48 answers

How to Deal with a Child with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

I have a 4 year old son who is very OCD. He has not yet been diagnosed but we are on our way to doing so. We fight daily over clothes that "tickle", shoes that "rub", and many numerous things that just aren't "right". I am at my breaking point. I have bought new clothes, new shoes, new everything just so I don't have to battle with him everyday!! Nothing seems to work. He crys and crys over all this. Does anyone have any suggestions or has anyone ever dealt with someone with this disorder? I desperately need your help!!

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Thank you to all of you who have helped with advice. I now have alittle more hope!! I understand that this is not his fault...but...boy...it is a daily battle I wish we didn't have to have. Thanks again...I appreciate it!!

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My son started exhibiting those same types of behavior at that age. He would only wear certain types of underwear, shirts and pants. He would cry everyday before school if I tried to make him wear something that he felt uncomfortable with. At the time, I just thought he was picky. Flash forward to the present, he is a second grader and at the start of the school year, we were called in for a conference. he was not paying attention and not concentrating, because he would fiddle with his tags, etc. that were bothering him.. we found out that he has some sensory processing problems as well as a slight auditory processing problem. Ask many questions! We are lucky that his cases are very mild, and he is in therapy now through the school. Had we gotten help sooner, it would have saved many tears, his and mine. Good luck

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Sounds exactly like my Nicholas, who was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder 5 years ago when he was 4. All the advice on OT, sensory diet, etc. were given so I won't repeat them. Just wanted to direct you to www.kidfoundation.org, the website for Dr. Lucy Miller's organization on sensory processing. She's one of the leading researchers into spd, and amazing to listen to in conference. Good luck!

I have two sons, one with OCD. He is now 31 yrs. old. The biggest thing I can say to you is that this child needs to know that he is being heard. His crying is because he doesn't believe you are listening, especially if you are showing any signs of anger or frustration. Allow him to voice his "long winded" complaint and invite him to be part of the solution, even if the solution is not what you would believe is best. They need to know that their thoughts and ideas are important. He is teahing you patience and unconditional love. Do not expect him to be anything other than who he is and find the joy in that. He will emerge with smiles and hugs to greet you. It is worth it for both of you. It may not be easy but you are preparing him for the world... All the Best to Both of You. -- tlc

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Be very sensative to his needs,but try not to give in to them it only worsens the symptoms.It may help him feel reasured for awhile but it will wear off and he will be back to feeling anxious again.I would research it as much as I could and get a good understanding of it.I suffer with ocd myself,and I know it can be difficult for my loved ones.There are therapist that can treat ocd be careful though make sure they have the knowledge to treat this anxiety disorder.It is ok to reasure your son every now and then but to do it permanetly can be damaging to him.He needs to start learning how to cope and manage these anxious feelings.Here is a site telling a little about it http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/emotion/ocd.html

Also it would probably be a good idea to join an ocd site yourself to learn from others with ocd what helps them out with their anxiety & ocd.Here are a few good sites one is called
http://www.ocdtribe.com/ and the other http://www.stuckinadoorway.co.uk/www.stuckinaddorway

Here is a good site that will help you find a good therapist for your child http://austinocd.com/m1500a.htm
Best of luck

2 moms found this helpful

Hi, I am new to this site and I just read your post. First of all I am a child therapist and the information you give does not tell me that your child has OCD. Either you left some things out or you need to look at something else. I would advise that you read a book called the Out of Sync Child. This book is about Sensory Integration Disorder. Some Occupational Therapists who work with children can assess for this. My own child who is seven has the same clothing issues that you describe. It can be frustrating. The severity of these issues can vary. The Occupational Therapist that I work with does not really think my daughter's problem is severe enough to treat. I have found that she does much better with this problem when I cleared her diet of all red and yellow food dyes. I also feel inside socks each time I am in a store. I am in the endless search for the perfect socks! I found some she would wear and I bought the next size too! She had worn the same socks for three years because I could not find any more she liked. I have her try on all clothes in the store before I buy it and cut out most tags. There is a therapy technique called the Wilbarger Protocol with joint compression. It is something the Occupational Therapists can do and teach you to do at home too. This is the technique that the OT I know said could help my daughter. This is before I realized the dye connection and she has been much better in recent months.

Good Luck, A.

1 mom found this helpful

My son started exhibiting those same types of behavior at that age. He would only wear certain types of underwear, shirts and pants. He would cry everyday before school if I tried to make him wear something that he felt uncomfortable with. At the time, I just thought he was picky. Flash forward to the present, he is a second grader and at the start of the school year, we were called in for a conference. he was not paying attention and not concentrating, because he would fiddle with his tags, etc. that were bothering him.. we found out that he has some sensory processing problems as well as a slight auditory processing problem. Ask many questions! We are lucky that his cases are very mild, and he is in therapy now through the school. Had we gotten help sooner, it would have saved many tears, his and mine. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,

My daughter (7) was diagnosed with OCD when she was (5) but started showing signs earlier. As much as the struggle is hard for you and I as the parent, it is excrusiating and insane for your little boy. Unfortuantely he can't even put into words what going on. I ready urge you to take his to a psychiatrist. It was the only was I could help my daughter. She also had the clothes problem, but also suffered from washing hand - 30 times a day, unable to move or touch her things, cannot be dirty or near dirt, won't touch stuff or even hold hands, she wouldn't let me clip her nails, she thought if her routines went out of line she was going to die.

The worst part about is that she was so young. I kept trying to take into consideration all the possiblities. For example, maybe she was having a bad day, maybe it is a phase, maybe she didn't get enough sleep, maybe she is reacting to something I did or said, did I do something to make her act this way, was this about her afther, was it because she was in a new school or something else might recently changed, has she eaten anything different lately, have I changed detergents lately, does it have to do with her regulary allergy or asthma medication - oh the insanity when on.

I finally made an appointment with a psychiatrist and they told me it was the best thing I could have done for my daughter. The doctor said my daughter definitely had OCD but it was treatable and sometimes kids her age grow out of most of the symptoms by adulthood or learn to live with them. Over a year later I can say we have had our ups and downs, but I would never go back. I never want to see my child that unhappy and "crawling" in her skin again.

God Bless you and your Son,
J.

1 mom found this helpful

I totally agree with the moms, that does not sound like OCD. It definitely sounds like sensory processing disorder. My 2 yr old has the same thing. I would recommend having your pediatrician send him for OT(occupational therapy) eval. They will be able to set up a plan and help you with all of these issues. My son has improved dramatically since starting therapy. Good luck, I know it's hard.

1 mom found this helpful

I would like to point you in the direction of a fabulous group called NAMI and their website NAMI-HC.org
If your little one is diagnosed with OCD and you want an opportunity to find support for you as well as your son, that is a great place to start. Feel free to email me if you would like some additional insight into the organization.
My Husband has OCD, along with other issues, and the Family-to-Family group was immensely helpful to me. The biggest lesson is to learn to seperate 'symtomatic behavior' from just normal childhood behavior. It is hard to understand and easy (and natural) to become frustrated and upset but we also have to keep in mind that they too are often frustrated with their own symptoms as well.

I wish for you lots of patience and understanding...and the knowledge that you aren't alone...

B.

1 mom found this helpful

I have 4 daughters. My oldest is 20 and my youngest is 8. My youngest has been the most challenging by far. My recommendation would be to read a book about "Spitited" children. My youngest daughter sounds a lot like your son. My mother-in-law, God love her, was almost always offering something to me about kids with ADD and ADHD.I didn't and still don't believe my daughter has either but she was convinced my daughter had one or the other. Anyway, I found the book Raising Your Spirited Child to be very helpful because their were some things I just didn't understand. My daughter, like your son, fought with me about clothes and such, things that just didn't "feel right". Basically, you need to pick your battles and know that there isn't anything wrong with the clothes that "tickle" and shoes(or socks) not fitting just right. They're just more sensitive. Be patient and don't sweat the small stuff. Understand that sometimes at they're age they may not be able to express exactly what they're thinking or what they want. But, listen to what they're saying and respect it. There's nosense fighting a losing battle. Realize they know what they want and don't. Good Luck. It will work out in the end!! After reading some of the other respnses, I agree. They all sound more like what we've experienced with our daughter. Sensitive to her socks, tags on the inside of shirts, shirts that "itch" due to various different reasons. Your son doesn't sound OCD, he sounds like he's "over" sensitive. I use this term loosely. We would argue with my youngest about things that I thought were "silly" until I recognized to her they weren't. One of the things that stand out the most to me regarding my daughter was when she was younger, loud noises, etc.. made her VERY upset. If we took her to dinner at a very noisey restaraunt, etc.. she would be overstimulated and act out completely...crawling under the table, etc.. As she's gotten older, she's gotten better and a lot more tolerant of things out of her control. There is light at the end of the tunnel!

1 mom found this helpful

Just a ittle background to begin - I am a school psychologist and have worked for over 12 years with children ranging in age from 2 1/2 - 22 years in four different states. Right now I am a SAHM with 3 children ages 10, 7, and almost 4.

I am wondering why you are thinking your child is OCD. The reason I ask is because the behavior you are describing sounds more like a child with sensory integration issues rather than OCD. Children with sensory issues may have difficulties with certain textures (tactile sensitivity). Certain clothes, shoes or socks may bother them. Most can't stand the tags in the clothes. Many have difficulty eating certain foods and brushing their teeth. One particular child I worked with would only wear a certain kind of sweat pants, t-shirts with no tags and socks with no seams at the toes. It took his mother a long time to find the key, but once she did there were not longer fights every morning regarding clothes.

Kids with tactile sensitivity may also feel intimidated if they feel someone is in their space when in actuality that person may be far from them. Many do not like gentle touches but are more comfortable with firm touches. Others do not like to be touched at all.

Some children also experience sensitivity to sounds and visual stimuli.

I would urge you to read some information on Sensory Intergration and see if that sounds like your son. The Out-Of-Sync Child is a great book (I don't remember the author). I am sure there are many others as well.

There are many children with sensory integration issues and ways to accommodate their needs and strategies to help them cope better with sensory input. Best of luck to you.

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