It can be hard to know how to beat OCD and even harder to find an OCD therapist with the expertise to guide you through it!
That is why I created my new book, Crushing OCD Workbook for Kids. I took all my clinical skills from my practice and poured it into this book so kids can learn all they need to know one engaging activity at a time.
As parents we are often desperate to provide our children with tools to help their OCD. We might scour the internet trying to find an OCD specialist; not an easy feat. Or if we are lucky enough to have found an OCD specialist, we might want to know what we can do at home to fill in the gaps.
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.
When you have OCD it is helpful to identify the OCD compulsions you are doing that are growing your OCD and making your OCD worse. Unfortunately just because someone has OCD doesn’t mean they understand OCD.
It can feel like there is nothing you can do if your child refuses to work on anxiety or OCD. But in reality, that is far from true. We are one piece of the puzzle when it comes to our child’s anxiety or OCD, but it is still an important piece.
Dealing with our child’s anxiety or OCD is taxing enough, but sometimes there is another layer of stress. Often our child’s struggles can trigger something deep within us. A childhood wound, a flashback, a remnant of something that has remained dormant within us.
OCD is very convincing. It convinces our kids that there is a threat. It convinces them that they need to take action. It convinces them that they have full control.
Raising a child with Anxiety and OCD is hard enough, but when you and your partner are not on the same page, it can be even harder.
Is the cup half empty or half full for your child? How they view their world and their situation can make a huge difference in how they handle anxiety or OCD.
It is important for all kids to learn how to advocate for themselves. It is an especially important skill for kids with anxiety or OCD. Many of us feel like we have to go to bat for our kids with anxiety and OCD over and over again. But often we forget the important aspect of pulling back over time to teach our kids how to advocate for themselves. Self-advocacy builds self-esteem and empowerment. It helps kids learn that they have a voice. We can teach our kids to advocate for themselves in simple steps. In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast I talk about the ingredients to self-advocacy and how to build those skills one step at a time.
Ultimately we want our kids to live a life where they walk towards their anxiety or OCD fears and discomfort. The more they build those anxiety and OCD skills, the more resilient they will become. Natural exposures can help on two fronts. If your child is not ready to commit to formal ERP (Exposure Response Prevention), the main approach in OCD treatment, doing natural exposures can be a great first step. Second, we want our kids to develop an organic, authentic way of dealing with anxiety or OCD. When they learn how to create natural exposures when faced with triggers, they learn how to live their life while keeping anxiety or OCD at bay. In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast I explore how natural exposures can help and how to get them started.
OCD can make our kids do a ton of nonsensical things, including touching or tapping objects or people. This can happen due to all sorts of OCD intrusive thoughts. Perhaps something bad will happen if they don’t touch it. Maybe OCD says it won’t feel right until they do? Regardless of why OCD is demanding them to do it, how do they stop it? It comes down to how they would handle any OCD compulsion. OCD wants to be fed. It is an itch that wants to be scratched. The reality is, the more you scratch it, the more it itches. It is a vicious cycle that offers no long term relief. In this week’s YouTube video for kids and teens we talk about how to handle touching or tapping compulsions. Remember all compulsions can be handled in this same way.