Dealing with OCD in Children

Children who have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) can end up feeling very isolated because they feel stressed and under pressure by the OCD itself. They may also feel so different knowing that their behaviours are unusual – that they are a lot different from other children and may not able to properly engage and interact with them. Their OCD may be holding them back socially, emotionally, and even in their communication.

It’s important that as a parent of a child with OCD, you have bags of patience. The behaviours that your child has are not there on purpose and are not there as a means to attention seek. More often than not these behaviours exist to help them feel a sense of completion which causes them to feel more comfortable and safe. If you become frustrated and allow these feelings to show, it could cause your child to feel as if they are not able to share with you the difficulties that their OCD might be creating for them in the future. It is, however, useful to note that at times tough love is important because being overly sympathetic and accommodating can preserve the OCD behaviours instead of encouraging them to make attempts to overcome those thoughts and feelings. You can have better expectations of how your child can behave and react and you can hold them to a higher standard, but you can do so from a place of love, positivity, and strength.

It’s useful too to think about the kind of language that you use with your child when discussing their problem with them. You want to avoid using language that implies permanence i.e. talking about their OCD as if this is something that they have to live with, which implies that it is going to last for the rest of their lives when actually it might not. We want to avoid making the OCD sound particularly scientific and complex, which unless you feel particularly confident in your abilities as a scientist who can resolve complex problems, might cause your child to feel as if they have no chance of ever being able to solve the issue. Sometimes simple tricks like naming the behaviours a silly name, something that makes them sound insignificant or inferior, will cause them to feel more powerful in pursuit of overcoming that problem. For example, would you rather have to deal with a complex obsessive-compulsive disorder or complicated habits? Or irritating little things that you do? As a result of relabelling the behaviours and experiences, we can make the challenge of overcoming OCD seem much more comprehendible and empower our children to see the possibilities that they have in changing their own circumstances.

Linguistics is a very powerful way to tackle OCD, but it’s only one proportion of the problem solving sweet that I have at my disposal. So if you have a child or a young person who is struggling with OCD, then please do get in contact with me to arrange a free consultation session. To find out more about the work that I do in and around Crays Hill, Billericay, Basildon, Wickford, Southend-on-sea, Chelmsford, Colchester and Brentwood, then please give me a call on 07958 203 274. Alternatively, you can drop me an email to my office by filling out the blue box on the right-hand side of this page.

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