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.
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.
How to Help Kids with Anxiety or OCD Transition to College This episode is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the guidance of a qualified professional. Going to college can bring a mix of emotions. Many kids feel excitement and some trepidation. But kids with anxiety or OCD can be overwhelmed with the transition. They can worry about being far from […]
How do you define success when it comes to getting anxiety or OCD under control? What does “recovery” look like to you? What does it look like to your child? How we view success and how we convey it to our kids is critical. In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast, I explore what a healthy view of “success” looks like and how to communicate that effectively to our kids.
When kids feel stigma attached to their OCD they are less likely to want to discuss it or receive treatment. One of the first steps we can do to help kids with OCD is to help remove the stigma society has placed on this disorder. In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast I talk about the importance of removing stigma around OCD and concrete ways to do that.
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.
When we are raising kids with OCD it is important that we fully understand the therapeutic approaches our kids are being taught in therapy. Ultimately we will want our kids to be able to utilize those tools throughout their life. The use of imaginal scripts can be an effective tool in their OCD toolbox. In this episode of the AT Parenting Survival Podcast I explore what imaginal scripts are, how to write an effective one and the most common pitfalls that make them less effective.
Your kids have a predictable relationship with OCD. OCD gives them an intrusive thought or feeling and they do their part in responding. A key part in getting OCD relief is disrupting this predictable OCD loop. In this week’s Youtube video, I’ll teach them how to disrupt OCD compulsions to throw OCD off-kilter and start taking their life back.
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 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.
Have you ever noticed that when you try to rationalize your child’s OCD intrusive thoughts away it doesn’t help? Even when you tell them their compulsions don’t make sense, they have a hard time not doing them? That feeling of danger, incompleteness, or fear is not in their mind, it’s in their brain. There is a biological reason why they can’t shake off those uncomfortable feelings. Once they understand the science behind their doubt, it will make more sense why it is so important for them to override those feelings and not give in to OCD’s demands. In this week’s Youtube video, I talk to kids, teens and young adults about why those OCD intrusive thoughts feel so real and what to do about it.
One of the most common anxiety themes is the fear of choking. Kids with this fear often hyperfocus on what they eat and how they eat. At its worst they can avoid all sorts of foods that they feel are “unsafe.” This can limit their diet and cause nutritional issues. In this week’s Youtube video I talk to kids and teens about the fear of choking and what they can do to overcome it.
Dealing with OCD isn’t like dealing with a cold. It isn’t cured and then we move on. It can help to shift our perspective to focus on how to live and, more importantly, thrive with OCD. In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast I talk about how to shift our kids from a victim to an empowerment mentality (and us as well)! We also dive into how to create a lifestyle that acknowledges and works on OCD organically within the home environment.