Repetitive behaviors associated with conditions like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can be an oppressive weight to be shouldered for children. Every situation represents potential new problems resulting in new anxiety. As if the burden of reoccurring thoughts and behaviors isn’t enough, it can also interfere with a child’s ability to forge social connections, which cuts off a source of support.
Common Social Challenges
OCD tendencies can interfere with the social contact required to build friendships. For example, a fear of germs can trigger avoidance behaviors by prompting a child to stay away from social situations where germs might be present. Declined invitations and dismissed efforts to connect from other kids are less likely to be repeated. Rigid adherence to rituals also interferes with a sufferer’s social life by taking up excessive time. The emotional upheaval resulting from the interruption of rituals makes it clear that this is not a condition that mixes well with new friendships.
Many children don’t have the capacity to ask for help or fully explain how they’re feeling; some are embarrassed and afraid of being different. Many times the child doesn’t know that there's a neurological explanation for their excessive thoughts and fears, that it's not their fault and that they can’t effectively rationalize their feelings. As such, they're also less able to censor their reactions and behaviors in social settings, which isolates them further.
How to Help
Parents can help by offering compassion and patience, without judgment. It helps to communicate to the child that the behaviors are due to a brain imbalance and can be managed with the right tools and resources - that there's hope! It's also important to remember that understanding of those around them is a vital part to the child's well-being.
If your child exhibits repetitive behaviors that interfere with their ability to connect socially, contact us online or find a center near you to learn more about how the Brain Balance Program can help.