« morning quickie | Main | Most Important Games Ever (3 and 4): Thank You Mario, But... »

Responding to some comments/emails on cutting/music/teenagers [Updated]

Let's revisit yesterday's post about cutting.

Michelle Malkin has updated her post and all her anecdotal evidence that cutting is on the rise is buttressed by quotes from people who are using the "today's pop culture is leading us down the path to hell" tactic.

It's the same thing with blaming video games when a kid goes on a shooting rampage - there had to be some problems there to begin with if the kid thinks it's ok to mow people down with a gun. One does not watch an interview in which Christina Ricci talks about cutting and says "gee, that sounds like a great idea, where's the knife?" If it's an idea that appeals to someone, there's a reason. And the reason generally isn't Hollywood or music or wanting to be part of a fad.

Also, I never said that cutting isn't a problem because it's been going on a long time. I was just pointing out that it is not a new phenomenon. The problem with sounding the alarm bells and calling it a new fad amongst teenagers who listen to emo music is there will be a Reefer Madness reaction by overzealous parents, educators and moralists. There will be lists passed around at PTA meetings that say things like "If your child is wearing dark clothing and listening to Taking Back Sunday, she's probably a cutter! Go search her room for razors and call in the special forces!" And of course, that's exactly what most parents will do. Just like in the 70's, when every kid who sat in his bedroom and listened to rock music for hours was most likely a drug addict, in the eyes of those who are supposed to be the experts. And no one ever talked to their kids about it then and no one is talking now. Instead, it's send them off to the psychiatrist (in the 70's it was "rap sessions" with a social worker), medicate them and send them to their rooms.

Self injuring is a coping mechanism. No, I am not an expert on this subject, but I've read enough and talked to enough cutters - going back to the 70's - to have a little understanding of what the thinking process behind it is. And here's a theory for you to chew on - maybe cutting is so prevalent among teenagers today because so many of these kids are growing up with no coping skills whatsoever. This all goes hand in hand with the self esteem movement and tendency of modern parents to never want their children to have to feel disappointment or failure. From cooperative games where no child ever loses to the dumbing down of fairy tales, from the banning of Dodge Ball to the PC way in which kids are instructed to handle conflict, they have been raised to think that everything will be handled for them, every fight will be mediated and nothing will ever hurt, this generation of kids has been raised - for the most part - to think that every little problem will be taken care of for them and no one will ever be allowed to hurt them or cause them pain. Now these kids are teenagers and they don't know how to cope with pain, anger and sadness. And maybe that's why cutting is more of a problem now than it was in the past.

It's not the music. It's not Angelina Jolie. It's not the internet. Sure, the internet has made it easier to find fellow cutters. But don't think that years ago these girls weren't getting together in the school bathroom or some local hangout and talking about it.

It's so disingenuous to pass blame for our kids' problems onto Hollywood, the internet, music, movies and video games. I think that's what bothered me most about Malkin's column - it was devoid of any real substance or research and what she did write was sort of a condemnation against Hollywood and emo music. She says that parents and educators are concerned and want to get the word out, but then she quotes parents and educators who want to pass the buck. It's the culture of today. It's the lack of God in schools. It's everything but what it really is.

What about the parents? When does anything that's wrong with kids today become their fault? When do the "blame society" parents stop shoving their kids into the arms of therapists and start talking to them on their own? When do they stop pointing at books and movies and start looking in the mirror?

I know my kids aren't perfect. They've had their problems and they will continue to have problems because growing up is a hard, long road and there will be mistakes and missteps. That's how you learn. You let your child make their own mistakes so they learn how to rectify those mistakes, how to cope with their losses and how to grow from each experience. And you talk to them about it. You have open communication. You make them feel at ease with you. Don't be judgmental. Don't tell them their music choices suck and their clothing choices are stupid. It may seem like trivial things to you, but they are major issues to a kid and when you belittle their clothing and music, you belittle them. Listen when they tell you their heart feels broken and don't trivialize high school relationships. You may think they're silly and unnecessary, but your saying so doesn't make your child's very real pain go away - it just makes them want to internalize it. Don't be dismissive. Don't be passive. Look at them when they talk. Let them know you're listening. Find some common ground with them.

These are ideas that were passed on to me by parents wiser than me. I took them to heart and I pass them on to anyone who will listen. And when things go wrong - as they always will in life - we sit back and think of what we could have done differently instead of looking for someone outside our home to blame.

So my kids listen to emo music. I don't put the idea in their head that this music will make them depressed or lead them on the road to suicide and they most likely won't think that. When I was their age and listening to Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, my parents never once shrieked that my choice of music would lead me to devil worshiping and suicide. They just closed my bedroom door and went and listened to their hip-shaking Elvis, who never did lead my parents to certain doom like it was foretold.

My kids are the product of a "broken" home. I've been divorced for eight years. Both my ex husband and I have remarried. It hasn't been easy on any of us, but we've managed to - together and apart - raise our kids to the ripe ages of 12 and 15 without them yet heading into a life of crime or drugs or therapy because of our divorce. It saddens me when people try to throw a guilt trip at divorced parents and blame them for the ills of society. Whenever a negative teenage fad is announced in the press, the hand wringing starts and the accusations are thrown around - I bet at least half of those kids are from divorced homes! The high divorce rate is to blame for everything! My kids are not without the scars of divorce. But who are you to say that they wouldn't have the scars from living with a bad marriage, either? I suppose this is another topic for another day, but it was addressed in the cutting post and I just wanted to touch on it.

I'm sure this post is clumsy and disjointed, but this topic kept me up most of the night and I wanted to answer some of my critics from yesterday as well as expand on some of the things I wrote about.

I'm going to take some deep breaths now and move right back to talking about video games and tv themes.

Update: More here, and here, where Greg says: Malkin wouldn't know an emo band if they set up their gear in her dining room and cried through a soundcheck during dinner.

And I meant to make a comment about Malkin claiming Taking Back Sunday as one of those dangerous, cutter-supporting emo bands (knowledge she gained through a cursory glance at a cutting message board). TBS is one of my favorite bands. I can't come up with a single song that would set off alarms that maybe they're in some secret underground emo cabal trying to get kids to harm themselves. Maybe, just maybe, the kids on that board who like TBS just, you know, like them. Maybe one has nothing to do with the other. Ya think? Is it possible that sometimes the music one likes has nothing to do with what's going on in their lives? I'm listening to Nick Cave's Murder Ballads right now. Alert the authorities. Or don't.

And Ilyka has more here.

TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Responding to some comments/emails on cutting/music/teenagers [Updated]:

» The new conservative craze: Blogging on things you know nothing about from Right Thoughts

Whenever Michelle Malkin pretends to have her finger on the pulse of youth...ignore her. She's completely and utterly clueless. Her newest screw-up regarding pop culture is that Emo music is creating a new wave of cutters. If you don't...

[Read More]

» On Making Appropriate Choices (Cutting) from The Daily Brief: We'll Try To Be Nicer, If You'll Try To Be Smarter!
Who am I going to pay attention to when it comes to teenagers hurting themselves? The gal who's consistantly got a stick buried so far up her butt that the point sticks out of her mouth when she talks, or the gal who used to have a cartoon character ... [Read More]

» Our lives, our kids vs. Experts™ from True blue.
Michele, who runs A Small Victory, has been writing a bit about teenagers who cut themselves. She points out others who have been writing about it as well, but I've not read any of the others. [Read More]

» Estrogen Week: Michele Versus Michelle from Ilyka Damen
It's Catalano v. Malkin on the subject of teenagers and cutting. Guess whose take I prefer? (Note: Before you rush off to add your two cents to the comments, I really recommend reading the update.) Longtime readers know I have... [Read More]

» The Deepest Cut from Oh ... Really?
The Latest Craze? Michelle Malkin seems to think so, that teens cutting themselves is a "fad" inspired by celebrities, like Christina Ricci, and a pop music genre known as "Emo". While I respect Ms Malkin and find myself in agreemen... [Read More]

» The Self Mutilation Fad from Secure Liberty
Michelle Malkin's most recent column explores this disturbing development and she posts it on her blog as well. (H/T Llama Butchers) Have you heard of "cutting?" If you're a parent, you'd better read up. "Cutting" refers to self-mutilation— using kn... [Read More]

» Michele from TechnoChitlins
Another of a series of reasons that Michele rocks. If you have teenaged kids, it's a must-read.... [Read More]

» Meet Shanna from hard times
Yesterday Michelle Malkin stirred up some controversy with a column about cutting. She gets paid for being controversial, that's her schtick, so naturally it's a bit generalized and alarmist. Michele from ASV took issue with a lot of what was said, b... [Read More]

» Self-mutilation blogging from Nemec Blog
I don't know enough about it to really put forth my opinion, but then again, it's not like that has ever stopped me from making an ass of myself. [Read More]

» Emo? Huh? from IndustrialBlog
Apparently there's a kind of music called emo. I'd never heard of it until Michele brought it up over at A Small Victory. I don't know anything about it. Apparently some kids cut themselves wh... [Read More]

» blogging the question from Knowledge Is Power: SondraK.com
Didn't delinking someone because they disagree with you go out around the same time as the Friday Five meme? I mean, for christ's sake, if someone had to agree with me about everything to be on my blogroll, I wouldn't even link to my wife. Shouldn't we... [Read More]

» Self-Mutilation from a Cutter's Perspective from anima
The important first step to be made here is not casting blame, but taking action. Cutting is not cool and that needs to be the message we're spreading. Not "stop listening to that music" or "just stop cutting already". Yes, cutting is a rising phenom... [Read More]

Comments

Wow. I've stayed out of this whole thing because I'm absolutely clueless. My kids are 7 and 8. Their "culture" right now consists of country drinking songs (go figure), Because of Winn-Dixie, and A series of Unfortunate Events. You have officially scared the hell out of me.

Most of the people I know have told me that because I send them to Catholic school (we're NOT Catholic, BTW), I am guaranteeing that my son will drink and smoke pot, and my daughter will sleep around. I guess we can add cutting to the list as well.

But maybe, just maybe, things will be OK. It's a crapshoot anyway. I've seen great parents raise great children. I've seen crappy parents raise crappy children. But I've ALSO seen great parents raise crappy children, and crappy parents raise great children. (I just managed to say "crap" 5 times in one paragraph!)

All I can do is all I can do, and I will do that. The rest I'll turn over to God. Some may consider that a cop-out. But I never feel so helpless and when I think of my children as teenagers. A little supernatural help couldn't hurt, could it?

I think of Catholic schools as nothing more than public schools that cost money.

I went to a Catholic high school. It was the biggest drug dealing school on Long Island. People came from miles around to buy pot, speed and mescaline.

Three girls spent most of our senior year very pregnant.

it's a crapshoot anyway. I've seen great parents raise great children. I've seen crappy parents raise crappy children. But I've ALSO seen great parents raise crappy children, and crappy parents raise great children.

And that's why you have to be vigilant about doing the best you can do for you kids - and that includes not doing too much for them.

I could be wrong, but I believe John Dos Passos actually had references to "cutting" in his work, "U.S.A." - which he wrote in the 1930s.

Thanks Michelle; I couldn't agree more. My daughter is 11.

Whoa there Michele! I see where you are coming from and why you want to address the topic but you need to step back and chill out. Sometimes you just need to step away from stuff like that and forget about it. Our immediate lives and families can take enough toll on our minds to worry about some blog posting that is nothing but a piece of drivel.

I think the point your trying to make is that a home can be "broken" in many ways not just because of a divorce. In the case of my sister the divorced "broken" home is a better choice than the married "broken" home. It seems like you are taking the whole "broken" home thing a little personal.

It seems like you are taking the whole "broken" home thing a little personal.

Of course I am. I always do.

Sometimes you just need to step away from stuff like that and forget about it. Our immediate lives and families can take enough toll on our minds to worry about some blog posting that is nothing but a piece of drivel.

I think you're wrong. When someone who has a voice like Malkin's (meaning she is widely read and seen on television) and is spreading misinformation, it's important to address it before people go batshit.

This is a blog. A personal website where I write about things that are relevant to me. It kind of pisses me off when people tell me what I should or shouldn't write about.

It's not a new phenom it's just getting more pulicity as we live in an ever increasing 24/7 info world.
I totally agree it's a coping mechanism, we've dumbed down and over medicated our kids into this horrible existence. I also agree with the gentlemen who stated in Michelle's article we've taught our kids everything but what they need to know..there's is a God. He's forgiving but He also demands justice. There's a cause and effect realationship to everything in life and by PC'ing everything we've taken it all away during their formative years so when the hit the big real time that go crazy..literally. Bring back God to our schools, bring back cause and effect discipline, high standard of character, games where there are winners and losers and show the examples of gracious winners as well as losers and lots of these problems will greatly be reduced. Make parents accountible for the education of their kids and not the govt. In other words get back to reality..thank you for allowing me to give my take on the whole issue. BTW I have a 13 yr old boy, 11 & 9 yr old girls.

Well, if I could afford it, I would send my kids to Catholic schools (I home school)... as do most of the people in my neighborhood (that love their kids) . I live in Detroit . Catholic schools are the saving grace for those that live in SHITTY school districts. It is definitely not a public school that cost money - public schools in Detroit have barbed wire around them, and police cars parked at the doors all day long. And, what goes on inside is different too.

I'm not going to get into the issue of God in schools - that would take way too much time to explain why I think it's not just a bad idea but a WRONG idea.

as do most of the people in my neighborhood (that love their kids)

So the people that can't afford the school or can't homeschool because they have to work don't love their kids?

You're right about the private schools being a saving grace for those in bad school districts - but that above quoted sentence? I have to call BS on that one.

"Cutting" is hardly a new phenomena. It was around long before you and I were born, and it will bere here long after we're gone.

In the early '90s, I volunteered for a total of 3 years at crisis hotlins in Minneapolis and Portland, OR. Cutting was a major issue then, and it continues to be so today. Whether or not Malkin's use of anecdotal evidence indicates an increase in the incidence of cutting is something I'll leave to intellects more nimble than my own.

What I will say is that there is no reason to panic at this juncture. Yes, parents need to pay close attention to their children, but when has that NOT been the case? Talk to your children, take an interest in what they have to say...show them that you care about them. This may not allow you to stop cutting from occurring, but if it does happen, at least the lines of communication with your child stand a better chance of being open.

I think what annoyed me the most about the Malkin column was the whole hypothetical nature of its urgency. What I mean is that, by my reading, it doesn't seem like she cared about the issue of cutting per se, but instead cared about it as a means to score cheap political points against Hollywood/rock music/whatever. This is a hack move.

I think the result is that her column won't actually raise awareness of cutters; it will raise awareness of false symptoms of cutting or other emotional disturbances, so that parents will feel that by forbidding their kids from seeing certain movies or listening to certain music they're going to prevent it from happening. Which only drives the problem further underground and further screws up the kid.

MSI just nailed everything down in two paragraphs. That's the post I should have written.

Is an emo band made up of furry red creatures with high-pitched Seseme Street type voices?

Most of the kids in my neighborhood dosend their kids to the nearby Catholic school (sorry for the confusion.) I'm the only one home schooling, pretty much, because I'm the only SAHM around.

As for my comment - I honestly don't understand how anyone could send their kids to the schools here. If they don't have money or the means to do something else (their are grants for private and magnet schools), then, yes, I do wonder about their devotion to their children. If I couldn't homeschool- i would have moved. Somehow. I probably would have taken to dancing in a nudie bar before I sent my kids to the PS here (I went to them years ago.) Detroit schools aren't your average "my school sucks" situation.

Perhaps they do love their children -but they are woefully ignorant regarding the schools, and the likely outcome of 12 years of Detroit Public school education.

I was NOT trying to tell you what you should or should not write about. I was just trying to say calm down and not drive your self crazy with this stuff. I believe you said "this topic kept me up most of the night"

It is one thing to address what she wrote but your post is a little more hectic than what you normally post when you are debunking someones crap.

"I'm sure this post is clumsy and disjointed"

I agree with just about everything you write concerning matters like these and I am glad that you do address someones careless posts. You just seemed to be really frazzled.

My post was supposed to be a friendly pat on the back calm down kind of post. I am sorry if it sounded like I was jumping on your back.

As a parent of 2 teenagers - 17, 18, I consider my self lucky not to have experienced anything close to "cutting". I think making people aware of issues such as cutting is important. However looking back on things I wrote while I was a teen, those can be hard terrible times and I wonder how I didnt go crazy. But I also realize what I said, did, wrote was a manifestation of feelings and not a statement that I was going to actually do.

Blaming Emo is like blaming sneezing for a cold. I like that genre - I turned my kids onto that music. And when the mood hits its great. But it is no depression then Pink Floyd or even Led Zep. What she should have said is that the music one listens to may be an indicator of the mood that teen is feeling at that time.

As a responsible parent you should know what your kids are listening to, watching on tv or on screen, meeting thier friends. As someone said listening to them without speaking. These can be "signs", but not the cause.

Your post didn't sound disjointed to me - you nailed the whole issue of treating kids like china dolls because their fragile egos can't stand to take a hit.

It's only when their self-esteem is based on winning, on being the best, the most popular, or the smartest that kids will have coping problems when they run into failure. I deplore the lack of what I call 'whole-child' parenting - instilling in your kids from an early age that their beauty comes from the inside, their best effort is what counts most, and that you don't expect them to never fail or make mistakes, just that they learn something from the experience and that they don't repeat the same ones.

Everybody is NOT a winner and it's a sin to teach a generation of kids to expect to always be rewarded, whether they deserve it or not.

Re: Catholic school vs. public - I attended Catholic school back in the 60's when you did get a quality education there...my kids have all attended public school. Not all learning takes place inside a classroom. Parents need to put in some effort to supplement what their kids are getting from teachers who have 30 other kids to teach every day; it's up to parents to expose their kids to more than video games and Nickolodean and not leave education entirely up to the schools. It's part of raising kids.

I tell you, my kids "dancing elmo" makes me want to cut myself ...

As a 20-year old, reading the Malkin post made me laugh. The idea that emo is "associated with promoting cutting" is ridiculous. I really like most emo music (as do a lot of my friends), and cutting myself is the furthest thing from my mind. (OK, I know this is anecdotal, but so is the argument from the other side.)

As has been said a thousand times, by Michele and others, just because somebody appreciates emotional music or depressing lyrics doesn't mean that they want to cut or kill themself. You could actually make the opposite point: emo (or other music) as catharsis.

I agree with the rest of the post, and realize that I have little to add here, but I just wanted to thank Michele and everybody else for trying to set Malkin straight on this. Bringing pop culture and blaming society for this stuff isn't going to help. And pidgeonholing emo listeners as self-mutilating depressives won't, either (Yeah, I know she's not doing this exactly. But trying to connect the music to the cutting is pretty close.)

Thanks for the quote! The link needs fixin' though.

Yes, and I agree with you completely. I agree with Malkin about things from time to time, but her approach here is completely off base and ill-informed.

know my kids aren't perfect. They've had their problems and they will continue to have problems because growing up is a hard, long road and there will be mistakes and missteps. That's how you learn. You let your child make their own mistakes so they learn how to rectify those mistakes, how to cope with their losses and how to grow from each experience. And you talk to them about it. You have open communication.

Thank you! This is such an important set of ideas, and so very basic -- and all too rare. I follow the same philosophy and so far (my kids are young yet) it is working out pretty well. I like my kids. They like me. I'm pretty sure there will be times when they don't and that's something I'll have to deal with, but if you start by being open, honest, reliable, realistic, interested and loving, then your kids are already equipped with more and better tools than most kids around them. Doesn't mean they'll turn out perfect - but a perfect kid would sort of creep me out anyway. I'm just hoping the whole pants around your ass thing goes away before my kids hit high school.

For starters:

  • Basically, the differences between public and private schools have a lot to do with the neighborhood. I went to Catholic schools for 16 years, and I knew people who didn't. Some kids were bad, some were good. Basically, however, the fact that the parents had to keep tighter reins on the kids (through 12th grade at least) tended to encourage better behaved kids
  • I agree wholeheartedly that the modern PC/Self-esteem movement has done more harm than good to society. The idea that 'we're all good, we're all the same' starts with the ADA, contines with social promotions, and rounds off with 'ending the honor roll'. Maybe if kids felt a little 'hurt' in awhile as a child, they'd know how to deal with disappointment later on (i.e.: sans mutilation).
  • Most importantly: WHEW! Thank heavens it isn't Angelina Jolie!
  • MSI, Michele, that two paragrpah post makes sense to me. Since my post is the first one linked in Michele's original post, I just wanted to clear the air that to the extent you are right about Malkin's intent, it wasn't mine. My daughter is two, I graduated HS in 1984 and I had never heard of cutting before. Zip, nada, nothing. Never heard of emo music either (sounds like I'm not missing much). I'm not one to blame Hollywood, music or celebrities for much.

    I don't know if Malkin was taking a cheap shot at hollywood or if, as a parent, this is new to her as well and it concerned her.

    On Catholic school, that's where I'm sending my kids. Simply stated: I will not send my kids to any school where the teachers are members of the teachers' unions.

    Michele, the post didn't seem disjointed to me. Flowed very nicely, in fact, and I pretty much agree with everything you said. Great take on the issue.

    And as someone whose parents divorced, I'll say that I preferred them divorcing. It sucked, absolutely, but to this day I believe that them having stayed together would have ultimately been worse. They were miserable and my brother and I were both very aware of that fact. It made us miserable, as well.

    I guess I'm late to the party, but I can't help but relate this to a commercial we saw for the 6 o'clock news last night on "Oakland Teens Cutting Themselves!" in that breathless, hot-off-the-presses way that is so annoying.

    My husband and I glanced at each other, puzzled, and my husband quipped, "Calling 1995!" I mean, really...why does this keep getting trumpeted as New news?

    As far as people telling you to chill out on your own blog, don't even get me started. I did a tongue-in-cheek comparison to me having a multiple personality disorder a few days ago, because I was musing about my various "sides" and whatnot, and got a commenter chiding me because I wasn't being "sensitive" enough to people who really suffer from MPD. "Don't apply real disorders to your life, some people might take offense."

    Oh yeah? I commented back, essentially saying, Bite me. It's my blog, I'll write what I damn well please. By the way, that was my Bitch Personality Disorder talking. Fair enough? ;-)

    Whoa... delisted from Malkin's blog. Guess that can be taken as a badge of honor of some sort, Michele!

    Are you serious? Delinked for disagreeing with a (crappy) column publicly? I guess Kos doesn't have a monopoly on echo chamber construction.

    Skillzy, she's definitely not the first right blogger to take me off her blogroll.

    For some people, there are only two opinions. Theirs and the wrong one.

    Maybe you could blame your dissent on a genre of music or a video game. Perhaps she would have some compassion and put you back on her blogroll?

    GRAND THEFT AUTO MADE ME GO CRAZY ON MY BLOG!

    she delinked you? Wait, wait: The famous Michelle Malkin was so turned off by what you wrote (or was so afraid of her readers seeing it) that she delinked you?

    How eighth grade is that?

    Man, I hope you don't start cutting yourself over the de-linking. TURN OF THE ELMO MUSIC.

    As the wife of a former "cutter" (who also liked to throw himself out of windows), I agree that it's crap to pigeonhole the disorder. He was a black-clad goth type but he was also a Christian with a big smile on his face most of the time. He didn't drink or drug himself to cope with the pains of adolescence, so he cut. He cut when he was enraged. And he was usually enraged because his friends were drinking or using drugs, and that was against his strong upbringing. It's just a manifestation of an inability to express ones emotions, and it's very common. Just expect it may happen with any teenager, and remember it's not suicide, its blood. And it doesn't mean your kid is somehow mentally ill. My husband is a great dad who talks to his kids and is very successful in his life.
    And I did love Michelle Malkin especially because it was so easy to link to ASV from there, I didn't know she was so touchy.

    TURN OFF THE ELMO MUSIC.

    Man, you just made me literally snort.

    LOL. Of course, I have TWO of the creepy things right here. Not only do I have dancing Elmo, but CHICKEN dancing Elmo as well. They are WAY up high on a shelf, least one of the kids sets 'em off.

    I never heard of emo music until this blog entry; I thought emo was a geeky comedian from about 20 years ago.

    It seems I'm not the only one. What's the etymology of the word and why is it not Cole Porter, punk, ska, reggae, rock, heavy metal, new wave, disco or crappy.

    Man I feel old. One of these days they're just going to cart me away in a wheelbarrow and say, "It's way past your bedtime, pops."

    Hey, IB Bill - you're not the only one.

    I've always considered myself pretty up on music trends enough to be able to identify what I didn't like, and emo was a completely new term/phenom to this old gal.

    This, of course, is one of the things I enjoy so much about this site - I learn so much. I mean, who knew there were so many creative ways to praise BJ's in haiku style?

    IB Bill - Emo is short for emotional and it derives from emotionally driven punk music. It now has so many freaking subgenres that it's un-pigeonhole-able. But it most often is recognized by whiny songs with pretentious titles sung by boys in girls pants.

    Am I right?

    As another 20 year old commenter (damn i thought i was alone) I'd like to say that I appreciate your viewpoint michele. Even now as I think about shit I've done and been through my first instinct is to figure out how i'll protect my kids. But then I realize that my parents whole goal was not to protect me but to give me the wisdom necessary to deal with whatever i got myself into.

    It was a freaking awesome parental philosophy - one that I will always thank my 'rents for; again and again.

    Cutting is something that I've dealt with regarding a few friends and it's hard. You want to help them and be a support - but sometimes they don't know a way out. There is no easy fix to cutting and even if all video games were seeing how many grandmommies you can walk across the street and all movies were toy story and all music was elmo music - kids would still be depressed.

    Personally I find that there's some blame to be found in culture and some blame to be foudn in parents and a great deal of blame to be found in that the teenage years can be a shitty time of life.

    I think the result is that her column won't actually raise awareness of cutters; it will raise awareness of false symptoms of cutting or other emotional disturbances, so that parents will feel that by forbidding their kids from seeing certain movies or listening to certain music they're going to prevent it from happening. Which only drives the problem further underground and further screws up the kid.

    Malkin wants parents to forbid their kids from watching movies or listening to music that she disdains. She says that regularly. That's the wingnut conservative mantra..."Pop culture is the enemy, we must forbid everyone from engaging in it.:

    Damn...Michele GETS IT. Bravo!

    Malkin de-linked you? Man. How wrong about her was I?

    Thanks Winston & Trish.

    As for the larger subject at hand here, whatever happened to rebelling by smoking a little weed?

    Kids today.

    Malkin has a lot of energy and passion, and that appeals to a lot of people. But as far as I'm concerned, I'm not gonna buy what anyone who sees the world in black and white terms is selling.

    Michele is no ideologue. She actually thinks about the issues discussed here, rather than sitting around plotting newer and more sophisticated ways to get some didactic "message" across. That's why she's vastly superior to someone like Malkin...

    This is an issue I take very seriously. I have been battling cutting for over 10 years now. I can't put into words how much Michelle Malkin's article has angered and upset me.

    The problem isn't today's culture. The music and media-fed scene today isn't anything that it was when I began cutting myself 14 years ago. The music I listened to and the celebrities I was into had nothing to do with why I cut. Not a single thing.

    Michelle Malkin is very misinformed and she really should do better research before writing such irresponsible articles. Her assertations that cutting is some "new craze" is damaging to the fledling self-injury community, which is just in recent years starting to get attention as a real and serious problem. Now when a kid with a real problem with cutting tries to get help, they are just going to be grouped with those kids doing it b/c it's a fad; the "new craze".

    I've been helping other cutters and self-injurers for years now and I knew about the rising number of youths latching on to cutting b/c it was "cool" long before Michelle Malkin declared it some new, hip craze. The most assinine thing we can do here is try to blame it on modern culture. Why is it everytime our youth today go wrong, we try to blame it on everything around us rather than grouping together to come up with a solution?

    I tell the kids I talk to that cutting isn't "cool". It isn't cool to fear wearing a tank-top in public. It isn't cool to sweat in long sleeves because you're ashamed of your mutilated arms when you go on a family outing with your boyfriend's family. It isn't cool to get questioned about "what happened to your arms?", and to get gawked at like you're a freak when you answer truthfully. I try to get the message across to these kids that there are healthier modes of coping; sometimes I feel like I'm the only one fighting this battle and trying to help.

    Michele, I wanted to thank you for tackling this issue like you have. Of everything I've read in the blogworld about this, yours is the most level-headed, thoughtful and cogent. From a cutter, I thank you.

    I used to be a cutter. Cutting was a defense mechanism against the mental and emotional abuse my ex-husband used to dole out on a daily basis. I have scars up and down both arms. I could deal with the physical pain much better than the emotional pain.

    It wasn't because of the music I listened to. I listen to all kinds of angry music...but to me it's my happy music. I can crank it up and scream my lungs out and feel much better about my day and myself. Korn is a mainstay for me.

    I haven't picked up a knife in 2 1/2 years now. That's what happens when you're in a healthy relationship...

    I went to a Catholic high school. It was the biggest drug dealing school on Long Island. People came from miles around to buy pot, speed and mescaline.

    Long Island: a place where the local Catholic high school is "the biggest drug dealing school." Yikes.

    Ever consider moving, Michelle?

    That was the 1970's. Long Island is pretty damn good place to raise one's kids today.

    That was the 1970's.

    A difficult decade for all of us, to be sure.

    Long Island is pretty damn good place to raise one's kids today.

    I'll take your word on that...although sometimes you speak of LI as if it were the seventh circle of hell...;)

    In many ways, Monks who flagellated themselves were doing the same thing as teenagers who cut themselves. And I'm sure it's the fault of those awful Classical music composers. Or that guy who wrote The Holy Bible. :eye roll:

    "But it most often is recognized by whiny songs with pretentious titles sung by boys in girls pants."

    AHHHHHahahaha!

    How does one help someone who cuts?

    Hi
    I am/was a cutter. I'm 17 and if you want anymore info I will happily help. Iwa - E-mail me and I'll talk to you about helping someone who cuts..
    God Bless
    Han X

    I am a single mother 0f 2 and now have my nephew also cause his mother is really screwed up I went out for the first time in awhile this weekend and will I was gone there was some drama with the kids and my nephew and my daughter have both cut themself several times I have never had to deal with this and I do not even begin to have a clue as how to help them if there is anyone out there who can help me to understand them and help them pls contact me

    I have a daughter who is 15 years old. I was completley clueless the whole"cutting" thing. I thought it was just a fad. She started wearing long sleeved shirts all the time. Even when it was really hot. Made excuses that her cat had scratched her.(I got rid of the cat)The cuts got worse...That's when I heard about this whole cutting stuff. I was baffled that I could be so naive to this. I got her into counseling and found out alot about my daughter. She was raped from a babysiter when she was 8 years old. There was also alot of trauma I would've taken lightly. Example, breaking up with a boyfriend, bad arguement with a best friend, ect. I also found out that my daughter is bipolar, depressed, and has a very serious thyroid disorder.Her counselor is the one who had all these important tests ordered. While I still do not understand the whole cutting thing, I've learned that it's kind of like being an alcoholic or a drug addict. When they cut it's imediate relief because they feel they are in control of themselves.
    My daughter is very beautiful, and it's very hard explaining to my youngest daughter who is 11 years old why her sister does this and why she is going to the hospital again and again. All i can do is try to keep an open mind and pray for the best. She wouldn't be doing as well as she has been if it wasn't for the help of the counseling.(Which has taught me how to have an open ear and listen) Thank you, Mother of a Cutter