5 Signs Your Child May Be Engaging in Self-Harm

Children, Kelsey Ragan, Teens & Adolescents, Trauma

As parents, our primary concern is the well-being of our children. It’s heartbreaking to imagine them in pain or struggling with their emotions. Unfortunately, one issue that has become increasingly prevalent among young people is self-harm.

Hi, I’m Kelsey Ragan, a therapist at Bloom Child Therapists and in this article, we’ll explore 5 signs your child may be engaging in self-harm.

1. Unexplained Injuries

It is crucial to pay attention to any signs of unexplained injuries or marks on your child’s body. In some cases, self-harming behaviors like cutting, burning, or scratching can leave visible evidence.

It is worth mentioning that these injuries might be deliberately concealed, underscoring the necessity of maintaining a high level of attentiveness and vigilance.

2. Wearing Covered Clothing All The Time


If you notice that your child has recently started wearing long sleeves and pants, even when the weather is warm, it might be an indication that they are attempting to conceal self-inflicted injuries.

This change in their clothing preferences could potentially be a red flag for underlying emotional distress or self-harm.


3. Frequent Isolation or Social Withdrawal


Self-harm can often be accompanied by intense emotions such as shame or guilt, which can have a profound impact on your child’s mental and emotional well-being. These negative feelings may cause your child to distance themselves from social activities and seek solace in solitude.

Consequently, they may choose to spend more time alone, avoiding social interactions and isolating themselves from their peers. It is important to remain vigilant and attentive to any signs of your child withdrawing from social engagements, as this could potentially indicate that they are grappling with self-harm.


4. Unexplained Blood Stains


Finding blood stains on clothing, towels, or bedding might be an indication that your child is engaging in self-harm. This is a serious issue that requires immediate attention and intervention.

It is crucial to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. Start by having an open and supportive conversation with your child, ensuring they feel safe and comfortable expressing their emotions.

Encourage them to share what they are going through and listen attentively without judgment. Validate their feelings and let them know that you are there to support them every step of the way.

Offer the necessary help, whether it is seeking professional assistance, such as therapy or counseling, or involving other trusted individuals, such as family members or close friends, in their support network.


5. Mood Swings & Emotional Instability


Self-harm is often associated with emotional distress. If your child exhibits frequent mood swings, unexplained irritability, sudden changes in behavior, or struggles with emotional regulation, it may be a sign that they are coping with their emotions through self-harming behaviors.

It’s also important to note that self-harm does not always indicate suicidal thoughts. NSSI (or “non-suicidal self-injury” ) can often be used as a means to relieve unwanted emotions, to distract from emotional pain, to feel in control, or sometimes used as a form of punishment to those who believe they deserve it.


Self-harm is a serious matter and should be addressed with empathy and understanding.

And, if you notice any of these signs or suspect your child may be engaging in self-harm, schedule an appointment with Bloom Child Therapists today. Together, we can create a safe and supportive environment where your child can overcome their challenges and flourish.