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October 21st, 2011

OCD in Children and Teens – The Symmetry Symptom

Symmetry means even. Youngsters with this OCD symptom try to make things even. It is one of the more hidden symptoms of OCD. Often, parents and other people close to the child or teen may not be aware of it. Symmetry can affect many aspects of a young person’s life. Here are a few examples of this symptom.

• Repetitive behaviors – Children may touch or tap an object with their right hand and then feel compelled to do the same with their left hand.

• Interaction with people – A child sitting next to both parents might first lean next to one, and then feel compelled to lean against the other in the same way. Or, a child may feel compelled to speak to one parent and then to another.

• Arrangement of their environment – A child may need to arrange their belongings so they are even. For example, three dolls on one side of the bed, three dolls on their other.

• Doing behaviors an even number of times – A child may insist on saying Goodnight an even vs. an odd number of times.

Although these behaviors might not seem important to an observer, children with this symptom experience great anxiety if they cannot make certain behaviors symmetrical. The compulsion, the actual behavior of making things even helps reduce that anxiety. Unfortunately, as with every compulsion, the relief that it brings is only temporary, and ultimately makes this OCD symptom even stronger.

OCD in children and teens CAN be helped. Children with this OCD symptom can be taught to resist the urge to perform the compulsion. Cognitive Behavior Therapy teaches children thinking and behavior skills designed to relieve the anxiety from the obsessive thoughts, and the heightened anxiety they feel when they say No to making things even,

If you would like to learn more about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Children, you may find the previous articles helpful:

OCD and Worry in Kids
Checking and OCD in Children and Teens
OCD and Kids – Compulsive Handwashing

To learn more about thinking and behavior skills to reduce worry and anxiety, check out the Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids®

October 5th, 2011

Heroes Are More Important to Children Than Ever

There’s no question about it. There’s mounting stress and pressure on today’s children and teens. Kids still need to dream, have hope and believe in their own personal power. Having a hero is a great way for kids to sustain that dream and build optimism, which is so important in these complex times.

Have you ever asked your children who their heroes are? Some children might say firefighters, police or soldiers are modern day heroes. Other kids identify scientists and doctors as heroes because they save lives. Some kids might mention sports figures. There are also children who pick heroes right in their own family.

Heroes provide a blueprint as to how to make meaningful contributions to society. Heroes don’t have to be perfect to still have a powerful effect on the developing minds of young people. In fact, coping models who struggle yet succeed are often the role models most admired.

To learn more about heroes and their impact on young people, check out Tool Kits for Kids 2011 Fall Newsletter.