Obsessive compulsive disorder - OCD treatment and therapy from NOCD

Help! My Sibling Has OCD

By Stacy Quick, LPC

Apr 22, 20222 minute read

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.

We specialize in treating OCD

Reach out to us. We're here to help.