Why Reassurance Doesn’t Help Children with Anxiety and OCD

“You’re going to be okay honey,” you say for the hundredth time that hour. Your words drip off her deaf ears. Why won’t she believe you? She asks you to tell her again. You take a deep breath and offer her more reassurance. It is like pouring water into a bucket that can never be filled up. Is this how you are supposed to help children with anxiety and OCD?


We all reassure our children with anxiety and OCD, but does it help or actually make their anxiety and OCD worse? Could we do something better?

You would think that offering reassurance would help anxious children, but in reality it isn’t helpful at all. Sorry to burst your bubble. But parenting children with anxiety or OCD is like trying to write with the wrong hand. Everything you typically do as a parent just won’t work. Reassurance is the enemy of anxiety and OCD and instead of putting out the fire it is like pouring gasoline on a blaze. It’s just not a good idea.

Before you start to mentally beat yourself up, relax. We all reassure our anxious kids. We all reassure our kids with OCD. Who wouldn’t. We are all human with beating hearts. But it is good to be more intentional with how you talk to your child. It is good to have a mental game plan, even if you wind up throwing it out the window some most of the time.

Let me help you make a game plan. Let me help you pour some intention into parenting your child with anxiety and/or OCD.

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