, but there is plenty of help for Paris and the thousands who suffer just like she is.
Hope = Hold On Pain Ends!
Books – Cut and Beyond Cut by Nancy Alcorn, founder of Mercy Ministries
A more in depth book – A Bright Red Scream by Marilee Strong
SAFE (Self-Abuse Finally Ends) Residential programs for teens and adults. Website has many resources, including articles, webinars and blogs .
SAFE’s Toll free hotline 1-800-DONT CUT
Non-profit To Write Love on Her Arms. They exist to encouragement, inform, inspire hope and invest directly into treatment and recovery for self-injury, depression, addiction and suicide. Their Facebook page has over one million likes. It all began with my daughter, Renee’s, story.
Please join me in praying for Paris, that she will accept help and overcome these challenges. There is Hope. Healing is real. Maybe one day she can have her photo taken holding a sign like the girl above.
This Bible verse is for all self-injurers:
“He (God) heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalms 147:3)
Click on the link below to read the article: Helping Parents Understand Cutting.
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