‘I’m worried my 15-year-old daughter is cutting herself’

Ask the Expert: ‘A note in her diary concerned me but I know she will be mad at me for reading it’

‘I am trying to be as supportive as I can and keep the channels of communication open.’ Photograph: iStock

‘I am trying to be as supportive as I can and keep the channels of communication open.’ Photograph: iStock

Question: I am struggling with my 15-year-old daughter at the moment. She started dieting last autumn and coming up to Christmas she lost a lot of weight. She was extremely thin, spoke about food all the time, and we were very worried about her.

She then fell off that “healthy eating wagon” and went to the other extreme – putting on a lot of weight in a short space of time. She has stopped engaging in her schoolwork and is rarely going out with her friends. Just after Christmas I found a nail clippers in her bed which made me worried she was cutting herself (she bites her nails so has no nails to clip). I confronted her and made her show me her forearms (she is always wearing long sleeves). There were no marks, but she was really angry that I did not trust her and she did not talk me for days.

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