Harm OCD in Kids: What it is and How to Help
Your child is starting to talk about “bad thoughts.” They worry they might hurt someone. They worry they might hurt themselves. This behavior is out of the blue. They promise they don’t want to kill themselves, but they worry it will happen anyway. They don’t want to jump in front of a car, but what if they do? They don’t want to stab you, but what if they do? The questions don’t stop there. What if something they do winds up killing those they love? What if they don’t wash well enough, pick up good enough, do things carefully enough. Would that put others at risk? Welcome to the world of Harm OCD. The one OCD theme that has parents running to professionals more than any other OCD theme.
OCD is often missed or mislabeled in kids, especially Harm OCD. Parents don’t know what to make of these unrelenting thoughts and are overwhelmed with the constant need for reassurance. Professionals aren’t always well versed in OCD and may misconstrue these intrusive thoughts as real, thereby validating the child and parent’s worse fear and making the OCD worse.
I receive many frantic phone calls from parents worrying that their child has suddenly turned into a suicidal or homicidal maniac. They speak in hushed tones and beg for an appointment right away.
The truth is harm OCD is a very common form of OCD and has nothing to do with the dark, disturbing thoughts they create in our children.
So what is Harm OCD and how can you help your child survive it? Let me explain…
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Articles on Harm OCD:
Books and Resources on Childhood OCD:
Online Parenting Class: Learn How to Teach Your Kids to Crush OCD