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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5763
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My 12 yr old daughter has been cutting herself. The other

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My 12 yr old daughter has been cutting herself. The other night she sent an instant message to someone saying she was suicidal, trying to kill herself with blood all over the place. The person showed up at our house only to find all of us in bed sleeping, my daughter included. I looked through her phone and found other instant messages where she is claiming to be suicidal and/or anorexic. She told one friend she hadn't eaten for days, when in fact she is eating like a horse and gaining weight accordingly. She seems happy and well adjusted on the surface... why is she doing this???
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your daughter might be using attention seeking behavior to get people to respond to her. Saying things that are dramatic and life threatening is an easy way to not only get everyone's attention, but to get it quickly.

There could be a few possibilities as to why your daughter is acting out like this. One, she is almost a teen. Teens often see things very dramatically and want attention because of hormones and the need to be focused on like they were when they were little. They are essentially caught between adulthood and childhood. Their brains have not yet developed enough to make good judgment calls either. So the need for attention may not be dealt with in an mature way but instead as how a younger child might seek attention.

Another reason could be that your daughter has an issue she is not sharing with you. She could feel lonely or there could be an issue at school she is not sharing. Whatever it might be, she may feel the need for attention but not know how to go about getting it. So she acts out.

Lastly, it could be that your daughter is experiencing symptoms of a personality disorder. Some personality disorders exhibit symptoms including attention getting behaviors.

To address this, you can do two things. One, talk to your daughter directly about why she is doing these things. Be gentle but firm with her. Let her know how serious her claims are and what they consequences might be. And ask her what she needs in order to deal what she feels. It might help her to come to you when she feels the need to text a friend or tell someone she is suicidal (even knowing she is not). She can also journal her feelings. Find ways she feels she can express these feelings instead of telling others false information about herself.

You may also want to take her for a mental health evaluation, or if she is in treatment with a psychiatrist or therapist with the Bipolar diagnosis, bring this issue up with them. She may need re evaluated to see why she is acting out this way and what can be done to help her find other ways to cope.

This resource may help you as well:

I hope this has helped you,
TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
I hope my answer was helpful to you. If you have any more questions, please let me know.


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