OCD Chicago

Your Child Can Get Better With Effective Treatment
Information for Parents

The Parents’ Role in OCD Treatment and Recovery

Be proactive.  The longer OCD is left untreated, the more difficult it can be for your child to overcome this disorder.

Parents can influence children’s behavior in many ways.  That’s why it’s urgent that you help your child or teen take advantage of the opportunity to undergo cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and exposure and response prevention (ERP) treatment.  You have the power to help—or hinder—your child’s progress toward getting relief from OCD.

The Power of Knowledge

This may seem obvious, but the more you know about OCD and its treatment, the better the position you will be in to help your child.  We encourage you to:

  • Learn about the symptoms of OCD.  You need to be able to recognize the warning signs of compulsions. By understanding this disorder, you can better understand what your child goes through in the struggle with OCD.
  • Learn about CBT therapy and ERP treatment.  This is the only scientifically supported treatment for OCD.
  • Stay informed—OCD Chicago wants you to have current, easy to understand information.  That’s why we’ve developed this web site.  And take advantage of OCD Chicago’s recommendations for other reference material and books in the More Resources and News & Events sections of this web site.

Be Proactive in the Fight against OCD

The longer OCD is left untreated, the harder it can be to overcome the obsessions and compulsions that make a child miserable.  Making excuses for OCD behavior or hoping they will “grow out of it” isn’t helping the situation; it can hurt your child’s chances of successfully gaining control over this debilitating disorder. In fact, when OCD goes untreated, it may get worse.

Learn more about proactive steps you can take to help your child

The Role of the Family

Like parents, other family members (and extended family members) are affected by a child or teen with OCD, and can play an important role in helping the OCD sufferer gain control over OCD.

It’s obvious that the family is integrally involved with OCD—when one child has OCD, everyone is confronted with it and has to live with it.  But as a parent you’re in the position to influence how the entire household operates and how everyone can help the child who has OCD.

Let other children know that the child with OCD is actively working on getting better, and encourage understanding rather than frustration, accusations or name-calling.  Be honest with everyone; no one likes OCD, including you—and especially not the child who battles this disorder.  But insist that everyone separate dislike for the disorder from the child affected.  It’s not the OCD sufferer’s fault he or she has OCD.

Ask your child’s therapist how to involve other children in ERP, and for suggestions and advice about the family’s involvement in the recovery program.

Learn more about the role of the family—and friends—in OCD recovery

Should I Tell My Child’s Teachers About OCD?

Parents must balance privacy concerns against the potential benefits of having teachers as allies in your child’s fight to overcome OCD.

It’s up to you to decide if you want to let the teachers at your child’s school know that your child or teen has OCD.  While you may want to protect your child’s privacy, your child has most likely already shown some OCD symptoms while at school.  When teachers don’t know what the problem really is, they can misinterpret behavior issues.  They may believe the child or teen is deliberately disruptive or deliberately inattentive.  They could inappropriately discipline your child, or “label” him or her as “slow”, a “troublemaker”, a “problem” or a threat to the harmony of the classroom. If teachers have information about OCD, they can become allies who will help your child when symptoms erupt in the classroom.

Learn more about OCD and the school

What Information about OCD Should My Child (or Teen) Have?

There are many good books that can provide information about OCD for children and adolescents.  You’ll find OCD Chicago’s recommendations in the More Resources section of this web site.

For younger children:

  • Some of the books for younger children include a parents’ guide to sharing the book with a child.
  • Some books include games, assignments or even art projects that can help a child understand and cope with OCD.
  • You can also read Personal Stories written by children who have been successfully treated with CBT and ERP.  These inspiring accounts by children are in the Personal Stories section of this web site.

Visit the Just for Teens section of this web site

For teens and young adults:

  • Depending on your teen’s age, reading level and maturity, you may select books or web sites for them to read from those listed in the More Resources section of our web site.
  • You can show them sections of this web site, or print out sections you think would be helpful for them to read.
  • You can direct them to the Personal Stories section of this web site to read stories of young people and adults who have gotten relief from OCD by undergoing CBT and ERP treatment.
  • You can direct them to the “Just For Teens” section of this web site, a section designed for teens who are affected by OCD.  There is some recommended reading there specifically for teens, including an article and a book, just for teens.

View More Resources

Go to “Just for Teens” section

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