Parents spending quality time with their children, providing support and helping kids cope with obsessive-compulsive disorder

How We Can Help Kids Cope With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

How We Can Help Kids Cope With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Mental health is as essential as physical help. Therefore, as parents, we must observe our children from early signs and symptoms of mental health issues to address them early on. In children, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) shows signs early on. It is a condition that can become confusing both for the parents and the kids as it manifests as anxiety and dealing with it through repetitive actions. But how do kids cope with common OCD symptoms? Here are some ideas.

1. Focus on Strengths

It is essential to identify what the core symptoms are to understand OCD. Obsessive thoughts can be as simple as imagining or dreaming about having a disease. Other examples include concerns about germs and dirt or even concerns about making mistakes. These are known as obsessive or intrusive thoughts.

However, people with OCD don’t just have these thoughts. The feelings that come with obsessive thoughts can be overwhelming, making it difficult to enjoy anything, even eating or sleeping. As parents, we should take notice of our child’s strengths.

Parents can turn obsessive thoughts around by focusing on the areas where their child excels, for instance, being a star student or getting good grades. Just focus on your child’s strengths so that you can find a way to turn their obsessive thoughts around in a positive way that will improve their lives.2

2. Externalize OCD

In the past, people thought that OCD was a problem only between a person’s head and hands. It is not the case. OCD can run in families but is not necessarily a genetic problem. If one parent has OCD, there is about a 25% chance that the child will have OCD too. Of course, this does not mean the child will have it.

Children start early on identifying repetitive actions, but this is where parents should help them realize that it is not their fault—allowing them to take action toward a more positive outcome. It may help children accept and overcome their anxiety. In a nutshell, the best way to help kids cope with common OCD symptoms is by being there not just physically but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

3. ‘Talk Back’ to OCD

When you talk back to OCD, you start recognizing it for what it is. It is an insidious disorder that can make an individual feel like they are going to explode. But it is not an actual explosion (or even an earthquake or a tornado). It is a disorder that is caused by faulty beliefs that trigger anxiety.

When talking back, one should not just think the thoughts but say them aloud in front of the mirror. It is an excellent way to challenge the nature of intrusive thoughts. It might be difficult at first, but with practice, you will find success.

4. Reality Checks

Another technique that can be helpful is the reality check. An excellent example is taking out the tissue paper and pretending to wipe a non-existent mess. The reality check is a gentle way of telling the child that their obsessive thoughts are present even though they are not causing chaos. They are not doing anything to cause any harm. The reality check is like an anti-obsessional statement that will help your child refocus on reality and take a logical look at their life.


Obsessive thoughts can be straightforward and include concerns about germs and dirt or making mistakes. There are also other symptoms of OCD. It can run in families but is not necessarily a genetic problem. It can start early on identifying repetitive actions, but it is where the parents should help the child by making them realize that it is not their fault. With the right kind of treatment, children will learn how to deal with common OCD symptoms.

Children Psych specializes in childhood anxiety and other mental health issues experienced by children. Our goal is to observe early ADHD symptoms in children and help them explain them to their parents. As treating mental health issues can take a while, understanding the children’s situation is the first step to knowing the next moves. Schedule an appointment with us today and meet with our in-house child psychiatrist.

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