Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Notes From The Education Underground: Teenage Students Cutting Themselves

Today's "Anderson Cooper 360" featured a profile of a problem that has been well-known within the Education Community. The concern is that numerous middle/high school age children "self-cut" their bodies as a strategy for coping with the stresses of adolescence. Most victims have (or are experiencing) some type of depression.

The children most prone to this behavior are white, middle/high school females from mostly upper middle-class backgrounds. Experts report that the behavior is actually considered to be "soothing" by those that engage in it. It is thought that children feel empowered by being in control of the amount of pain that is self-inflicted.

Areas most frequently cut are arms and upper legs (thighs). Typically, the tell-tale cuts are hidden by long-sleeves and long-pants. When discovered by adults, the child typically has a well-rehearsed rationale for the cut.

According to experts, there are some 3,000,000-6,000,000 children that engage in self-inflicted cutting. Approximately 60% are female. Experts warn that many times self-cutting may be considered a precursor to a suicide attempt.

All parents are cautioned to be aware of the existence of this condition. Your EdWonk has discovered that, if questioned carefully, most children of middle/high school age will be acquainted with one or more students that are displaying these behavioral patterns.