Welcome to OCD Kids!

OCD For Parents

How can I tell if my child has OCD?

If your child consistently shows repetitive behaviors or has persistent unwanted thoughts that cause distress, it might be OCD. Keep reading for OCD options for parents.

Watch out for rituals like:
Excessive handwashing
Ordering or arranging things in a very specific manner
Seeking reassurance (asking if things are okay or if anything bad will happen)
Doing things until they are “just right”
You may also notice out of character worries from your child, such as:
Being alone
The dark
Being a “bad kid”
Getting sick
Self or others getting hurt

Frequently Asked Questions

First, let’s make sure you understand one crucial thing - OCD is a manageable condition. Your child (and family) can learn to manage the OCD symptoms and take back control. There are various avenues you may wish to explore to make this a reality:

  • Seek out an ERP therapist to help you and your child learn tools and strategies to beat OCD
  • Work closely with healthcare professionals, such as a doctor or nurse practitioner, to explore the use of medication. Not everyone chooses to pursue medication, but some find it a helpful supplement to therapy
  • Learn more about OCD to support your child effectively. Your child is likely even more frustrated and exhausted than you are. Be patient, as progress may take time. Creating a supportive and understanding environment at home is crucial. To develop these skills, you may decide to see an OCD expert yourself, which we reccommend.

If you notice repetitive behaviors or persistent worries, consult a healthcare professional or an OCD expert. Early intervention is vital. Even if it's not OCD, addressing these symptoms early can prevent them from worsening. Trust your instincts as a parent, and seek guidance from professionals.

Talking to your child about OCD can be a daunting task. Here are some tips that might help you out:

  • Choose a calm moment to talk - if your child is already upset and frustrated, they might feel attacked rather than supported and loved.
  •  Use simple language - it might be helpful to discuss OCD as the fear or worry monster, or liken OCD to a bully who is trying to control your child. The explanation doesn’t have to be psychiatrist worthy; just enough to help your child understand that there is a reason for their worries, but that they can defeat them!
  •  Offer support - remind your child that you’re there to listen, and that you see their struggle. 

Normalize the OCD experience - explain that OCD is a medical condition that many other kids have. Emphasize that it's not their fault, and treatment is available. Encourage questions, and let them know you're there to support them. Watching videos of other kids sharing their experiences is a great place to start!

Even though your child is the one experiencing OCD, there are certainly things you can do to help them along the journey. If your child is open to ERP therapy, being actively invovled in their treatment is a great way to encourage them and help them stay accountable when it comes to enforcing the tools and strategies they learn. 


Celebrating small victories with your child when they stand up to OCD also cultivates a positive mindset and encourages motivation. And, when setbacks arise, being understanding and patient with your child and remindng them that they can handle uncomfortable things is just as supportive and helpful in your child’s recovery journey.

Interested in S.P.A.C.E.?

Book a free 15-minute consultation with one of our OCD experts to get started!

If your child is not interested in treatment, or faces other barriers when it comes to ERP treatment, you can still work towards OCD recovery. OCD North’s Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE) program is ideal for families facing the same challenges. The main goal of SPACE is to creat a supportive and understanding environment that fosters your child’s emotional well-being, highlights their bravery and independence, and provides parents with tools to stand up to OCD themselves, in a way that cultivates your child’s ability to do so in the future.

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