OCD loves to get our kids on the hamster wheel of rules, compulsions and avoidance. It dangles a carrot that says, “Just do what I want and all your discomfort will go away.” When our kids believe OCD’s lies they live in a world that is controlled by OCD.
When you have OCD you hand over all power to a glitch in your brain. You allow OCD to construct rules, beliefs and compulsions that hold you prisoner. Unfortunately the more you feed this OCD glitch, the bigger the glitch grows. The rules morph, the OCD compulsions shift, and the cycle becomes never ending.
OCD likes to hook into everything, including our child’s emotions. It is common for people to have OCD themes around emotions.
The math is simple. The more compulsions our kids do, the bigger their OCD will grow. And yet, OCD can make it feel more complicated in their head. It can make them go to the mental gym weighing out the dangers. It can make them calculate the risks. It can make them believe that their safety or even their identity is at risk.
So how do they stop fueling their OCD? First, they should learn what things are compulsions. Kids (and parents) often miss compulsions that only consist of avoidance, accommodations or mental activities. Second, they need to build their muscles to not fuel their OCD. The best way to reduce OCD is to cut off the fuel line. That can take time, patience and perseverance – but it is the sure fire way to reduce OCD symptoms in the long-term.
Anticipatory anxiety can be just as paralyzing as other anxiety themes. When we live in the world of what-ifs we can build up so much anxiety that we are immobilized by the time the situation or event arrives. It can help to teach our kids to build up skills on how to manage their anxiety prior to the situation. When they proactively quell the monumental avalanche of anxious thoughts they show up for the event/situation with less anxiety. In this week’s YouTube video for kids and teens I talk about some approaches to handle and reduce anticipatory anxiety.
How does your child talk to themselves when faced with anxiety or OCD struggles? How they show up to these anxiety or OCD issues can make all the difference. Do they cheer for themselves or do they cheer for anxiety or OCD? In this week’s Youtube video I talk to kids and teens about how our internal dialogue around anxiety or OCD is crucial.
There is a difference between OCD coping strategies and OCD treatment strategies. When we talk about OCD treatment we are focusing on ERP, Exposure Response Prevention, a type of CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy. In order to get relief from OCD we tell kids to lean in and often do the opposite of what OCD compulsions want them to do. But what do they do to cope with the stress, anxiety and overwhelm OCD typically brings with it? What do they do when OCD symptoms are taking a toll? In this week’s YouTube video I talk to kids and teens about the difference between OCD coping strategies and OCD treatments and how to do both.
Does Your Child think Anxiety or OCD is Keeping Them Safe? Often kids who are resistant to help will tell me their anxiety or OCD is keeping them “safe.” I have plans, just in case… I am more cautious and it has kept me safe… I play out scenarios so I’m prepared… Although we all should have a healthy relationship with fear and intuition, anxiety […]