Hot Topics     Home and Family     Healthy Kids     Teen Health     Health Guide    

Helpful strategies for dealing with OCD



Understanding it’s a “brain glitch” is key

Helpful strategies for dealing with OCD

If you’re tasked with caring for a child with OCD, whether your own or someone else’s, you know how difficult it can be to stay calm when things go awry. A child will have a wildly irrational fear of something – like knives, or some kind of food – and will need to engage in repetitive, ritualistic behavior – like humming or washing hands, or counting and re-counting steps. When you know full well the child’s anxieties are totally unfounded, and their behaviors completely unhelpful, you want to do for them what you’d want someone to do for you: explain things away through logic and reasoning, enlighten them with your experience and easily verifiable knowledge. 

In a very helpful article for Turning Point Psychology, psychologist Anna Prudovski points out how and why those knee-jerk caregiver behaviors are, in fact, counter-productive. Those are in her “Don’t” list. Thankfully, however, she lists twice as many “Do’s” as “Don’t’s,” explaining how OCD must be understood as independent of the afflicted.

For instance, she advises giving the OCD a derogatory name, like “Cruella DeVille.” Or just saying, “OCD is making you feel like you need to count all the forks.”

RELATED: Does your child have OCD?

Or, as Prudovski puts it, “It is not really important which arguments the OCD uses to get the child to perform a compulsion. It’s very important, though, to point out to the child that it’s the OCD – the glitch/ the bully/ the brain bug/ the silly hiccup/ Mr. Clean – that is speaking up now. Therefore, address the process by pointing out the offender (the OCD) and not the content of the obsessions. Tell your child, ‘The OCD is trying to trick you again.’ Or ask, ‘Is 'the meanie dude' trying to bully you?’”

More helpful hints include encouraging the child to postpone or change rituals, and then ask afterwards, “Did what you expect happen?” or, “Was it as bad as you expected?”

It’s a very helpful read. When you are advised to “be kind” and “be compassionate,” you’re not always given tips on exactly how to do that. Prudovski does.



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • View eagles in Mongaup

    Mongaup Valley Wildlife Management Area designated a Bird Conservation Area

    Mongaup was designated a Bird Conservation Area because of its unique combination of habitats important to bird species. read more »
  • Hike Smart & Be Prepared

    Safety tips for getting out in the winter months

    NYS DEC offers tips to keep you and your family safe while enjoying the outdoors this winter. read more »
  • Hudson Highlands Nature Museum’s Homeschool Naturalist Program

    Adventure Awaits Students Ages 6-9

    The Hudson Highlands Nature Museum’s Homeschool Naturalist Program for children ages 6-9 has quickly become one of the Nature Museum’s most beloved programs. Originally created out of the needs of families undertaking distance/learning, the program has proved so popular it has remained in place by demand. read more »
  • 5 ways parents can get prepared for student loan repayments

    Tips to help you survive student loan payments

    If you’re a parent who took out a federal student loan for your child and you’ve been taking advantage of the payment freeze as part of the COVID-19 emergency relief, then things are about to change. Starting January 31, 2022, payments will resume and no further extensions are expected. read more »
  • STEAM learning toys for your little ones

    Young kids have fun while learning letters and numbers

    Edx Education teaches letters and numbers through hands-on play read more »
  • DCP offers tips to help New Yorkers stay safe and warm

    NYS Division of Consumer Protection warns New Yorkers of carbon monoxide and fire hazards during extreme cold weather

    The New York State Division of Consumer Protection today issued a consumer alert about the dangers of carbon monoxide and fire hazards in extreme cold weather. The winter months pose the most risk for these hazards—as the temperatures drop, consumers may turn to dangerous heating alternatives to stay warm. Propane heaters, generators, space heaters and/or outdoor grills all pose lethal risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and fire hazards when used improperly. read more »
  • New gardening series with Newburgh Free Library

    Learn about herbs, microgreens, seeds, planning and planting

    Newburgh Free Library has a new gardening series starting with NUFFI, or Newburgh Urban Farm and Food, starting in February! read more »
  • Get up to 4 free at-home Covid-19 tests for your family

    The Biden Administration to Begin Distributing At-Home, Rapid COVID-19 Tests

    The Biden Administration is Buying One Billion Tests to Give to Americans for Free; Online Ordering of a Half-Billion Tests Begins on January 19th; Builds on Significant Actions to Expand Testing Capacity and Increase Access to Free Testing read more »
  • New York’s Going Foam Free in 2022

    NYS is working to keep our environment safe

    In 2020, New York State adopted the nation's strongest statewide ban of expanded polystyrene, single-use foam food and beverage containers, and polystyrene loose fill packaging materials, commonly known as packing peanuts. read more »
  • Sherman Artists Open Studio – This Weekend!

    Painters, photographers, mixed media, jewelers, fused glass, and fabric artists will open their home studios

    This weekend is the very first Sherman Artists First Open Studio! Fifteen local Sherman artists are participating in the Sherman Open Studio Tour on Saturday and Sunday, December 4th and 5th, 2021, 10 am – 4 pm. Painters, photographers, mixed media, jewelers, fused glass, and fabric artists will open their home studios or participate in pop-up studios read more »