A child can be diagnosed with Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) when they’re observed to be having some persistent negative behavior. These can include compulsions and thoughts that hinder their ability to function normally. The National Institute of Mental Health reported that approximately 1.2% of adults in the U.S. had OCD last year. Though OCD can be observed at any stage in life, it’s most likely to occur during preteen years. Here are some behaviors that you can look out for in your parenting journey.
A child with OCD will put all their efforts into doing things in the best possible way they can be. They believe that making a mistake will gravely affect their lives, values, and worth in other people’s eyes. They’re usually not aware of how their obsession with excellence affects their well-being and how much it costs those around them. In your parenting role, it’s good to note that your son may not realize he has a problem. He will keep pressuring himself to achieve his goals even if it means disturbing the peace for the rest of the family.
Although some compulsions are normal, a child overly obsessing about something deserves further investigation. For instance, your son may be obsessed with getting a certain, peculiar, perfect haircut at specific intervals. He does nothing much else except dreaming and talking about his obsession endlessly. He will get so upset if you fail to fulfill his dreams as he has been dreaming. Sometimes, the nagging may not go away, no matter what you do to neutralize it. If you notice such behavior in your child, he may be struggling with undiagnosed OCD.
3. Anxiety Attacks
A person with OCD often has uncontrollable repetitive thoughts. This makes them more likely to get anxiety attacks and, as a result, act in distressing ways. Such impulses can be time-consuming and limiting to one’s normal function.
People with OCD also have a habit of insisting on doing things the ”right way.” They can go to extreme lengths to make people conform to their ideals. When they can’t do this, it can throw them into a state of panic and anxiety. At times, young children may not know their behaviors, thoughts, and worries are excessive. That’s why you, as the parent, need to be aware so that you can spot these behaviors early and take the necessary steps.
While anger is a normal human emotion, a survey by NPR found that 84% of Americans are angrier today than a generation ago. While there are many reasons for this, OCD could be one of them. Research has observed that children with OCD are more likely to experience bouts of anger breakouts. If you notice that your son gets angry, for example, when something doesn’t go as planned, they may have undiagnosed OCD. In case your son has overreacted in an OCD bout and caused a legal offense, remember that he has rights. The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution gives citizens the right to a public and speedy trial, a notice of accusation, the help of legal counsel, and an impartial jury, according to ReaganLibrary.gov.
5. Self Doubt
A child with self-doubt will always ask and do the same things repeatedly. For example, he may wash his hands within several minutes of handwashing. He may then do it again over and over, even hundreds of times in a day. He will check and recheck one thing to ensure it’s done right, such as whether the doors are locked. He may also habitually put on clothes in the same order every day. Consider visiting your local mental health professional if you notice this in your child.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is one of the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting children and adolescents. OCD has peaks of its onset during the preteen period and young adulthood. As a parent, you’ll do well to educate yourself on these behaviors and ways of managing them in your son to help him better navigate life.