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.
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.
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.
Working on OCD is like pulling weeds. Our kids are slowly taking their garden back by eliminating one OCD compulsion at a time (or several at a time!). The less they do compulsions, the weaker OCD becomes. But what if they let some new compulsions grow some early roots? What if they focus so hard on the weeds in front of them, they miss the new weeds starting to form in the distance? What if they want people to see a clean garden, so they hide the new weeds to everyone but themselves? In this week’s Youtube video I talk to kids and teens about the importance of pulling out those small OCD weeds and preventing any new OCD compulsions from ever taking root.
OCD loves to dictate everything, including what words and topics your child and other people around them can use. It’s an OCD trap. The more they avoid these words and topics, the smaller their world becomes. OCD will eventually have them avoid words and topics similar to those they are already avoiding. Before they know it, they’ll have a long list of things OCD says they have to avoid. A list that is impossible to avoid without impacting everyone’s life. In this week’s YouTube video for kids and teens I discuss how OCD will want them to avoid certain words and topics and how to get their power back from OCD.
OCD isn’t just about physical compulsions, there are mental compulsions as well. Compulsions are compulsions whether they are physical or mental. All of them serve to make OCD bigger and more overwhelming. So how are you supposed to help your child with mental compulsions? In this week’s Youtube video I talk to kids and teens about what mental compulsions are and the best strategies to decrease them.
So many parents ask me, “How can I stop my child’s compulsions?” The quick answer is, you can’t. You can stop your participation in them, but you can’t force your child to not do compulsions. And even if you can, it isn’t going to bring your child long term success. In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast I address this common question and explore what parents can and cannot do to help their kids with OCD.
OCD isn’t always about fears, sometimes it is about feelings. A feeling of incompleteness is common in OCD. One way OCD shows up is in the feeling you didn’t “catch it all.” You might have a feeling of incompleteness or it might trigger other themes like, “am I lying if I said I read this?” Or “will something bad happen if I don’t reread or rewatch this?” This can cause people with OCD to read and reread lines, paragraphs or chapters. It can make people rewind and rewatch videos over and over again. It can make you ask people to repeat themselves or explain themselves over and over again.
How to Help Kids with Contamination OCD Contamination OCD can make kids feel contaminated by anything, not just germs. It can be a thought, a feeling or a person that makes something contaminated. I have seen kids who were consumed with contamination around bodily fluids, dust, “bad” people, and cleaning supplies to just name a few! OCD can be creative on what it makes kids […]
How to Help Kids with OCD Checking Behavior It starts off with a little nag. Did you do it? Are you sure? The uncertainty grows. The nagging impulse grows. Check! Check again! Until eventually the child caves and checks. But OCD checking behavior is a trap. Mental quick sand, I like to call it. It catches people in a vicious loop that they can’t get […]