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.
Getting relief from OCD is not rocket science. OCD is driven by intrusive thoughts that make our kids want to do compulsions. These compulsions can be mental, physical or even just avoidance. The more they do these compulsions, the more their discomfort grows, the more intrusive thoughts they have. OCD is predictable in that way. No matter what thoughts or OCD themes they have, this pattern exists. The only way to break out of this pattern is to have them see the illusions OCD is feeding them and disrupt the pattern that OCD wants them to follow.
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.
OCD can make our kids worry about all sorts of things. OCD comes in many disguises and themes. Harm OCD themes are often missed or misunderstood. In this week’s Youtube video I talk to kids and teens about what harm OCD themes look like and what they can do to get some OCD relief around this type of theme.
OCD exposures, ERP (Exposure Response Prevention), is the go-to strategy when working on OCD. But what if exposures don’t seem to be helping? In this week’s Youtube video I talk about one of the most common reasons why OCD exposures don’t work and what to do to make this OCD approach more effective.
OCD progress is not linear. It is often actually bumpy along the way. In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast, I explore why things can get messy and how to see beyond the messy to recognize the OCD progress.
The fear of throwing up is a common anxiety. In fact it is one of the most common anxiety themes I saw in my therapy practice. Emetophobia, the fear of throwing up, impacts many people. But most people suffering from the fear of throwing up get this one thing wrong. They work hard on convincing themselves that they won’t throw up. Unfortunately, that only serves to grow Emetophobia more. In this week’s Youtube video I talk to kids and teens about how to get relief from Emetophobia by outsmarting their anxiety and not falling for the trap that will grow it bigger.
Often when our kids have OCD intrusive thoughts the first thing they do is try to get those intrusive thoughts out of their head. They might do what OCD wants them to do. They might try to not think about it. They might debate, argue and fight OCD. Or they might try to come up with a practical solution to the problem OCD is presenting. The issue with all of those OCD solutions is that they are all based on the validity of what OCD is saying. When they take the OCD intrusive thought seriously, they are already hooked into OCD. In this Youtube video I talk to kids and teens about how to not get hooked into OCD’s lies from the start!
Teaching our kids to trust their gut instinct can be a lifesaver. But what do we do when anxiety or OCD feels like gut instinct? What if intuition is really their OCD magical thinking in disguise? In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast I explore the differences between gut instinct and intuition vs anxiety and OCD.
One of OCD’s most powerful weapons is the need to know things for certain. This can happen in so many OCD themes. . OCD convinces you that you won’t feel relief until you know *for sure*. The only problem is we’ll never be 100% certain about anything? So, in this week’s Youtube video I talk about how to handle OCD’s taunts about uncertainty and how to push back with your own powerful weapon – acceptance.
We all respond to perceived danger in different ways. It can help to understand the many ways our body and brains can respond to stress, so we are better equipped to handle it when it happens. In this week’s Youtube video I explain to kids and teens the fight, flight or freeze responses to fear and anxiety. I also discuss some ways to work through them.
Often kids and even parents are focusing on the wrong thing when it comes to OCD.
How can I make these thoughts go away?
I’m doing therapy, why are the thoughts still there?
How long does it take to make these thoughts or feelings leave?
These are the wrong questions. None of us have the power to stop intrusive thoughts or feelings. The only thing we have the power over is how we respond to these thoughts and feelings.
PSP 195: How to Help Your Child Maintain Progress with Anxiety or OCD So your child has just crushed their anxiety or OCD. You are feeling on top of the world and so are they. Now what? This is often when the ball is dropped. It is often when the seeds of the next infestation of weeds are left to grow, unchecked and unmanaged. But […]
Understanding Magical Thinking in OCD OCD symptoms and behaviors can look vastly different in each person. You might have a child who has compulsions centered around contamination while another person might have a child with compulsions around magical thinking. You might have a child with both! I always tell parents that you want to be well versed in all the many ways OCD can pop […]