OCD aka Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a kind of anxiety disorder known to affect adults and children alike. Individuals with OCD are constantly preoccupied about things that may be dirty, wrong, harmful or dangerous. These thoughts can disrupt their thought process and affect their quality of life considerably.
Children in particular, find it extremely hard to deal with OCD owing to the fact that they don’t have a clue as to why they end up doing what they do. Parents on their part, also find it difficult to handle kids with OCD. However, if left untreated, the condition and its symptoms can worsen, affecting the child’s productivity in every walk of life.
Symptoms that need to be noticed
Some rather common obsessions children with OCD experience regularly include fear of contamination from touching people or everyday items, obsessing about keeping everything arranged symmetrically, excessive doubts about every day chores, fears of inflicting harm on others and superstitious fears.
Kids with OCD also tend to experience quite a number of compulsions. These include compulsive bathing or washing, repeated rituals pertaining to body behavior and everyday habits, repletion of prayers and chants for good luck and avoidance of certain situations which they feel will lead to something bad.
If untreated, OCD can lead to several secondary problems that can greatly affect a child’s quality of life as he/she grows. Some of the problems include behavioral issues, sleep disturbances, academic difficulties and peer conflicts, etc.
Tips to Handle Kids with OCD
Many parents tend to believe that soothing a kid with OCD will help reduce the symptoms. On the contrary, it will only elevate the symptoms and make the more severe. As such, here are some tips that can help parents handle kids with OCD better.
- Educating kids is a must
Many kids with OCD are not even aware of their condition or why they do certain things. They also tend to believe that they are the only ones suffering from it. As such, parents need to sit down with their kids and discuss about OCD and its symptoms. They will also need to point out that OCD affects other kids as well. This alone will help a kid with OCD come to terms with his/her condition better. This way, they will cooperate with the treatment in a more efficient manner as well.
- Making OCD a name or theme helps
Kids with OCD are often confused about the symptoms that accompany the condition. They tend to get scared about their repetitive actions, fearing that it is some unseen force that is making them do these things. Turning the condition into a joke by assigning it a name or theme will allow kids to lose their fear of it. This, in turn, can help them work towards handling OCD and its symptoms better.
For instance, instead of calling it OCD, one can associate the condition with a name like Mr. Germs or Mr. Worry. Parents can then talk about a story involving the condition to be a trickster who sets up silly rules and bothers kids constantly. An interesting take on the situation will also encourage kids with OCD to face the symptoms bravely instead of fearing them.
- Do not take part in the rituals
Some parents tend to help kids with OCD complete their rituals in order to soothe them. However, this will only encourage the kids to continue with the rituals as well as follow new ones with time. Parents need to take a firm stand when it comes to participating in the ritualistic actions of kids with OCD. They will need to refrain from helping their kids out and firmly ask them to stop doing the same with time.
- Guidance helps better than quick fix solutions
OCD is not a headache that can be cured within a few hours. Neither is it a fever that can be taken care of in a day. OCD is a behavioral disorder that needs time and patience to be handled in the most efficient manner. Rather than searching for quick fix solutions, parents will need to offer ample guidance to their kids in order to help the latter overcome their obsessions and compulsions one by one. Lending a helping hand while the little ones battle it out with the same is the best thing parents can do to treat OCD in their children.
Kids with OCD as well as their parents tend to find it hard to handle the condition and its symptoms. Parents need to offer ample guidance to their kids in addition to following certain rules and tips in order to help their kids battle OCD better.