Children with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

In the March 2010 Be the Best Nanny Newsletter we discussed both common childhood fears and more serious anxiety disorders. The essential features of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are obsessions and compulsions that are time consuming and cause impairment in daily functioning.

Obsessions are persistent ideas, thoughts, or impulses that are experienced as intrusive and inappropriate and cause marked anxiety or distress. Usually, the child with obsessions tries to neutralize these disturbing thoughts with some other thought or action (a compulsion).

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts (such as hand washing, ordering, checking, praying, counting, repeating words silently), to reduce anxiety, not to provide pleasure.

Obsessions and compulsions are time consuming and may interfere with the child’s functioning at home, school, or in social activities.

Also, because obsessive actions can be distracting, kids may show poor performance on tasks that would require concentration, such as schoolwork. In addition, many kids may avoid objects or situations that provoke obsessions and compulsions.

Have you ever cared for a child with obsessive compulsive disorder? If so, do you have any advice to share with other nannies on how to cope with the disorder?


  1. These are difficult issues that require nuanced approaches. Think about the child's feeling, not just the behavior.

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