Join Date: Mar 2008
Re: how can i help my 9 year old son with signs of OCD
Hello, I would try to act, around him, as though it is no big deal, but otherwise treat it as though it is. I believe you should try to find a good behavior therapy program for your son in your area, perhaps through a university or a hospital. Behavior therapy has the best success level, and, of course, you don't want to treat kids with medicines. If you can't find a clinic with a program like this for kids, then I would look of a doctor of pschology or a psychiatrist with alot of experience with behavior therapy with successful treatment of kids with OCD. You may be able to get help finding one through the American Psychological or Psychiatric associations on the internet. You can also find out more about behavior therapy and cognitive behavior therapy from internet sites (informative sites, not ones that are selling something, of course) or from books in the library or bookstores. Behavior therapy, especially when started young, can often have great and lifelong success in reducing the symtoms of OCD, sometimes entirely.
I had severe OCD when I was a kid, so maybe I can make some other helpful suggestions. For instance, I would present it as a determined positive effort, towards better feelings and being happier, rather than to get rid of something 'wrong' or 'bad'. You don't want to treat the symptoms as though they are weird, or very serious, or that there is something wrong with him. You also don't want to act like 'getting better' is based upon 'will power', but rather based upon practice, like a sport, and that you are 'in it' together with him. The behavior therapy has 'homework' that you can do with him, like teamwork. Also, I would try to keep him involved in any activities that he would normally be involved in, such as sports, hobbies, and school as long as it is not too tough for him. Alot of times, parents assume that other kids will necessarily make fun of him or pick on him, but most kids do not. For instance, a kid might react to his OCD behavior by saying "Why do you do that?", and your son might reply, "I don't know", and then the other kid might say "Oh well" or "that's OK"; this might not seem like much to an adult, but things like this were worth more than gold to me as a kid, and made me feel like it's alright, no big deal. I was almost institutionalized, but my parents decided to let me try to go to school. There were, of course, some awkward moments, but overall, being around other kids helped me alot.
There will be up's and down's, but try to keep positive about it, and don't let him feel like he's letting you down when he goes through tough times. Love, as always, is the best and healthiest response to anything.
I hope that I have helped some. I feel sorry for him, because I know it is tough to deal with, but I think that a good behavior therapy program may be very helpful to him and help you better understand OCD. If I can help in any other way, please just ask and I will do whatever I can.
Best wishes, Stephen.