Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition most often associated with adults. However, a small percentage of children also have OCD. Most kids affected by OCD will typically see symptoms around the age of 10, and this can be very challenging for parents. However, there are ways parents can cope with a child’s OCD.
Tips On How To Cope With A Child’s OCD
Blame OCD, Not Your Child
It’s important to remember that your child can’t help their obsessions and compulsions. It’s natural to become exasperated by the rituals that slow you down when you’re already late or by the excruciatingly detailed routines your child insists upon.
But remind yourself that it’s not their fault— it’s the OCD and the result of biochemical imbalance in the brain. Their behavior isn’t a reflection of anything you or your child have done, nor is it an indication of a personality flaw. In fact, it’s likely your child is even more confounded and distressed by their behavior, so try to be understanding with them.
Knowledge Is Power
In order to feel more in control of the quirks that come with an OCD diagnosis, it’s important to learn all you can about the condition. Parent education and a good understanding of OCD is essential to dealing with it well. The more you know about OCD, the more you’ll be able to cope with it. In addition, by obtaining knowledge pertaining specifically to child OCD symptoms, you can become a more effective advocate for your child, both with medical practitioners and in the educational system.
Get Involved In Treatment
When working on cognitive-behavioral approaches toward treatment, it’s been shown that parental involvement in treatment can be very effective. Developmentally, children may not be able to fully grasp or understand abstract concepts associated with their OCD symptoms. In conjunction with your child’s treatment provider, you can play a strong role in helping to make things more concrete and understandable for them.
Make Sure Everyone’s On Board
If you live in a household of multiple people, it’s imperative that everyone be on the same page and involved with addressing the OCD issues. Particularly in a two-parent household, sometimes one parent steps back and is reluctant to engage in dealing with the situation. This likely has more to do with their insecurities or anxieties than with not wanting to help your child. Communication is key to resolving any personal issues surrounding OCD and in making sure everyone is working together to cope.
Be Positive And Persistent
While it’s understandable to become discouraged with OCD at times, don’t lose hope. Treatment requires consistency over time. If you feel that progress has stalled or that a certain approach isn’t working, talk to your child’s treatment provider. Perhaps you need to try a different tactic or seek a second opinion. Follow your instincts and keep moving forward. Symptoms of childhood OCD can be managed.