The term OCD is often thrown around flippantly, but any parent of a child with true OCD symptoms knows the mental obsessions and compulsions are overwhelming. The symptoms range, however, most kids who have true OCD will struggle with anxious and worrisome thoughts about specific things that lead to preservation and “checking” that never seems to be satisfied.
Living with a child who shows signs of OCD is taxing to their caregivers and puts real strain on parent-child relationships.
How can I help my child with OCD at home?
Sometimes parents think that ignoring the behavior or telling a child to just “stop” might be the best tactic for OCD. In my work with kids I have found that the opposite is true. If you are able I would encourage you to lean into what your child is feeling at different times of the day by asking them what there worry thoughts need and then reassure them they are safe.
Once a child feels safe you can challenge their thoughts and begin to teach them new ways to think and act. Without safety or feeling like “someone gets me and see me” it is hard to get a child to move towards lasting change. If you aren’t sure how to do this there are some great examples and ideas in children’s workbooks that address topics in a kid friendly way such as how to change automatic thoughts and promote flexible thinking.
One such workbook is “What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming OCD” by Dawn Huebner.
One of my all time favorite story books on OCD is titled “Mr. Worry: A Story About OCD” by Holly Niner.
This book is a beautiful story that socializes for a child and parent what it can look like when OCD takes up so much space in your life. I highly recommend that any parent who has a child with OCD symptoms get a copy of this book to read.
Parents, hear this, OCD is hard but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence.
If you need additional resources and support to learn more about parenting a child with challenging OCD symptoms we are here to help. Sign up for our Parent Matters newsletter or follow us on instagram for more parenting articles and ideas. Or if you would like, give one of our child therapists a call today for a free consult.
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Owner | Child Therapist | LCPC, RPT
Parenting is hard! But you don’t have to do it alone. I work with children and parents to resolve emotional conflict, cultivate healing, and nurture hope.
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