Adolescent Masochism: advice for prevention and control

Picture of Nan Coosemans

Adolescent masochism: understanding the phenomenon

Think of a psychological condition that takes pleasure in pain or suffering, whether physical or emotional.

This is masochism, a phenomenon that during adolescence can manifest in disconcerting forms: self-harm, substance abuse, risky sexual behavior and much more.

As a parent, your role is crucial: you need to be able to recognize and identify these warning signs to intervene in a timely manner and prevent further harm.

But how do you do this? How can you help your child when these issues arise? Keep reading to find out how to assist them!

The warning signs of masochism in young people

Sudden mood or behavior changes, social isolation, low self-esteem, self-harm: these are potential signs of masochistic behavior that are not always easy to recognize, so it is crucial that you stay very alert. In case of suspicion, remember that our professional coaches are available to offer you support and advice.

Create a supportive environment: the role of parents

Your role as a parent is fundamental in the prevention and management of masochism among teenagers. By creating a positive and supportive family environment, you will make your children feel safe sharing their problems and concerns. Encouraging them towards healthy and positive activities, such as sports, art and music, can also help build a solid foundation for their mental well-being.

Masochism in young people: a delicate subject

Masochism is a complex and delicate subject: it is essential to educate your children about what constitutes healthy and consensual behavior, highlighting that it is not necessarily a sign of pathology or mental disorder, as long as it is practiced in a consensual and safe manner.

Factors that can trigger self-destructive behavior

Self-destructive behaviors can stem from various factors, including mental health issues, traumatic experiences, lack of social support, limited financial resources or lack of purpose in life. Identifying these factors can help you understand and address self-destructive and masochistic behavior in your adolescent.

Masochistic Personality Disorder: How to Recognize It

Masochistic personality disorder is characterized by self-destructive and submissive behaviors that can interfere with the individual’s daily life: it is important for parents to understand the difference between this disorder and sexual masochism to provide the appropriate support.

The Difference Between Masochism and Sadomasochism

Masochism involves pleasure in feeling hurt or humiliated, while sadomasochism involves two people inflicting pain on each other. This distinction is crucial for better understanding your child’s behavior.

Effective Strategies to Help Children Overcome Masochism

During the difficult phase of life that is adolescence, where emotions are intense and balances are delicate, a problem like masochism can seriously test both the adolescent and his or her family. However, there are strategies that can be adopted and tools that can be used to help overcome this obstacle, guiding the young person towards a path of healing and genuine well-being.

Let’s start with the first point: effective communication. It is good to establish an open and sincere dialogue channel with your adolescent, because these young people often feel misunderstood and alone in their problems. Talk to them, listen to what they have to say, show genuine interest in their experiences. It’s not just about saying the right words at the right time, but also about listening and understanding, validating their emotions, demonstrating that their voice matters.

Then there is the creation of a safe and supportive environment: effective communication cannot exist if the environment in which it takes place is not perceived as safe by the adolescent. The home should be a haven, a place where one feels accepted, understood and loved. A supportive environment should be a judgement-free zone, where your adolescent feels free to express their feelings and thoughts without fear of repercussions.

The third element to consider is the identification of stress sources: adolescence is a period of rapid changes, both physical and mental, and can be a considerable source of stress. Identifying the causes of stress can help find strategies to manage and reduce it: whether it’s academic pressure, friendship problems, personal insecurities, it’s important to tackle each individual problem and work to find solutions.

Lastly, but not least, there is professional assistance. Despite your love and commitment, there may be situations where the help of a professional is indispensable. Our family coaches, for example, are specifically trained to handle these situations, to provide support and appropriate strategies, both to the adolescent and his or her family.

Effective communication, safe and supportive environment, identification of stress sources, professional assistance: these are not merely words, but are the cornerstones of a constructive and solution-focused approach to adolescent masochism. They are the tools that, as a parent, you can use to help your adolescent overcome his or her issues and embark on a path towards healing.

Preventing Masochism in Teenage Children: Tools and Resources for Parents

Promoting self-esteem and self-confidence, teaching coping skills and problem-solving, avoiding emotional or physical mistreatment, and monitoring drug and alcohol use are crucial strategies to prevent masochism in adolescent children.
The journey towards effective parenthood can be difficult, but with the right resources and appropriate support, your adolescent can overcome this issue and live a happy and satisfying life.

Learn more about our parent coaching or our course for adolescents

Picture of Nan Coosemans

Nan Coosemans

Fondatrice di Younite®, Family e Youth Coach, Autrice del libro “Quello che i ragazzi non dicono” ed. Sperling & Kupfer e mamma di 3 figli. Lavoro da oltre 20 anni nel mondo dello sviluppo personale. Ho fondato Younite® nel 2010 e Genitori in Azione nel 2016, la prima scuola online per genitori con adolescenti. Ho studiato vari anni in America, Olanda e Inghilterra integrando il lavoro sviluppato con con NLP, TLT, VT® e Family Therapist. Insieme alla squadra di Younite® ho lavorato con migliaia di ragazzi e famiglie in Olanda & Italia. Sono co-fondatrice dell'Accademia YADA, la prima scuola di formazione per diventare Family o Youth Coach in Italia.

Emotional Intelligence with Teenagers

Watch this 1 hour FREE episode now!

What you will learn:

  • 2 principles of Emotional Intelligence with Teenagers
  • 6 steps in Intelligent communication
  • 6 steps in getting Teenagers to talk to you
  • Powerful exercises to become a resourceful parent
  • 8 important tips during a lockdown period
  • 4 practical tips to implement directly
  • 4 opportunities in this challenging period
18-22 years

Become a future leader

21-28 august 2023
Ibiza, spain

Subscribe to our newsletter​

Scroll to Top