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Parents extra critical with OCD kids


Mothers of children with obsessive-compulsive disorder tend to be more critical of them than of their other children. That parental criticism is linked to poorer outcomes for those OCD kids. Parental criticism has been associated with child anxiety in the past, but the new study sought to discover if this was a characteristic of the parent or was it something specific to the relationship between the anxious child and the parent. Was it the parent or was it the relationship?

“This suggests that mothers of anxious children are not overly critical parents in general instead they seem to be more critical of a child with OCD than they are of other children in the home,” said Amy Przeworski, assistant professor psychology. So it looks like it’s a little of both.

“Parents’ criticism may be a reaction to the child’s anxiety. This research is not blaming the parent for the child’s OCD. But it does suggest that the relationship between parents and children with OCD is important and should be a focus of treatment. This means that parents can help children with OCD to get better,” Przeworski explained. “OCD sneaks up on the parents. “

One in every 200 children has OCD. Early warning signs include: rigidity in a child, asking for reassurance throughout the day, repetition of a task, routines with patterns which are many times lengthy and complicated, rituals, temper tantrums beyond stubborn and a need for symmetry in appearance.

What might be annoying at first becomes habitual and the entire family may get drawn into supporting the ritualistic behaviors causing stress and anxiety for everyone. From this may emerge a more critical parenting style as parents try to get the child to drop the demands for repetitive behavior.

Source: MedicalNewToday, Case Western Reserve University

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