Help! My Sibling Has OCD
It is hard enough being a parent. Parenting children can be a difficult gig. It can also be a beautiful and rewarding adventure. It doesn’t come with a guidebook. It doesn’t come with concrete instructions. In all truth, caregivers learn as they go. Parenting multiple children can look differently as well. Parenting is not a “one size fits all”. I often tell families I work with that, you parent based on who your children are and what they need. This may look different for each child that you parent and that is okay.
You may be a parent of multiple children. You likely are reading this article because you are concerned about a child of yours who is a sibling to a child with OCD. It is important to recognize that OCD is a family affair. It impacts the entire unit. OCD is the elephant in the middle of the room. We can all pretend it isn’t there and look away but it will still be there. It needs to be talked about.
Through having open and honest conversations in your family about this disorder everyone can feel heard. When you ignore a problem it doesn’t go away, it often only intensifies. When we face it head on as a family we can all fight towards the same goals and see it for what it is, a debilitating disorder that can be treated and managed.
Children who have a sibling with OCD may feel like they don’t get the same amount of attention. They may feel left out or alone in their struggles. They may not want to burden parents by putting more on their plates because they know the parents may be stressed and dealing with the child who is experiencing severe mental health symptoms. Siblings may withdraw or retreat to their room to be away from the chaos or the rigidity of the sufferer.
The sufferer may be putting high demands on their siblings due to the nature of their compulsions. They may be asking the sibling to participate in rituals or they may demand that they do things in a particular way. This can be extremely frustrating to the sibling who doesn’t understand the reason that their brother or sister is acting that way. They may just see this as the child with OCD being bossy and demanding. This may cause intense anger towards that child.
They may experience jealousy- they may feel like the sibling with OCD gets all of the attention. They may even wonder if that child is acting out on purpose and they may question if OCD is really a thing at all or just an excuse the child uses to get out of doing things.
Stacy Quick LPC, is a therapist at NOCD, specializing in the treatment of OCD. She has been working in the mental health field for nearly 20 years. Her goal is to help members achieve skills to help them live a more fulfilling life without letting OCD be in control. Ms. Quick uses ERP and her lived experiences to help her members understand it is possible to live a life in recovery. She is a mother of 3 children, 2 of whom are also diagnosed with OCD. Ms. Quick is also a writer and content creator. Learn more about Stacy Quick on Instagram: @stacyquick.undone
NOCD Therapists specialize in treating OCDView all therapists
Licensed Therapist, MA
I started as a therapist over 14 years ago, working in different mental health environments. Many people with OCD that weren't being treated for it crossed my path and weren't getting better. I decided that I wanted to help people with OCD, so I became an OCD therapist, and eventually, a clinical supervisor. I treated people using Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and saw people get better day in and day out. I continue to use ERP because nothing is more effective in treating OCD.
Licensed Therapist, LCMHC
When I started treating OCD, I quickly realized how much this type of work means to me because I had to learn how to be okay with discomfort and uncertainty myself. I’ve been practicing as a licensed therapist since 2016. My graduate work is in mental health counseling, and I use Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy because it’s the gold standard of OCD treatment.
Licensed Therapy, LMHC
I've been a licensed counselor since 2013, having run my private practice with a steady influx of OCD cases for several years. Out of all the approaches to OCD treatment that I've used, I find Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy to be the most effective. ERP goes beyond other methods and tackles the problem head-on. By using ERP in our sessions, you can look forward to better days ahead.