For Parents & Families

What You Need to Know

Many children with OCD are reluctant to share their symptoms either because they are embarrassed or they don’t even realize what they are experiencing isn’t the norm. Parents and other family members are often confused, recognizing that a problem may exist but are not able to identify it or know how to respond to it. Symptoms of OCD can be very similar to other psychological conditions (such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, or other anxiety disorders), so it can be a challenge to help your child get the care they need.

Below, we have put together a series of articles to give you an overview of what you need to know to help a child you suspect or know to have OCD.

First, we wanted to provide you with an overview of what to look for if you suspect your child has OCD. If you believe your child has OCD, the next step is to help them find effective treatment. If that is the case, you can read more about pediatric OCD treatment and find pediatric OCD specialists using our Resource Directory, as well as some tips for finding the right therapist for your child or teen.

It can be challenging to talk with your child or teen about his or her OCD so we have provided some tips and strategies. Similarly, your child’s OCD might have taken over the entire way the family functions. This is not uncommon, and we have some suggestions from experts familiar with this dynamic.

Being consumed with obsessive thoughts can greatly interfere with focus and concentration, which are necessary to perform well in school. In addition, time-consuming rituals can take much more time than intended, leading students to be late for school or not show up at all. It is very important to have a comprehensive, information-sharing meeting with your child’s school if OCD symptoms are interfering with his or her academic functioning.

Hearing first-hand experiences from other parents can also help you feel like you are not alone — and that there are others out there who know and understand what you are going through. Reading personal stories can help, as can finding a local or online support group for parents. Our Annual OCD Conference is also a great resource to learn more about treatment options, and more importantly, to meet other families and children affected by OCD.