Calming: Strategies for Parents to Address Calm Harm in Teens

Home Occupational Therapy Calming: Strategies for Parents to Address Calm Harm in Teens
teen girl sitting on rocks by the river

In the intricate tapestry of adolescence, emotions often run high, and teens may find it challenging to navigate the storm within. Calm harm, a term referring to self-harming behaviors performed to manage emotional pain, is a concerning manifestation of the struggles many teenagers face. As parents, it’s essential to approach this issue with sensitivity and understanding. This blog will delve into the concept of calm harm, its potential causes, and provide practical strategies for parents to support their teens through these turbulent times.

Table of Contents

Understanding Calm Harm:

Calm harm, also known as self-soothing or self-harm, is a coping mechanism some adolescents employ to regulate overwhelming emotions. It is crucial to recognize that engaging in calm harm is not a choice made lightly; rather, it often stems from an internal struggle that the teen may not fully comprehend themselves. It can manifest in various forms, such as cutting, burning, or hitting oneself, and is indicative of an underlying emotional distress that needs addressing.

Causes of Calm Harm:

To effectively address calm harm in teens, parents must first understand the potential root causes. It’s important to note that each individual’s experience is unique, but some common factors contributing to calm harm include:

1. Emotional Pain:

Teens may lack the emotional vocabulary to express their pain verbally. Resorting to self-harm becomes an outlet for the overwhelming emotions they cannot articulate.

2. Mental Health Issues:

Underlying mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or borderline personality disorder, may contribute to the development of calm harm as a maladaptive coping mechanism.

3. Peer Pressure and Bullying:

Social dynamics can be harsh during adolescence. Experiences like peer pressure and bullying can lead some teens to resort to self-harm as a way to regain control or cope with the emotional fallout.

4. Identity and Self-Esteem Issues:

Adolescents are often grappling with questions of identity and self-worth. Those struggling with low self-esteem may turn to calm harm as a way to regain a sense of control or punish themselves.

Strategies for Parents:

1. Open Communication:

Fostering an environment of open communication is crucial. Create a safe space where your teen feels comfortable expressing their emotions without fear of judgment. Encourage them to share their feelings and thoughts, and be an active listener.

2. Educate Yourself:

Take the time to educate yourself about self-harm and mental health issues. Understanding the underlying factors can equip you with the knowledge needed to provide appropriate support and seek professional help when necessary.

3. Professional Guidance:

If you notice signs of calm harm or suspect your teen is struggling emotionally, seek professional guidance. A mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, can help your teen navigate their emotions and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

4. Build Emotional Resilience:

Help your teen build emotional resilience by teaching them positive coping strategies. Encourage activities that promote self-expression and stress relief, such as journaling, art, music, or sports. These outlets can provide alternative ways for your teen to channel their emotions.

5. Create a Supportive Network:

Ensure your teen has a strong support network, including friends, family, and mentors. Surrounding them with positive influences can contribute to their emotional well-being and reduce the likelihood of turning to self-harm.

6. Set Realistic Expectations:

Adolescence is a challenging time of self-discovery. Help your teen set realistic expectations for themselves and acknowledge that making mistakes is a natural part of growth. Reinforce that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

7. Monitor Online Activity:

Keep an eye on your teen’s online activity, as cyberbullying and exposure to harmful content can contribute to emotional distress. Establish open communication about their online experiences and provide guidance on responsible internet use.

8. Encourage Healthy Habits:

Ensure your teen maintains a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep. Physical well-being is closely linked to mental health, and these habits can contribute to overall emotional stability.


In conclusion, addressing calm harm in teens requires a multifaceted and compassionate approach from parents. By understanding the potential causes, fostering open communication, and providing a supportive environment, parents can play a pivotal role in guiding their teens towards healthier coping mechanisms. Remember, seeking professional help is a crucial component of the journey towards emotional well-being, and parents should actively collaborate with mental health professionals to ensure the best possible support for their teens.

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Transform Life is a NDIS registered organisation that provides support for your autistic teenager, as well as support to you as a parent to best navigate the challenges your teenager and family face on a daily basis.

Book your consult with an experienced Therapist at Transform Life to explore how OT can support you and your family.


Transform Life is an Australian owned provider specialising in evidence based therapeutic support including Positive Behaviour Support, Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Speech Therapy and Behavioural Interventions helping transform lives and families across Australia.

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