Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that affects not only adults but even kids and teens, disrupting their daily activities. People with OCD usually have uncontrollable, recurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions or rituals) that they need to repeat again and again. However, there are specific ways through which the impact of OCD can be reduced. So, if you are looking for ways to help your kid deal with OCD, read the following tips to help them.
1. Sit Through Their Treatments
If your kids have been diagnosed with OCD, they will be advised to get cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) along with medication to increase serotonin levels in their body. As a parent, you must be involved in your child’s treatment. Make sure you sit through this specialized psychotherapy to understand its impact on your child and how you can use it in their day-to-day life.
Similarly, you should also learn about the special type of cognitive behavior therapy, known as exposure and response prevention (ERP), to help your child benefit from the treatment. This therapy is considered the gold standard treatment for OCD and has shown tremendous results. Along with these, you should keep yourself updated about the latest research and findings to get a better insight of OCD.
2. Encourage Communication
Most of the time, kids with OCD are embarrassed about their behavior. They would often isolate themselves, shut down, and will stop asking for help from parents, teachers, and even friends. So, as parents, you must let them know that you are always there for them and open for communication. Support your child without any judgments and encourage them to speak about their feelings and frustration without any hesitation.
3. Do Not Enable OCD
Do not take part in your child’s obsessions or compulsions or change your behavior to accommodate their needs. When you start accommodating your kid’s OCD, you are enabling their disorder and strengthening the issue rather than making them fight OCD. For instance, instead of changing your clothes because your kid does not like it, tell them, “I love the outfit and I am feeling very comfortable in it. I am sure my caring son will like it too when I am completely ready.” This will give your child an incentive to try and fight the OCD.
4. Do Not Blame Your Kids
Never blame your kids for their OCD and its related behaviors. Understand that it was not their choice, it has just happened to them, and they are also struggling with the issue. So, instead of blaming your child for washing their hands over and over again, explain to them that it’s not their fault but that of OCD. You can even keep a funny name for OCD to separate your child from OCD. You can say things like, “Crulle de Vil is making you wash your hands,” or “Ursula is making you do this thing,” and so on. Always speak about OCD in the third person. This will make your kids less embarrassed and make them willing to fight the negative characters.
5. Give Your Kids Some Separate Time
There is absolutely no need to monitor your kids 24/7. Although you might feel the natural urge to protect them, let them have some alone time in the house. This will make them slightly independent and help them understand that there is more to life than anxiety. You can even discuss the boundaries with your kid and consult the doctor.
6. Do Not Change Your Family Routine
Just because your child does not like anyone to visit your house does not mean you prohibit your partner or your other kids from inviting their friends over. This will lead to a lot of resentment and animosity among siblings. Instead, gently inform your child about the needs of their siblings and other family members and encourage them to tame their anxiety.
7. Reward Your Kids Efforts To Manage OCD
It takes a lot of willpower and courage for kids to manage their OCD. So, whenever you see your kids doing their best to tackle OCD, praise their efforts and reward them. For instance, if your kid has achieved the agreed goal of washing their hands only once, cook their favorite dessert and do an activity they love together as a reward. This will eventually encourage them to keep trying.
8. Work As a Team
Tackling OCD can be challenging for your kid as well as for you. So, make sure you work as a team with your family members. Inform your family about the basic dos and don’ts, your methodology, and ways of tackling their meltdowns, among other things, to ensure that everyone is in sync to help your kid with OCD. Get everyone on board to create a structure that meets everyone’s demands.
Overall, do things that can help your kid deal with their anxiety positively and encourage them to fight it.
You can also read 5 Food and Drinks to Avoid Giving to Your Kids