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Navigating Worries in Kids: Helping Children Combat OCD

Navigating worries in kids requires a tailored and nuanced approach.

Consider the case of M’s family, who sought assistance at Mind Station with overwhelming fears ,anxieties and panic attacks, leaving his parents feeling helpless. M's specific concerns manifested as obsessive thoughts about certain foods and engaging in ritualised behaviours, such as touching corners, driven by heightened fears for his family's safety. Recognizing the need for targeted support, M's family enrolled him in our three-month explorer program—a personalised self awareness journey designed to help him conquer anxiety and fortify emotional resilience.

Sister comforting sibling

During the initial phase of the program, M displayed significant progress, showcasing heightened self-confidence and the application of acquired tools in his daily life. The transformative results were notably influenced by M's commitment to taking action, a commitment mirrored by his parents. M's increased self-awareness prompted him to realise the power of choice over his thoughts, emotions, and behaviours, fostering a genuine desire for positive change.

In M’s parents words, ‘What could have been a very stressful moment was made a lot easier through the tools you have given him to it’s wonderful to know these are working well’

In M’s words, “I now know how to help my worries and I want to do the programme all over again, I don’t want it to end - it was so fun!”

It's essential to acknowledge that neurodivergent individuals, especially those with ADHD  often grapple with hyperactive thoughts, leading to obsessive worries and occasional compulsive behaviours. This correlation extends to various comorbidities such as ASD, OCD, and Dyslexia, as discussed in previous articles.

To effectively tackle these challenges, consider the following recommendations for gaining control over obsessions and compulsions in individuals with hyperactive minds:

Increase Self-Awareness:

Encourage exploration of your child's sense of self to enhance self-awareness.

Utilize CBT Tools:

Introduce Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) tools to help your child gain better control over obsessive thoughts.

Schedule "Goodbye Worry" Time:

Designate specific times for your child to release worries onto paper, promoting a healthy outlet.

Use Pattern Interrupts:

Transform serious and overwhelming thoughts into humor to interrupt negative patterns.

Practice 3,3,3 Technique:

Guide your child to focus on the present by identifying three things they can see, touch, and three ways they can move their body when compulsive worries arise.

Avoid Reinforcing Ritualized Behavior:

Set limits and boundaries to discourage ritualized behaviors, emphasizing their negative impact on happiness and anxiety levels.

Establish Predictable Routines:

Create consistent and predictable routines to instill a sense of control in the individual.

Utilize Sensory Strategies:

Address sensory sensitivities contributing to anxiety and obsessive thoughts by providing sensory tools or breaks to regulate input.

Consider EFT Tapping:

Explore Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) tapping as a recommended method to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and OCD.

Implementing these strategies, tailored to the unique needs of each individual, can significantly contribute to a comprehensive and effective approach in managing obsessive thoughts and worries in neurodivergent individuals with hyperactive minds. These are precisely the areas and methods that we, at Mind Station, actively support families in.

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