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What Doesn’t Cause OCD in Children
OCD Chicago

Children who have OCD didn’t do something to cause it. And their parents didn’t do anything to cause it either. OCD is a neurobiological disorder, not a condition that is caused by an action or inaction. Even the worst parenting in the world doesn’t cause OCD.

Common misperceptions about the cause of OCD include:

  • STRESS. Stress doesn’t cause OCD, although sometimes symptoms begin after a severe trauma, such as the death of a loved one. Other stress triggers include birth of a sibling, marriage, divorce, a move to a new home or community, transition of a child to a new school or new school year, or even a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane. And, if OCD symptoms are already present, stress can cause those symptoms to increase.
  • ILLNESS. Childhood illnesses do not cause OCD, although some studies suggest that a strep infection may trigger the sudden onset of symptoms in children who are genetically predisposed to OCD.
  • PARENTING. No evidence exists that would link OCD with the way parents guide or discipline their children. Parents should not be blamed when a child exhibits symptoms of this disorder. However, parents of children with OCD need to develop special skills to help their children overcome and manage OCD.

OCD Chicago’s guide, How to Help Your Child, is a good source of advice.

More info: Helping A Child Who Has OCD



Thanks for this Daniel. I certainly worry for my son as he already exhibits some anxious personality tendencies. Yet, thankfully, he has a good dose of his Dad's perspective which is the polar opposite of my anxiety. :) The last thing any parent wants to feel is that they've contributed to an anxiety disorder in their child. There's enough guilt and responsibility issues that go with parenting and that one would be the straw that breaks the camel's back. I try to be very conscious of my own behavior around my son and shield him from the majority of my anxiety. Kind of like for all of us, when we go to our jobs, and no one would ever imagine what we are dealing with inside our own minds.
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