If you have a child with obsessive compulsive disorder, it may sometimes feel like a difficult battle that will never end. While nothing can replace professional help, there are some things you can do at home to help your child cope with OCD.
Here are some at home coping skills for child OCD:
First it is important to understand the facts of anxiety. While anxiety is a normal and adaptive system of the body, there are some times when it becomes unhealthy. According to anxietybc.com, “Anxiety becomes a problem when our body tells us that there is danger when there is no real danger.” When your OCD child can understand anxiety, it will help her to understand her situation and what to do about it.
It’s very important that you explain OCD to your child. Give an age-appropriate explanation of what the disorder is, what causes it, what the symptoms are and what can be done about it. You might give the disorder a nickname or explain it like a hiccup or a computer virus. This is a great way for the child to understand the condition and what is happening to her.
Give Lots of Praise
It’s important to praise your OCD child when she makes an attempt to beat the OCD bug. Verbal praise goes a long way in helping your child beat OCD as well as rewards at home, spending time together and giving tokens, tickets, stickers or other methods of positive reinforcement.
Face Fears Head-On
There are some cases of OCD where you need to face fears head-on. You need to help your child to understand that some fears are unwarranted and the best way to beat them is to face them head-on and take control back from OCD instead of letting it control you. This is sometimes referred to as Exposure and Response Prevention in the OCD recovery field. Your child will learn to reduce the negative behaviors and responses by facing fears head-on in a healthy way.
Take Control of OCD
Teaching your child to take control of OCD involves learning to fight back against the condition that threatens to control her life. Teach her that she is the boss and she has the ultimate decision to know when she is ready to reduce, change or eliminate stress or rituals in her life that give OCD the control.
Use Coping Strategies
Using coping strategies is one way to help take control of OCD. Coping cards will help put things into perspective as well as roleplaying or other methods of helping your child know how to cope with certain situations that may arise. As a parent, it’s up to you to help your child develop the coping mechanisms to get through the complexities that OCD will create. When you help your OCD child create these coping strategies, they will stay with her throughout the rest of her life.
The Facts on Obsessions
The truth about obsessions is that everyone has them. It’s important that your OCD child know that these are normal and that just because you have a bad thought, does not mean you will act on it. Thinking about something won’t make it happen. Thinking bad thoughts does not make you a bad person. The best way to handle bad/obsessive thoughts is to just ignore them. Don’t allow them to have any control in your life.
Now that you have these at home coping skills for child OCD, you are ready to create a plan to help your obsessive compulsive child today. While these tips should not replace the professional advice of your pediatrician or therapist, they can help you to supplement what the professionals tell you.
OCD does not have to rule your life or your child’s. As a parent with OCD with children with the condition as well, I am here to give you inspiration and hope that you can get through this. Following these tips a well as finding a solid support group of like-minded people will help you overcome the challenges that OCD creates in life.