When you’re a parent, it can be overwhelming if you suspect your teen son is cutting himself. Unfortunately, it can be hard to notice when teens are inflicting self-harm. Here, we help you identify the warning signs and how to get your teen son help.

What Are the Signs of Self-Harm?

Often, teens will cut themselves secretly. This can make identifying forms of self-harm difficult, especially if you haven’t noticed changes in their moods or behavior.

If you’re worried about your teen son self-harming, first pay attention to his behavior. It’s natural for teens to be moody, but watch out for possible signs of depression or other mental health challenges. Become familiar with these signs and check in with your son on a regular basis, practicing caring and open communication.

For physical signs of self-harm, notice if your teen son is doing the following:

  • Covering up specific body parts on a regular basis or in a way that is out of the ordinary
  • During warm weather, wearing long-sleeved shirts or long pants when he’s typically worn cooler clothing in the past
  • Hiding sharp objects like razor blades in his room, backpack or other concealed spaces
  • Unexplained injuries, cuts, bruises, scratches or scars on his body

How Can I Help My Teen Son When He’s Self-Harming?

If you suspect your teen son is self-harming, there are some definite do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting him help.


  • Panic: Having a teen who’s self-harming is a distressing situation, and it’s natural to react with strong emotions. However, take a breath and think things through so you can approach the situation as calmly as possible. 
  • Accuse him: It’s important not to be confrontational or aggressive when you approach him about your concern. This could make him become more withdrawn or react with anger.


  • Openly communicate: Try to create a sense of security and safety through open communication. Show care and empathy when you ask about the cuts. Make a safe space for your son to share his thoughts and feelings.
  • Be patient: Rarely will you resolve the issue in one conversation. Know that you may need ongoing communication with your teen son to determine what he needs. Be patient when interacting with your son, as he may not open up right away.
  • Seek help: Whether he’s self-harming or is struggling with a mental health issue, research your support options. You can ask for a referral from his physician, connect with his school’s counselors or look online for resources. He may need treatment to make him safer and healthier.

You & Your Teen Son Aren’t Alone—Reach Out for Help Today

If your teen son is self-harming, Lakeside is here to help. We provide a safe and healthy environment for your child to heal, including onsite mental health care, welfare checks and interactive programming. To learn more about our treatment programs and success stories, call us today at 844-768-8336 or  send us a message.