It can be really difficult to help children who worry excessively about things. As parents you want to be able to console and comfort them, to wipe away their tears and wish those little minds of theirs could quiet and give them relief from fears, from worries or from struggles.
It can be very hard for a parent to feel unable to ease their child’s burdens. All children, regardless of the weight of their worries, will appreciate acknowledgement of their emotions–even when we cannot do anything else.
As I had mentioned in my last Children & Emotions post, Anxiety & Kids: How Parents Can Become Their Child’s Emotion Coach!, strong negative emotions can feel overwhelming. This is especially true among children who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD. OCD occurs in about 3% of all children and teens. It is a specific type of anxiety disorder that shows itself as an intense need to perform a mental act or repetitive behavior coupled with urges or worries that can be quite consuming. Sometimes kids don’t recognize how these compulsions or actions affect them, but usually as they mature they come to realize these compulsions or obsessions are irrational. A common obsession is to constantly wash hands and a fear of germs…to the point of dry crapped hands. It can also be constantly checking windows, doors and other locks to ensure safety of loved ones.
RELATED: How to Help your Child: A Parent’s Guide to OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago)
It is not uncommon for children with OCD to have additional mental health or behavioral conditions, such as Tourette’s syndrome, ADHD or another form of anxiety. The usual age of onset is around 10 years of age but it can show up in children as young as preschool.
Part of what is needed is education and a compassionate, child friendly way of starting the conversation with a child who may be exhibiting intense worries.
Rose is a sweet, little bunny who is very loved by her boy. They have a wonderful relationship–they play and read every day together. Ross and her boy are inseparable.
However one day she notices a tiny length of thread dangling on her arm. Once known, Rose couldn’t stop thinking about that thread no matter what she did or tried to do.
Unraveling Rose is a sweet children’s book by Brian Wray that sheds light on those worries, thoughts and compulsions in a way that doesn’t cast judgement or blame. Readers will plainly see how Rose at first cannot stop thinking about this thread and eventually what happens to get her to “see” that something must change.
This story highlights the steps that Rose takes to “take charge” and how she learns to cope. Throughout it all, she remains loved and cherished by her boy.
The book has some of the most lovely hand drawn illustrations I have seen and are by Shiloh Penfield.
There are 3 pages in the back of the book with an informational section for parents, along with concrete examples of how parents can support their children to cope at home and school.
RELATED: Kids and OCD: The Parents’ Role in Treatment (Child Mind Institute)
The book is published by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. Unraveling Rose is a Finalist in the 2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards.
For your own copy, the link below can be used to purchase and share with your children. Even if your child may not have OCD, all children have worries from time to time. Children who strive for perfection may also benefit from this book.
For More Information:
- Obsessive-Compuslive Disorders in Children (HealthyChildren.org)
- Tics, Tourette Syndrome and OCD (HealthyChildren.org)