She's not cutting herself but she does have a problem with picking at scabs. It's bad enough that during church she had blood running down her leg and it embarrased her 17 year old brother. I spoke to her and Step Mom had a caring discussion with her. I was going to go into the whole, Body is a temple speech but I think her step mom did a pretty good job just listening and tending to her scabs. She's on the honor role at school and just took 1st place out of her whole school in a poster contest on peace. She's artsy and likes anime. She doesn't kiteboard or surf much to my disappointment..hehe but she's teaching herself piano. All the pets, two dogs and a kitten sleep in her room. So I think she's doing fine but I worry about her being depressed.
I look back with fondness at my youth but I don't think there exists a picture of me smiling. I was all into the The Smiths, The Cure and 80's punk bands (Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Suicidal Tendencies). So I don't know..maybe I'm overreacting.
The divorce changed me, I worry allot about my kids and I would easily overnuture them. It's caused some strife in my new marriage. Luckily I'm reading some good books I found on this site (How to talk to your kids so your kids will listen, The Parenting Breakthru, The Peacegiver) and I'm trying to learn how to manage all this.
Picking is not quite the same as deliberate cutting or even eating disorders but there are similarities and if left alone it can become as serious as cutting. From what I've read and observed it is a nervous habit that can become a big problem. Skin picking can be a sign of OCD. It does become compulsive. It starts as the similar habit of biting fingernails.
My daughter picked when she was upset or nervous or bored. Nothing we said or did helped. She would get angry at me for pointing out the damage she was causing or when I insisted we use Neosporin on the sores she created. It became worse when she reached puberty and had breakouts. She had to finally understand that she needed to substitute something more positive in the place of picking. With my daughter the picking started after her older brother died.
There is risk for serious infection. Staph lives on our skin. Even pointing out the seriousness of a staph infection didn't stop my daughter.
The underlying emotional issues need to be identified and addressed. When the emotional issues are resolved the skin picking will stop. When you notice the picking try to distract her in positive ways.
If I had to do it over again I would focus more on introducing a positive substitute instead of focusing on the negatives of picking. It helped when I started taking her for manicures regularly.
Its hard to pick with nail extensions and she loved the creative ways she could express herself with her nails.
Just listening to her concerns and fears will make a big difference.