Our expert says:
Sounds like a very dysfunctional family. The dad finds unmistakeable evidence that the poor boy is severely troubled, and instead of taking him for help, hides it and makes the kids hide this from the mother. She finds more evidence that he is a deeply troubled boy, and SHE in turn hides it, helps the boy to hide it, and swears them all to secrecy from the father. I understand your difficulty in deciding how to intervene usefully, while feeling compelled to try to help. This is exactly the sort of situation in which a suicide occurs, and everyone pretends to be shocked and surprised, and yet the signals had been clear for years, and no form of proper expert help had been sought.
There are a range of psychological problems in which people may cut themselves, but it is NEVER normal for a boy of 11 to be cutting himself in this way, and it should NEVER be ignored. A mother who helps hide the evidence while pretending there's nothing wrong, and who refuses to do what is obviously needed, and to take him for the help he desperately needs and desrves, must herself be a disturbed woman. You know better than we which ( or maybe several ) intervention might work --- approaching her tactfully might help her face facts ; I dont know if a school psychologist can intervene without a request from the parents, but presumably might if the teachers thought there was a problem ; and the welfare authorities ought to be interested. I agree with Chelle, that the parents response in this situation amounts to abuse and neglect. Ideally, in time, the whole family ought to become involved in Family Therapy, but first things first.
Let us know how things progress
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