The bond between children and their parents is undeniably strong and everlasting. A parent would want to ensure that his/her child stays away from any form of sickness and grows up as a healthy adult. This is the feeling that would encourage each and every parent to look at the physical as well as the mental health of their child.
Physical illnesses are visible and can be easily diagnosed but mental illnesses not so much. One such mental illness that commonly affects children is obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
OCD is a mental health condition in which a person develops irrepressible, recurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) and feels an urge to repeat them over and over again. Often triggered due to factors such as abuse, changes in living situation, illness, the death of a loved one, work- or school-related issues or relationship troubles, among other causes, the condition affects approximately one in 200 children in the U.S. according to the International OCD Foundation.
On this International Children’s Day, which is being observed on the 1st of June and aims to draw attention towards various issues faced by children across the globe, let’s share a few simple tips for parents to help them know about the ways in which they can help their child deal with OCD.
1. Educate child about OCD
A child with OCD might experience obsessive thoughts, such as the fear of losing things, fear of being contaminated by germs or compulsive behavior, such as excessively double-checking things or loved ones to ensure they are safe. When a parent observes this, it becomes important to comfort the child and explain to him/her that the symptoms experienced by him/her are the signs of OCD. Helping the child know that the condition has an impact on his/her thinking can be a great idea to help him/her feel better.
2. Treat OCD as an entity
This can help a great deal to bring in the required change in the child’s life. While it is true that OCD takes over one’s life quickly, it is important to encourage the child to consider it as a separate identity. Doing so can make it easier for the child to understand that OCD is a bully that is trying to control his/her behavior and he/she is not at fault. This will not only curb its symptoms but also end the blame game between parents and the child.
3. Avoid getting overzealous
While parents always want to fix their child’s problem quickly, this is certainly not possible in the case of OCD. Pointing out the problem in a child at every instance might instigate him/her to develop a secretive behavior about his/her OCD. Therefore, parents must understand that the required change cannot happen overnight and thus, must remain patient.
4. Helping them face fears
Helping the child to face his/her fears can assist their recovery. This can begin by enlisting all the rituals followed by the child, such as washing hands, and the situations in which he/she completes the same, such as when touching the doorknob. The Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) method can help a great deal in curing the condition, as it makes the child face his/her fears (exposure) and then, intentionally not fulfill the compulsions (response prevention). However, it should be done with a lot of compassion and not force.
5. Appreciate child’s improvement
While recovery takes time, it is important for the parents to be supportive and appreciate the efforts put in by the child. Noticing any signs of improvement definitely deserves applaud as trying to manage the condition may be tough for the child.
In case, the condition relapses, it is important that the parents do not lose hope and stand firm against their child’s mental illness, together with him/her.
Helping children attain recovery
It is the responsibility of parents to help their child walk smoothly on the path to recovery from OCD. They should motivate their child to face his/ her fears and fight against them so as to recover completely.
Seeking help from an expert is never a bad idea. So, if you think your child needs a session with one of them, the experts at Sovereign Health can help. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 to connect with some of the best anxiety treatment centers in California or chat online with one of our representatives to know about the best anxiety disorders treatment centers in California and other parts of the U.S.