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Thread: Teenager possible OCD - As a mum what can i do?

  1. #1

    Teenager possible OCD - As a mum what can i do?

    Hi All,
    I am new to this but over this past year my 13year old son has been washing his hands atleast every hour and for way too long and asking me if they are clean after. This happens several times a day with him finding any excuse to do so. Occasionally he asks me to say "you cant wash your hands" and then he says okay and thanks me. This has since moved onto him needing to touch something (currently a particular skirting board in the front room) within 10 seconds. I of course ask why he is doing it and he says he doesn't know he just has too.
    I don't know where this has come from nor how to help him stop as his answer when I try sitting him down and talking about it is just I don't know.
    I now have him referred for Talking Therapy but they are saying it will take weeks. I wanted some advice of what I can do in the meantime as its just getting worse, within 2 weeks he has develop a new need to switch the kitchen light on and off 4 times before he can leave the kitchen without an issue (starting again when I intervene the 4 times).
    I am now a very worried mum, who no longer sleeps...….. any advice or help tips would be so very appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2016

    Re: Teenager possible OCD - As a mum what can i do?

    Hi there,

    I'm sorry I'm only seeing your post now, but as a mum myself I know how difficult it can be to see your children go through anything like this.
    My son is now 19 and he was diagnosed with OCD when he was about 10. It crept up on him very slowly, over a couple of years. He would shout things out loud, would have to say them in a certain way and would only stop saying it once he felt he was ready to stop and it was correct.
    The volume of the tv had to be on an even number, always. He had to turn lights on an off many times before he could leave it alone. He had a ritual before getting into bed, I can't remember half of it now, but could only go to sleep once the ritual was done.
    There of course were many many other things too, but those few just come to mind now.

    The one piece of advice I can give you is try not to let him see how worried you are. Even if you're crying a river inside, let him see you smile and show him that everything is ok. In other words, you're saying it's ok to be a bit different by having to do these ocd rituals.

    It's great that you've referred him for therapy, because with a little help this is something that he can get on top of and at the very least learn to live with it, but also to find coping mechanisms while he's working through these issues. It's very possible it will improve over time, as it did with my son. While you're waiting for the therapy just be there for him, take each situation as it comes, do whatever you have to do with him to get through it and just move on then.

    Nobody wants this for their child but try to accept that this is how it is, for now. Therapy will help him and in the meantime just show him that you are the most loving, understanding mum ever

    Just remember that it's highly treatable so try not to worry xx

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    , , United Kingdom.

    Re: Teenager possible OCD - As a mum what can i do?

    she has never been back on

    “Don't be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don't have to live forever, you just have to live.” - Natalie Babbitt

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  4. #4

    Re: Teenager possible OCD - As a mum what can i do?

    Hi, Thank you so much for your response and sharing your experience with me. I do feel so helpless at times and have been responding to it with "its okay attitude". The only time I feel he may possibly see my concern when I cannot stop him from the washing his hands, which are so raw sometimes it pains me to see them and him like that. I just was not sure if I was doing the right thing by letting him do.... felt I should be doing the opposite, yet cannot find a way to do that without making him feel odd about it so figured to keep going with the positive attitude and as many ways of distracting him as I can think of when I see it happening.

    Thank you again x

  5. #5

    Re: Teenager possible OCD - As a mum what can i do?

    Hello, I am an OCD sufferer. It sounds like you are a really understanding parent, which will help his recovery a lot. The best thing that you can do is not add to his compulsions - I know it's hard! So if he asks you to tell him to not wash his hands, don't do it. It's hard because he may still do compulsions himself, but him asking you will also be a compulsion. It is so tough, OCD treatment is, but it will be better in the long run. The best kind of therapy for OCD is ERP (exposure response prevention) which is a form of CBT - that was the only thing that helped me. But it's tricky to talk about as a non-professional, as it's quite complicated. I had a great therapist who really did help me, my OCD hasn't gone away but I can manage it now and deal with flare ups quickly, and still very much enjoy my life. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post on here but send me a DM if you would like my therapist's phone number (I did all my therapy via Whatsapp calls with him). Good luck to you both.

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