Having OCD can be a lonely experience. Kids can feel like there is no one else out there who gets their struggles. And really, who can blame them? The media (and even worse social media) often spend their time talking about OCD like it’s a meme or an adjective.
There is one thing we know for sure, OCD likes to play whac-a-mole. OCD will shift and change over time. It wears many disguises and often goes undetected. Would your child or teen know how to spot new OCD themes when they are just starting to form? It is helpful for us as parents to understand what to look for, but even more important for our kids to know themselves!
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?
When to Push and When Not to Push Our Kids with Anxiety or OCD? Raising a child with anxiety or OCD is a balancing act. We have to learn when to push and when to not push our kids with anxiety or OCD. We want to empower them without overwhelming them. We want to validate their fears without always accommodating them. But how can you […]
Helping Kids Who Struggle to Eat with ARFID and OCD OCD is scary enough, but when it starves your child it is alarming. That is how it feels when OCD goes for the one thing your child can’t live without – food. In this episode of the AT Parenting Survival Podcast I talk about ARFID and OCD. ARFID stands for Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder […]
OHow to Overcome OCD: What Many People Get Wrong Often in my practice people asked, “Natasha, when will the OCD thoughts and feelings go away?” I would tell them they are asking the wrong question. What they should be asking is, “When will I be able to handle the discomfort these thoughts and feelings cause?” Because that is really what we are doing in OCD […]
Why Mental Health Professionals are Missing Signs of OCD When you get assessed by a mental health professional you assume that they would be well versed in all possible diagnoses. You assume they will identify, diagnose and treat any possible mental health struggle. Unfortunately that assumption is not only wrong, but dangerous. OCD seems to be the step-child of mental health education and training. Which […]
Have you ever wondered what your child with OCD is going through? What their life is like growing up with OCD?
I had the pleasure of talking to John Tessitore, the founder of the JCK Foundation. He was willing to get raw with me and share some personal details of what life was like growing up with thoughts he hid from the outside world.
OCD is a complete bully. It tells your kids what to do and how to do it. It makes them worry about things they know will never happen. It hijacks their fears and presents them as real. It is truly a cruel disorder. But there is hope. Kids can learn to fight OCD by bullying it back.
Exposure Response Prevention, most commonly referred to as ERP, is without a doubt the most effective treatment approach to combating OCD. The tricky part… Getting kids to buy into ERP and see why it is beneficial.
Your child can’t wear certain clothes. They have to walk in certain patterns. They touch here. They touch there. All in an effort to ward off something bad from happening. Are they crazy? Psychotic. Absolutely not. They know these behaviors are irrational. They get that wearing a shirt isn’t going to ward off bad luck. And yet, they feel an intense urge to do it anyway. This is the trap child OCD sets for our kids. This is the prison our children live in.
Your child is bombarded with “bad thoughts.” They are asking you bizarre questions that are stopping you dead in your tracks. What if I hurt myself? What if I hurt you? What if I set the house on fire? What if I jump in front of a train? What if I left a scratch on your car? They riddle every conversation with apologies and more questions. They are consumed with worry. They don’t want to have these thoughts. They don’t want to hurt themselves or other people. But they can’t make these thoughts stop. These thoughts scare you. These thoughts scare them. Welcome to the world of Harm OCD. Harm OCD is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed.
Doubt is a big part of OCD. It makes you doubt you are clean. It makes you doubt you are safe. But imagine if the doubt OCD brings makes you doubt who you are and what you are capable of doing? Welcome to the world of Scrupulosity OCD,sometimes referred to as Moral OCD, Religious OCD or even Bad Thought OCD. What if I become a killer? What if I am a bad kid? What if I hurt someone? What if I hurt myself? What if I drink, smoke, do drugs, get tattoos?! What if I turn into the worst version of myself? Will I go to Hell? Will you leave me? Never speak to me again? Scrupulosity OCD is one of the hardest OCD themes to cope with because it feels so real. Because it attacks the very essence of who the person is and who they want to become. The worst part about it – most parents and children don’t even know they have OCD.
Having OCD is hard enough, but being a kid or teenager with OCD is even harder. Many children with OCD think they are the only ones suffering with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. They don’t realize that OCD in kids is much more common than they think! They struggle alone and many wonder how on earth they are supposed to beat OCD.
Anxiety and OCD love to hide. They love when kids deny they exist. They love when you can’t see them. They love when they are missed. So it makes sense that the first line of defense in your child’s battle with anxiety or OCD should be communication. When your child learns how to talk about anxiety and OCD – the problems can no longer hide.
So you might be saying, yeah that’s great, but how exactly do I get my kid to talk? Well that might be a bit tricky. Some kids don’t like to talk about anxiety or OCD. Some kids want to deny they are having issues right up until they implode. And some kids just need a little help with how to communicate such overwhelming and often embarrassing feelings.
If you want some creative ideas on how to get kids to talk about anxiety and OCD, have them watch this YouTube video I created just for them. I talk about why it is important that they communicate with you about their struggles and some out of the box ideas on how to do it!