We live in a house in which there are doors at both ends of the main rooms, so you can effectively walk in a circle through the house. When my daughter finds us in one room, she asks which way we came. If it was the same path she took, she is fine. If we happened to have taken the other route, she will turn around and go completely through the house the other direction so that she arrives back in the room taking the path we took. She has done this for about a year now. At first I thought if was just a phase, but it shows no sign of ending.
I am curious if this could be a sign of OCD. I am not sure what obsession could be stimulating this compulsive behavior. Any thoughts? Should she see a therapist?
Does she have intense anxiety if she doesn't take the opposite route? If so, then it may be possible, but at that age there isn't much you can do except talk with her and possibly CBT. CBT will be hard for her to understand though. Anyway, I wouldn't get worried about it until she starts showing signs of anxiety which she most likely never will. Poeple can have an obsessive personality and not have a dissorder. A dissorder is characterized by the inability to not do the compulsion and severe anxiety reaction due to not doing the compulsion.
Have you asked her not to go the opposite way? Also, aske her why she goes the opposite way? Try to get a good ansxwer out of her, not "I don't know". If it is OCD then there is usually a negative thought that coincides with the compulsion.
Don't get worried yet until you explore it a little further.
Hmmm...that is interesting. At 4 years old, I would not be too worried about it. Then again, you mentioned that it has been going on for a year, which seems a little strange.
Does OCD/anxiety run in your family at all?
Does she carry this behavior into other situations as well? For example, does she need to take a certain route while walking down the aisles in a grocery store?
I would be more concerned if she seems to have anxiety/OCD behaviors in other situations as well, besides just what you have mentioned. It is hard to say with a child that young. They can have wild imaginations too. It could just be some stage in child development that she is going through.
I agree with the previous poster. See what happens if you try to get her to take a different route. Would she throw a fit if you tried that?
I would not take her to a clinical psychologist just yet. If you do want a professional opinion, maybe look into a developmental psychologist. They specialize in issues with child development.
If it does turn out to be OCD please don't give her antidepressants or any other man-made drug! Her little brain is still developing and filling it with artificial chemicals may cause more problems in the future even if it does help a little in the short term. Just my opinion. I had OCD at a very young age of 8 and my parents had no idea what was going on with me, but through discussions with me and being there for me when I was upset they helped me through it and a year later I was completely cured. It didn't come back until I was much older (early 20's). This cycle is typical of real OCD and other anxiety dissorders, so there is a really good chance that she will work this all out on her own and be fine through most of her childhood. When she is older then she can consider drugs. I hope I didn't overstep my bounds. I just hate to see little kids on really dangerous drugs when they are too young to articulate the side effects to you and they don't know what the results should be etc. It can get really bad really fast.
I still think it is most likely simply a game she plays or just an obsessive compulsive personality trait of hers which are harmless.