How should I help this little girl?


#1

A really sweet girl from my church, Theressa, Is having some issues. She'll be 14 Dec-22 I think. One day I noticed scares on her wrists. A few weeks alter I saw her leaving the bathroom with a pocket knife. She always seemed depressed. I tried talking to her mother but I'm 18 and her moms at least 40 so she wouldn't take me seriously. I'm worried she could become suicidal or live her teen years really upset. What should I do next? Her parents won't listen and it kills to see her writs cut. She has some family problems, Her parents left each other about two years ago. I'm just sick of seeing her so upset and broken for lack of a better term.


#2

Have you talked to her? It sounds like maybe she need professional help, but maybe it would also help if you approached her and talked to her, listened to her problems, etc. She may not think that there's anyone she can talk to about what's going on. If you show interest in her situation perhaps it will help keep her from getting disconnected.

I don't know. I'm not very good at this stuff... but it seems like talking to her at least gets your foot in the door, as it were.


#3

I think you should try reaching out to her. She might need you: an older friend near the end of her teenage years, who is slightly older (been through the age she is now), but not so old that she feels weird talking to you (some kids that age are uncomfortable talking to parents or teachers about their problems at home).

You could try talking to her, and/or find a brochure for an organization that helps teens who are troubled, cutting themselves, etc. and give that to her.


#4

Jesus,our Lords peace be whit You.
I agree whit Steph,try to be her friend,listen to her,but don't push her in the corner. And this is not realy a matter for the Church,but You need to pray for her,and You could talk whit Your priest. He knows what to do,and he can talk whit the girls mother. By doing so,You wont let her down. If she get angry at You but get help,don't feel bad. You did what You could,and when she get older she will understand,You are young,and many time in Your life You will find out that doing the right thing may give You enemys,but don't worry,what matters is that You do rigth in the eyes of God,nothing else matter. Blessings,Totterman.


#5

Hi Anna,

This is a really serious situation. If you believe the girl is cutting, she needs help.

If her parents don't want to listen to a kid (you), get another adult involved.

If you go to the same school, tell the guidance counselor or a trusted teacher.

If not, I would say telling your priest might be a good idea (as he obviously knows both your and her families).

There may be some backlash from the mom, but you may also be saving the girl's life.

Good luck, you are doing the right thing by intervening. Worst case scenario -- you have misinterpreted the situation. No harm, no foul.


#6

When I have a decision lik this to make, I often consider the worst outcome of each option. So, many years ago when I faced a similar problem, I thought, on the one hand, I would look very foolish, on the other, I could be reading about this child in the paper.

I notified the proper people and altho, thank God!, there was no actual problem, the family understood why someone thought there was, *and they were very happy that someone had shown they cared. *


#7

[quote="Anna1430, post:1, topic:215033"]
A really sweet girl from my church, Theressa, Is having some issues. She'll be 14 Dec-22 I think. One day I noticed scares on her wrists. A few weeks alter I saw her leaving the bathroom with a pocket knife. She always seemed depressed. I tried talking to her mother but I'm 18 and her moms at least 40 so she wouldn't take me seriously. .

[/quote]

One thing you must consider is the fact that the mother may be fully aware of what is going on and is taking steps in an attempt to deal with it. She may not have taken you seriously because you have made a couple observations and she is dealing with it on a daily basis. Befriending the girl would help and talking to her yourself will tell you a lot more about what is going on.

We had a similar issue with our son. He has epilepsy and we've had a very hard time gaining control of his seizures, and what control we do have has come at the expense of behavior issues since most of the drugs he takes causes erratic behavior. People that don't know his situation wonder why we can't "control" his behavior and why he isn't more like his well behaved brother. When approached by "well meaning" people about this we don't always give them a detailed answer (or any real answer) as is really none of their business and our son does not like us discussing his illness with people "for no reason".


#8

[quote="SamH, post:7, topic:215033"]
One thing you must consider is the fact that the mother may be fully aware of what is going on and is taking steps in an attempt to deal with it. She may not have taken you seriously because you have made a couple observations and she is dealing with it on a daily basis. Befriending the girl would help and talking to her yourself will tell you a lot more about what is going on.

We had a similar issue with our son. He has epilepsy and we've had a very hard time gaining control of his seizures, and what control we do have has come at the expense of behavior issues since most of the drugs he takes causes erratic behavior. People that don't know his situation wonder why we can't "control" his behavior and why he isn't more like his well behaved brother. When approached by "well meaning" people about this we don't always give them a detailed answer (or any real answer) as is really none of their business and our son does not like us discussing his illness with people "for no reason".

[/quote]

Erratic behavior is not the same as suicidal behavior, which is what this might be. If it's not, it's self-harm. The OP is talking about a child who is cutting her wrists, and I think she's right to be concerned. I agree with the suggestion to get an adult involved. It might help asking if she is suicidal but she may not tell the truth and/or that may be a conversation that would get really intense. If the girl expresses intense suicidal thoughts and feelings, or self-harming ones, it may be hard for the OP to know what to say. I was intensely suicidal as a teenager/young adult and my friends cared but the situation was beyond them in terms of knowing how to help specifically.

also, from what I understand people who are suicidal often have substance-abuse problems, including alcohol and sometimes other drugs. It may be important to know if she's using something but that's not something you can evaluate on your own.

I'd suggest finding a priest or a therapist/psychiatrist to talk to.


#9

I have a totally different take on this situation. Try to befriend her for the pure sake of being her friend. For example, you could ask her what type of movies she likes and then invite her to your place to watch one. Chances are she doesn't want to talk. But she might enjoy having a friend to go out and have fun and forget about her problems for a while. After mass, perhaps suggest going for a soda or something. Talk about clothes and make up and cute guys. Give her a place she can be happy and accepted for who she is

CM


#10

Her mother might know the girl does not want attention over the issue, and just didn't handle things well with you. Even if her mother did take you seriously, this is something to share with adults who need to know. Talk to your pastor and ask him to look into it. If you know what school the girl goes to, you might also let them know.

Besides that, fun and positive experiences with other young people are good for young people who are depressed. Invite the girl to join you for youth activities at church. Notice her with pleasure and say positive things when you're around her. If she confides in you, that is fine. If she doesn't, let her have some privacy. She may be very self-conscious about her condition, such that she would be mortified to know you noticed. Rather, give her a reason to think that a pessimistic outlook doesn't describe her life.


#11

[quote="silentstar, post:8, topic:215033"]
Erratic behavior is not the same as suicidal behavior, which is what this might be. If it's not, it's self-harm. The OP is talking about a child who is cutting her wrists, and I think she's right to be concerned. I agree with the suggestion to get an adult involved. It might help asking if she is suicidal but she may not tell the truth and/or that may be a conversation that would get really intense. If the girl expresses intense suicidal thoughts and feelings, or self-harming ones, it may be hard for the OP to know what to say. .

[/quote]

The point I was making is how do you know the mother isn't dealing with the issue with the best resources available? The fact she doesn't wish to discuss with a stranger (or acquaintance) the current medical and emotional treatments that her daughter is going through to deal with possible suicidal tendencies does not mean the mother is not dealing with the situation. It simple means the OP doesn't know what is going on and the mother doesn't care to share what has to be an incredibly difficult situation.

One must tread carefully in these situations - especially when one doesn't know the full story (or even much of it). Our son did indeed display self harming tendencies (at age 8) and manic depression as part of his erratic behavior. You would be amazed a all the free advice we were given by people who had only a passing glance at his situation and totally ignorant of the complexities of treating myoclonic epilepsy but felt totally confident it telling us what we were doing wrong. As my wife told one person “If it were that easy we would have done it”, when she persisted in her instance that if we only took him off some of the medications he would be a much a happier child (not knowing that without the medications he had hundreds of seizures a day).

Nothing is more depressing to a parent then to put your heart and sole into trying to help your child and have someone casually tell you “You are doing it wrong”.


#12

[quote="SamH, post:11, topic:215033"]
The point I was making is how do you know the mother isn't dealing with the issue with the best resources available? The fact she doesn't wish to discuss with a stranger (or acquaintance) the current medical and emotional treatments that her daughter is going through to deal with possible suicidal tendencies does not mean the mother is not dealing with the situation. It simple means the OP doesn't know what is going on and the mother doesn't care to share what has to be an incredibly difficult situation.

One must tread carefully in these situations - especially when one doesn't know the full story (or even much of it). Our son did indeed display self harming tendencies (at age 8) and manic depression as part of his erratic behavior. You would be amazed a all the free advice we were given by people who had only a passing glance at his situation and totally ignorant of the complexities of treating myoclonic epilepsy but felt totally confident it telling us what we were doing wrong. As my wife told one person “If it were that easy we would have done it”, when she persisted in her instance that if we only took him off some of the medications he would be a much a happier child (not knowing that without the medications he had hundreds of seizures a day).

Nothing is more depressing to a parent then to put your heart and sole into trying to help your child and have someone casually tell you “You are doing it wrong”.

[/quote]

I didn't tell her mother she was doing something wrong. Only her daughter could be hurting herself. Her mom then said" She's fine, There's nothing wrong with her" And walked away like I offended her.


#13

[quote="Anna1430, post:12, topic:215033"]
I didn't tell her mother she was doing something wrong. Only her daughter could be hurting herself. Her mom then said" She's fine, There's nothing wrong with her" And walked away like I offended her.

[/quote]

How well do you know the mother? How well do you know the situation?

The situation could easily be: Daughter has been dealing with depression for two years and continues to get worse despite drug treatment and therapy. A few days ago the daughter cuts her wrists and spends the night in the hospital, doctors are called and medication changes are made. Mother calls daughter's therapist to make an emergancy appointment. Mother spends Friday and Saturday trying to deal with her daughter and her actions while scheduling appointments with specialist that already have full schedules. Sunday they go to church in an attempt to be "normal". Mother is stopped by stranger who asks her "Do you know if your daughter is trying to hurt herself?"

What do you think your reaction would be?

Been there and been through it.

Did you talk to the daughter?


#14

[quote="SamH, post:13, topic:215033"]
How well do you know the mother? How well do you know the situation?

The situation could easily be: Daughter has been dealing with depression for two years and continues to get worse despite drug treatment and therapy. A few days ago the daughter cuts her wrists and spends the night in the hospital, doctors are called and medication changes are made. Mother calls daughter's therapist to make an emergancy appointment. Mother spends Friday and Saturday trying to deal with her daughter and her actions while scheduling appointments with specialist that already have full schedules. Sunday they go to church in an attempt to be "normal". Mother is stopped by stranger who asks her "Do you know if your daughter is trying to hurt herself?"

What do you think your reaction would be?

Been there and been through it.

Did you talk to the daughter?

[/quote]

Well that would be tough to say the least. I've known them for at least seven years. But I have only known the step-mom for about a year.I haven't talked to Theressa because I'm not sure what to say. What should I say to her?


#15

[quote="Anna1430, post:14, topic:215033"]
Well that would be tough to say the least. I've known them for at least seven years. But I have only known the step-mom for about a year.I haven't talked to Theressa because I'm not sure what to say. What should I say to her?

[/quote]

How about "Hi, how are you doing today?" in a tone of voice that tells her that you really want to know. If she tells you something scary, affirm her situation by saying something like, wow, that sounds really scary, are you okay? :)


#16

Agreed!!!


#17

Self cutting is usually a sign of some kind of abuse that has gone on either when she was little or in the past few years.

I don't think you are equipped to deal with this on your own. Befriend her and then convince her to get help. Involve your pastor and tell him what you are planning on doing and tell him that you're wondering if he can help too.

Young girls don't mutilate their wrists over mild depression. Young girls mutilate their wrists in response to severe abusive situations. The mother got defensive b/c she's part of the problem I'm sure.

I am a survivor of childhood abuse, so I know what I'm talking about. This girl needs help. The fact that you are concerned tells me that perhaps God is on your conscience asking you to help and intervene with this young girl. Help her!

Approach her and talk to her. Ask her if she's like to go to the mall with you; or some fun hangout in your neighbourhood. Try and get her to talk to you.

God bless you for your kind heart.


#18

If you are very sure she is indeed "cutting". (maybe it's a one time thing she did because she heard about it and decided to try out this very stupid act) Kids do stupid things at times,
You could go to her school (If you know where she attends) and tell them. They have an obligation to investigate.

Child protective services may also be able to help.

This is beyond befriending this poor child,
- and beyond any help you can give her personally at this time. Usually kids who cut are very depressed and that requires medical intervention.

It is very good of you to care for this poor girl. I hope you are able to intervene in way that gets her the help she may need.


#19

[quote="m_crane, post:18, topic:215033"]
If you are very sure she is indeed "cutting". (maybe it's a one time thing she did because she heard about it and decided to try out this very stupid act) Kids do stupid things at times,
You could go to her school (If you know where she attends) and tell them. They have an obligation to investigate.

Child protective services may also be able to help.

This is beyond befriending this poor child,
- and beyond any help you can give her personally at this time. Usually kids who cut are very depressed and that requires medical intervention.

It is very good of you to care for this poor girl. I hope you are able to intervene in way that gets her the help she may need.

[/quote]

contacting her school is a great idea


#20

[quote="Serap, post:17, topic:215033"]
Self cutting is usually a sign of some kind of abuse that has gone on either when she was little or in the past few years.

I don't think you are equipped to deal with this on your own. Befriend her and then convince her to get help. Involve your pastor and tell him what you are planning on doing and tell him that you're wondering if he can help too.

Young girls don't mutilate their wrists over mild depression. Young girls mutilate their wrists in response to severe abusive situations. The mother got defensive b/c she's part of the problem I'm sure.

I am a survivor of childhood abuse, so I know what I'm talking about. This girl needs help. The fact that you are concerned tells me that perhaps God is on your conscience asking you to help and intervene with this young girl. Help her!

Approach her and talk to her. Ask her if she's like to go to the mall with you; or some fun hangout in your neighbourhood. Try and get her to talk to you.

God bless you for your kind heart.

[/quote]

Amen.

That little girl NEEDS a friend.


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