Is it ADHD or something else?

41: How your Parenting is Feeding Your Child’s OCD

Parenting is one of the most significant factors that impact a child’s mental health. Unfortunately, there’s a tendency that your parenting skills can worsen your child’s Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or other mental health disorders.


Parenting is one of the most significant factors that impact a child's mental health. Unfortunately, there's a tendency that your parenting skills can worsen your child's Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or other mental health disorders.

There are cases when parents are unaware they are already contributing to their child's OCD. Thus, it's a must to educate parents about these things. Don't feed your child's OCD.

Let's flip the script and help parents understand that there are ways to improve their child's OCD.

How OCD works in the brain

Everything is about the brain. It's all about how we use the brain to unlearn things, learn what we should do, and learn how to calm the brain. So everything starts with the brain. When we use brain-informed techniques, we use techniques that improve kids and families.

When we speak of negative reinforcement, what happens is that we reinforce a behavior that is more likely to happen again. Then it becomes a habit. That's what happens with OCD. Negative beliefs, worries, unwanted thoughts, intrusive thoughts, and fears are reinforced.

That's what obsessions, compulsions, and rituals are all about. They don't even have to make sense. Parents must let go of the idea that this has to make sense because that's not the case. It doesn't make sense to them, and it won't make sense to you, either.

It even scares the children when you ask them if it makes sense and, if it does, how it makes sense. So what should be done is to avoid reinforcement. We shouldn't reinforce their worries or fears, especially when they're already overwhelmed by them.

The more we push back, the more your child's brain says, “The bad thing didn't happen.”

We push our kids to feel distressed whenever we reinforce these unwanted and intrusive thoughts, worries, or fears. However, we must remember that the more we push back, the more we stop feeding the barking dog.

The same can be said for anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. The more we push back, the more your child's brain says, “Oh, the bad thing didn't happen. The worry didn't happen. I can do this.” So it works by pushing down these behaviors, and eventually, we get to extinguish them.

Undoubtedly, the journey to treating your child's OCD will be long and challenging. But it's going to be worth everything. That's why it doesn't make sense why around 30% of people drop out of Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

OCD is such a tyrant. It takes over not just the child struggling with his mental health but also the whole family, who has to work around and learn about OCD.

Exposure and Response Prevention teaches parents how not to reinforce desired behaviors

We've been emphasizing how badly we must stop reinforcement from stopping feeding your child's OCD. We can better accomplish this through Exposure and Response Prevention, which teaches parents how not to reinforce desired behaviors. Instead, strengthen their autonomy and coping skills. 

One of the most freeing things parents can get is the feeling after extinguishing these behaviors, worries, and fears. Parents must be supportive of their children because they're the CEOs of their families and also because they are the first role models of their children.

And so, when they feel like someone understands them, that’s a big deal. Hence, parents should have a positive attitude. They should be ready to do what should be done for the betterment of their children. 

There is no “magic wand”

Parents should know that there is no magic wand because there's this common notion that Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) or some medication will reduce the discomfort their child is experiencing. It can reduce discomfort, but not entirely.

With anxiety and OCD, there will always be physical discomfort. That’s why when a child’s brain suffers from either anxiety or OCD, you’ll see how revved the brain is. For children with OCD, their brain looks like it’s on fire.

Parenting is as crucial as neurofeedback, PEMF, and actual psychotherapy. However, it's not just the parents who should be involved in their child's recovery or treatment. We have to get everybody on the same page.

Not accommodating the behavior and educating parents and family members are also essential and incredibly powerful. Remember, parenting may be hard but know that everything will be okay.

No matter where you are in your journey, we have resources to help you:

Links and Resources:

➡️ Join our FREE Natural Parenting Community to receive science-backed resources for your child and family. Join here.

➡️ Get help from Dr. Roseann and her team. Apply here. 

➡️ “Is it ADHD or something else?” Take the quiz. 

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147 Therapist-Endorsed

Self-Regulation Strategies

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A Practical Guide For Parents

147 therapist endorsed self-regulation strategies for children a practical guide for parents
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