Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in Children

– A Parent’s Guide –

It can be frustrating to have a child with OCD.

It’s stressful to see your child stuck, without a clear way forward.

But, OCD can be helped!


Get informed & start the journey to helping your child’s Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder!

Symptoms of OCD


Obsessions are repeated anxious thoughts, images, or urges that a person wishes to get rid of because the thoughts are bothersome and disruptive (ie. thinking about the dangers of germs).


Compulsions are repeated actions or strict rule following which relieves the anxiety of obsessions but are excessive and unrealistic (ie. handwashing).

OCD Signs

Obsessions and compulsions take up a lot of time–1 to 3 hours a day or more–which is often what causes problems in relationships, school work, or other daily activities.

The compulsions may be clearly visible like cleaning or straightening something repeatedly, or they may be done silently in the child’s head like counting or praying repeatedly.

A younger child may not be able to explain what anxious obsessions they are trying to get rid of through a compulsive behavior even if those obsessions are present.

A trained play therapist can help explore that question.

OCD Themes

The themes of obsessions and compulsions vary but are often about cleanliness, order, thoughts that are perceived to be unacceptable, or harm that could come to oneself or others.

More Facts on OCD

  • The DSM-5 states that females tend to be affected throughout the lifespan slightly more than males,
  • But in childhood, boys experience OCD symptoms more often than girls (2013, p. 239).
  • 1.2% of the whole population has symptoms of OCD in any given 12 month period and 25% of cases start before age 14 and 25% of males see symptoms for the first time before the age of 10 (p. 239).
  • For children and adolescents who receive therapy, about 40% will experience remission in adulthood, but if symptoms early in life are not treated, it is unlikely that symptoms will get better (p. 239).


If you would like help navigating your child’s OCD, please give us a call. We specalize in helping anxious children with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

OCD falls within the anxiety family. Be sure to check our our “Parenting Axious Children” page and get informed!

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