5 Things Every Child with OCD Should Know: Here is #2 This video is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the guidance of a qualified professional. The reason why OCD is so hard to control is because kids (and parents) often do what feels intuitively right – they rationalize, problem-solve and feed OCD. -If OCD says to be afraid of germs, […]
It might surprise some people that the fear of throwing up, Emetophobia, is one of the most common anxiety and OCD themes. For those of us raising a child with it, it isn’t surprising at all! Sometimes this fear is triggered by an event or experience, but often it is the imagination alone that causes this immobilizing concern. We all throw up and many of us see others throw up, but we are able to move past it without too much residual impact.
OCD can make kids feel guilty, gross, or crazy. It is one of the main reasons why people often keep their intrusive thoughts and feelings to themselves. What if people think I’m crazy? What if they think I’m weird? What if they think I’m sick or disgusting? The truth is, we all have intrusive thoughts and feelings. We all have thoughts that feel foreign, bizarre, or disturbing. Many of us might hyperfocus on a bodily function or get an image or song stuck in our heads.
We will all fall short sometimes and so will our children with anxiety or OCD. They will avoid, they will crumble, they will give in to their anxiety or OCD. That is all par for the course. More often than not they will view these situations as “failures.” They might beat themselves up or use the experience as evidence that they can’t do it again.
Summer is here and with that comes extra free time for most of our kids with anxiety or OCD. You would think that would be a wonderful thing. Less pressure from school, homework and peer interactions. Less places to be and less things to do. But for some of our kids that extra downtime can actually increase their anxiety or OCD issues.
Anxiety and OCD love to feed on avoidance. It will make our kids avoid all sorts of things. But the most powerful thing it can make them avoid is even talking about anxiety or OCD. When they avoid talking about anxiety or OCD they can’t make progress. It keeps them stuck in a loop that continues to grow anxiety or OCD.
It’s hard enough to parent a child with anxiety or OCD, but when your own mental health issues are added to the mix, it can be all-encompassing. But it’s not all bad. Having your own anxiety or OCD issues can help you be a better parent to a child with anxiety or OCD.
There are so many things we want to control in our lives. None of us want to die, get sick, get rejected, get judged, get hurt. None of us want to be overwhelmed with feelings of hurt, harm, embarrassment or disgust. None of us want to second guess our actions, behaviors or future.
It is so tempting to try and rationalize with our child’s OCD. It’s a knee jerk reaction that most of us do at some point. We might try to problem-solve their OCD issues away. We might try to bombard them with facts. We might try to convince them that their compulsive behavior won’t do what OCD says it will do.
How often do we hear from family, friends, and even doctors that we should “wait and see” if it gets worse. We should wait and see if the anxiety or OCD grows bigger. We should wait and see if anxiety or OCD becomes debilitating. We should wait and see if it is truly an issue.
OCD is tricky. It can seem easy to outsmart. Maybe if I just argue with it, I can crush it with facts. Maybe if I just take preventative measures, it will leave me alone. Maybe if I just do what it wants, it will finally go away.
OCD can be stigmatizing enough, but when you add sexual themes it can add another layer of guilt and shame. It can also make parents and even therapists uncomfortable! How are you supposed to deal with a sexual intrusive thought that makes you squirm? What if your child’s lack of motivation is due to the embarrassment over the content of their thoughts?
Many kids have fears of animals and insects, but for some it can dominate their lives. They might worry about seeing the feared animal or insect. They might go out of their way to avoid an encounter. It might be an all consuming fear that impacts the things they love and enjoy.
There are many things that can put a strain on marriages. Once the honeymoon is over it can be a struggle to agree on finances, household chores and parenting. When anxiety or OCD is in the mix it can make a hard situation even harder.