A couple of days ago a boy in our neighborhood ran over to our house in his pajamas, frightened and bleeding all over the place. He cuts himself. You know, a "cutter" as they call them, because he has some very serious emotional pain. This time he cut deeper than intended. Afraid to turn to his father (I don't believe his mother is involved in his life), he ran here. I closed this up for him:
I am glad that he knew I was available and knew where to go, but it saddens me so deeply that he doesn't feel he can go to his own family. See all those other scars on his arm? He is covered in them. Although he wears long sleeves and hides this issue from his friends and family, I have known about it for a while. I try very hard not to be pushy when talking to him, wanting him to feel he has someone he can trust who won't prod or judge. And I'm glad I have taken that approach; otherwise he might not have come here seeking help. I'd like to see him receive help from professionals for his emotional problems, of course, but I also know enough about his home situation to know that his father would not cooperate with anything like that. As a matter of fact, part of the reason this young man is afraid to open up to his father is because he would, in all likelihood, be thrown out of the house. See, his dad regards him as just generally too much trouble.
I suppose there isn't a lot more to say about this. I'm just sad that he doesn't have the nurturing environment he deserves at home, but I'm glad he knows I'm here. Hopefully I can find a way to be helpful to him in a deeper way, even in light of the obstacles that his circumstances present.
If you love your kids, and of course I hope you do, please make sure they feel comfortable and safe that they can come to you with their sadnesses and anything that's on their mind. It's just so important. :(