PSP 042: How to Help Kids with Intrusive Thoughts

PSP 042: How to Help Kids with Intrusive Thoughts

Anxiety is not always visible. It is not always obvious. Sometimes it is silently attacking your child from the inside out. It makes itself cozy in a child’s mind that is already filled with doubt and insecurity. Intrusive thoughts are confusing to kids. They are scary to kids. Heck, they are scary for parents. So how do you help your child deal with them? It is the opposite of what you may think…

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 52: What to Do When Anxiety Gives Your Child a Bad Attitude

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 52: What to Do When Anxiety Gives Your Child a Bad Attitude

Your child stands there with their arms crossed. This is dumb. This is stupid. I don’t want to go. You never. She never. I never. It’s not fair. You’re not fair. Life is not fair. I hate this. I hate her. I hate you. It is as if someone hijacked your sweet child and replaced them with a ball of negativity. A ball of black darkness that you want to run and hide from. A ball of bad attitude that has the power of permeating your house and everyone in it.

Child anxiety and OCD not only overwhelms a child, but it can sour a child. It can suck the joy out of everything, leaving behind a child who is so miserable, they rarely see the sparkle of life anymore.

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PSP 041: Interview with Author Dawn Huebner, Anxiety Expert and Author of What to Do When You Worry Too Much

PSP 041: Interview with Author Dawn Huebner, Anxiety Expert and Author of What to Do When You Worry Too Much

Parenting a child with anxiety or OCD can be confusing, overwhelming and lonely. If you have a child struggling with anxiety or OCD, you most likely have read one of Dawn Huebner’s books. Dawn Huebner is an anxiety expert and best selling author of What to Do When You Worry Too Much and What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck. Her new book Outsmarting Worry offers kids a wonderfully in-depth approach on how to beat their anxiety and/or OCD. Listen in as I talk to Dawn Huebner about her insights on how to parent kids with anxiety and OCD.

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 51: What does Symmetry OCD Look Like in Children: Learn How to Help Them.

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 51: What does Symmetry OCD Look Like in Children: Learn How to Help Them.

She grabs the door. She pulls once with her left hand and then once with her right. She sits waiting for the bus. Tap tap goes her left foot. Tap tap goes her right. The teacher hands out crayons. The little boy next to her hands her five. Five is not right, she quickly hands one back. She waits for her mom to pick her up. Her eyes scan the corners of the building. One, two, three, four she counts to herself. All is safe. All is right in her little world controlled by symmetry OCD. Symmetry OCD is almost always missed by parents. The subtle movements to balance the body, the small gestures to tap just right. The mental games hidden in the dark recesses of the mind. It is often only discovered after years of balancing. Years of counting. Years of compulsions. Let’s talk about how to spot Symmetry OCD and how to help kids who have that OCD theme.

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 50: How to Empower Your Child, Not Your Child’s OCD

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 50: How to Empower Your Child, Not Your Child’s OCD

Do you feel like you are bossed around by your child’s OCD? Do you find yourself doing things a particular way, so as not to upset your child? Most kids will involve their parents in their rituals. So what are you supposed to do?

There are ways to empower your child, without empowering your child’s OCD. Here’s how….

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 49: How a Power Pose Can Help Children with Anxiety & OCD

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 49: How a Power Pose Can Help Children with Anxiety & OCD

My daughter stands over the balcony. “I’m scared. I can’t sleep.” I look up at her little body. “Brave face!” I encourage. She sighs and then strikes her brave face power pose. Her head held up high, her arms on both hips, her lips pursed and eyes ready for battle. “Good!” I say. “Now what do you need to tell yourself?” She holds her pose and says the words I was hoping she would say, “I am safe in this house! We are all safe in this house!” And with that she is off to go try again.

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 48: How to Help Kids with OCD, Even When They Don’t Want Help!

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 48: How to Help Kids with OCD, Even When They Don’t Want Help!

Your child denies they have a problem. They deny all their compulsions. They don’t want your help. They don’t want to go to therapy. What are you supposed to do with that? Do you force them to fight OCD? Do you throw up your hands and give up? Or is there a way to help kids with OCD, even without them being a willing participant?

I was on Facebook Live talking about ways parents can help their kids with OCD, even if their child doesn’t want help. I have put the conversation on YouTube.

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PSP 037: 3 Things I Wish Every Parent Raising a Child with OCD Would Do

PSP 037: 3 Things I Wish Every Parent Raising a Child with OCD Would Do

Raising a child with OCD can be incredibly difficult. After seeing children with OCD in my practice for so many years, there are three things I wish every parent would do.

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 47: What is the Difference Between a Child with an OCD Compulsion Versus a Habit?

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 47: What is the Difference Between a Child with an OCD Compulsion Versus a Habit?

It’s always something. Right now it is doorways. She has to tap them twice as she enters or leaves a room. Next month that will go away and something equally bizarre and irrational will come and take its place. But she’s not hurting anyone. She just always has some “quirky” behavior. But what if it isn’t quirky behavior. What if it isn’t a habit or a routine? What if it is an OCD compulsion. A compulsion that when done over and over again strengths her need to do more and more compulsions.

OCD loves when others write it off. It loves when it is not taken seriously. It hides behind words like habits, routines and quirks. It hides behind ignorance. If a child is showing any OCD compulsions it is important to start working on the issue right away. When OCD hasn’t been around for years and years it is much easier to defeat.

So are you missing your child’s compulsions? Let me explain how to spot the difference.

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 46: Child OCD & Anxiety: Helping Siblings Understand What is Happening

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 46: Child OCD & Anxiety: Helping Siblings Understand What is Happening

You are in the car trying to coax your child to go to school. You are in their bedroom trying to help them calm down. You are at the dinner table, negotiating what they will eat. All the while, little eyes watch from a distance. They watch as they are late to school. They listen as they wait for you to come into their room. They silently eat as all eyes are focused on the little mouth that refuses to eat. They quickly move out of the way, when angry, anxious fists come flying in their direction. Having a sibling with child OCD or anxiety can be overwhelming, confusing and scary.

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PSP 035: Emetophobia: When Kids Fear Throwing Up

PSP 035: Emetophobia: When Kids Fear Throwing Up

She’s been in school for two hours. An hour longer than yesterday. I reluctantly answer my phone. “Mom,” I hear her say. “I’m feeling really sick. Can you pick me up?” My daughter doesn’t have the stomach flu. She doesn’t have the latest virus. She has emetophobia, a phobia so intense it is actually making her sick.

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 45: OCD Symptoms in Teens: Are you Missing the Signs?

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 45: OCD Symptoms in Teens: Are you Missing the Signs?

“He’s really oppositional!” The mom vents. “Honestly it takes a miracle to get him to do anything. Don’t even get me started on how long it takes him to get out of the house in the morning.” She takes a breath and continues, “And no one can go into his room. One time I entered his room without his permission and he had a complete meltdown.” This is often my initial introduction to a teen whose main issue isn’t opposition, but rather OCD. OCD symptoms in teens are often misconstrued as oppositional or quirky behavior.

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 44: Child OCD: How to Explain OCD to Kids

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 44: Child OCD: How to Explain OCD to Kids

Her small frame sits, hunched over on my therapy couch. She looks at the ceiling. She looks at the floor. She looks everywhere and anywhere as long as it is not my eyes. Finally, she opens her mouth to speak. “I have bad thoughts.” She whispers. “Sometimes to get rid of them I have to do things in threes.” She sits, waiting for the condemnation. Waiting for the concern and judgment to ooze from my face. I sit nodding and she continues. She tells me things I have heard a zillion times before. Things that come from living in the shadows of child OCD.

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 43: When is it Time to Consider Anxiety or OCD Medication for Kids?

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 43: When is it Time to Consider Anxiety or OCD Medication for Kids?

Your child is balled up on the floor – again. She has been like this for hours. Nothing you do or say seems to penetrate her wall of pure terror. You remind her of all the tools she’s learned in therapy, but the words just drip off her limp body. It looks like another school day will be passing her by. How long can this go on? When should you start considering anxiety and OCD medication for her?

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PSP 032: When Kids have to Confess Bad Thoughts: Helping Scrupulosity OCD

PSP 032: When Kids have to Confess Bad Thoughts: Helping Scrupulosity OCD

“Mom I need to talk to you,” you hear your son whisper again. “I’m having bad thoughts.” You know where this is headed. This is the tenth time today he’s pulled you aside to talk. “Two years ago, I think I did something bad,” he confesses. His voice trails off as your mind starts to wonder. What is going on? Why does my son have to confess every thought, behavior and memory he thinks is bad? Why don’t my reassurances make him feel better? You remember once reading something about scrupulosity OCD, could that be what is going on?

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