Think my almost 4yr old might have OCD — The Bump
Pre-School

Think my almost 4yr old might have OCD

Hello ladies,

I am hoping some moms with experience with childhood Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can give me some feedback and advice on what to do.

My 3 (going on 4) year old has been having some challenging behavior patterns that make me wonder if he might have the beginnings of OCD. I feel like whatever the behavior is, it has become significant enough to interfere with family life and cause us all a lot of distress, so I really want to talk to a professional about it and get some strategies to help minimize the impact of this behavior on his development and our enjoyment.

Here are some examples of his troubling behavior:

1. He asks the same question over and over while becoming increasingly distressed. Getting the answer he wants doesn't always help, he wants to hear the "yes" again and again. Example: Him: Can I have a cookie after lunch? ME: Yes, if you finish your food. Him: Can I? Yes? Can I? Me: I said yes. Him: Did you say yes?? (getting almost hysterical at this point).

2. We went on vacation this week and he had 5 tantrums over 6 days, where he screamed for extended amounts of time over nothing really...a few times it was our refusal to repeat the same thing again and again. I wouldn't say his big tantrums are usually this frequent, but it sure did ruin our enjoyment of vacation.

3. He has a bedtime ritual that includes checking to make sure certain things are on his dresser and he always says "don't take my water (cup) away" although we never do. Still, he needs to hear us say that we won't take it away.

4. He bites his nails as a nervous habit.

5. He has a sensitivity to loud noises. He won't go in bathrooms that have loud automatic flushers. I have also noticed some tactile sensitivities.

6. Just recently, he started a "game" where he only wants to walk on certain color squares on tile floors, or wants to jump over cracks.

7. He often seems to overreact to situations, and take a long time to calm down. His tantrums almost seem like they could be panic attacks, his heart rate is very rapid, he is kind of wild-eyed, and his eyes even get bloodshot. Even though he is almost 4 (in early October), there is no reasoning with him. I will tell him calmly: "I will talk to you when you calm down." But he won't. He will tantrum for an extended amount of time.

I feel overwhelmed by the constant difficulty of parenting him, and don't really feel a lot of enjoyment during our time together, mostly stress, wondering when his next break down is going to happen.

He doesn't seem to have any problems at 2-morning-per-week preschool or in his interactions with friends (other than normal stuff for this age like difficulty sharing). That's probably why we haven't really realized he needed help until now. He's always been fussy/difficult since he was a baby and with no other child to compare him to, we thought that he was on the normal spectrum until recently.

Thanks for any comments you can offer regarding experience with childhood OCD or how to go about finding a good child psychologist (We live in the Raleigh, NC area). We have a baby on the way and I want to get him the support he needs before she gets here.

~S

<a href="http://www.thebump.com/?utm_source=ticker&utm_medium=HTML&utm_campaign=tickers"><img src="http://global.thebump.com/tools/tickers/tt426a1.aspx" alt=" Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker" border="0" /></a>




BFP #2 10/7/11, EDD 6/14/12, Hb 8w4d, Missed m/c discovered at 10w4d, measuring 9w.
Natural m/c 11/23/11


BFP #3 2/17/12, m/c 5w1d, CP


RLP, Sonohystogram, HSG, no sig. findings, only poss. endo


BFP #4 5/20/12, EDD 01/28/2013, 3 wks on beta roller coaster, 7w1d u/s: irregular hb/1 wk behind on growth. 8w2d u/s: no hb, still measuring 6w1d. 3 rounds of cytotec.
Natural m/c 6/27/2012.
Proceeded to more testing with new RE in July 2012, which revealed endometritis. Treated with antibiotics and had biopsy to confirm it has been resolved. TTC again starting Jan. 2013.


[IMG]http://i45.tinypic.com/1zel5bp.jpg[/IMG]

Re: Think my almost 4yr old might have OCD

  • Can't help with psych rec but I do recommend it if you have concerns.  What do his teachers say at school?  Personally I don't think it sounds like OCD.  Toddlers/preschoolers are famous for these type of behaviors. I suggest you talk to the teachers and see if they also have concerns.  Or ask other people who see your son regularly- grandparents, friends.  He sounds like he has some high-maintenance traits, some of which could perhaps be worked out with firm limits and the others could be overlooked.

    For example, with the questioning thing.  If you give your answer, and he asks again.  Don't repeat yourself. Ask him what the first answer was.  Can I have a cookie? Yes. Can I have a cookie? What did I already say? 

    And make sure you stick to what you say so he can predict and trust your decisions. 

    BabyFruit Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickersLilypie Angel and Memorial tickers
  • My oldest went through an OCD phase right at 3.  I couldn't park in prking garages because if someone else closed their car door before the echo of my door finished she would freak and demand we opened all the car doors and close them again to get the full echo.  If a piece of food fell off her spoon, then every bite after that she would put on her spoon, dump and pick up again.  Once she started hitting and screaming and trying to bite me (she has always been sweet and mild) because I wouldn't get in the bath with her and spread the bubbles out right.  Oh man.  It goes on.  I developed OCD as a child after my bipolar brother was institutionalized and was certain she was some kind of disordered.

     I went out and bought 4 development books and one "Your 3 year old, Friend or FOe" laid it out for me.  It is terribly written, and mundane, but discusses cycles of calm and storm in development as natural and unavoidable and promised it would last 6 months, and she was right. 

    This is not to discount your mama gut.  But it very well could be a phase.  At school she did not display any of the symptoms.  The teacher was shocked and wanting me to refer to Childfind over it, but just when I was at my wit's end, it seriously seemed to disappear.

    My strategies were to stray just out of her comfort zone, often, but jump right back in before she freaked, and then make a big deal about her staying calm.  When she wanted me to answer  question repeatedly I would oblige cheerfully but change the wording and inflection each time. 

    I say speaking with a professional can't hurt.  But I do recommend kind keeping a log of the meltdowns and list  what led up to it... how it was resolved, how long, etc. so you can have a clear picture of it's patterns

    If you really want to be happy, no one can stop you.

    [IMG]http://i47.tinypic.com/34fg0u1.jpg[/IMG]
  • Loading the player...
  • as the other moms said, trust your instincts!  That said, my 3yr 5mth old boy does almost all of those behaviors and I don't think there is anything "wrong" at all. I just think he is an intense and very creative kid with a huge imagination. He has a twin sister and she doesn't do any of those things but she is totally different personality type.

    I just try to ignore the behaviors as much as I can, or if he is really tantruming I will hold him and eventually calm him. the non-stop questions and repeating of questions I think is just a stage but boy is it grating on the nerves ! :)

    Good luck hope he is OK.

     

    Lilypie Second Birthday tickers
  • Ditto everyone else in the trust your gut statement. But like others have said, a lot of those behaviors sound normal. My boys do several of those things. Sometimes it drives me crazy. But at the same time, it may be that your DS is doing them to the extreme which may be an indicator for an issue. I'm all for having an evaluation. Can't hurt.
    Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers Lilypie Second Birthday tickers Lilypie Pregnancy tickers
  • Thanks for your responses. It's reassuring that this behavior may be part of the 3 yr old boy phase. I think I will look into getting him evaluated but try not to worry about it too much.
    <a href="http://www.thebump.com/?utm_source=ticker&utm_medium=HTML&utm_campaign=tickers"><img src="http://global.thebump.com/tools/tickers/tt426a1.aspx" alt=" Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker" border="0" /></a>




    BFP #2 10/7/11, EDD 6/14/12, Hb 8w4d, Missed m/c discovered at 10w4d, measuring 9w.
    Natural m/c 11/23/11


    BFP #3 2/17/12, m/c 5w1d, CP


    RLP, Sonohystogram, HSG, no sig. findings, only poss. endo


    BFP #4 5/20/12, EDD 01/28/2013, 3 wks on beta roller coaster, 7w1d u/s: irregular hb/1 wk behind on growth. 8w2d u/s: no hb, still measuring 6w1d. 3 rounds of cytotec.
    Natural m/c 6/27/2012.
    Proceeded to more testing with new RE in July 2012, which revealed endometritis. Treated with antibiotics and had biopsy to confirm it has been resolved. TTC again starting Jan. 2013.


    [IMG]http://i45.tinypic.com/1zel5bp.jpg[/IMG]
  • My 3 year old DS is intense to parent as well.  He does the repeating thing often, and we've gotten into the habit of only answering his question once, maybe twice if we thought he might not have heard us the first time.  "Chicken nuggets for dinner?" "No, we're having steak."  "Chicken nuggets?"  "What did I already say?"  And, generally, he'll respond with the already given answer.  "STEAK!"  Your DS might need to be coached on this for a few weeks, but be consistent, and see if it helps him.  
    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers Lilypie First Birthday tickers
  • cpmichcpmich member
    As others have said, normal for this age range. If he met milestones really early or is showing some advanced abilities, you might be dealing with gifted overexciteabilities. Just wanted to throw it out there to counterbalance austism mention.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • cpmichcpmich member
    -auntie- said:


    cpmich said:

    As others have said, normal for this age range. If he met milestones really early or is showing some advanced abilities, you might be dealing with gifted overexciteabilities. Just wanted to throw it out there to counterbalance austism mention.

    Because you can't be gifted and have autism?

    I had a lot of people, including DS's preschool teachers and pedi, blow off my son's quirks as gifted because he's so smart- sentences at 16 months, 8th grade vocab in kindie- but they were a more a function of ASD. One condition does not R/O the other.

    A mom should trust her gut. Kids with OCD, ASD and other behavioral health issues do the same things typically developing kids do- the difference is often intensity, duration and the impact on quality of life. If it feels "off" to mom, it should be looked into. Especially if she has a concern at OCD which can suck the joy out of childhood.


    I agree with you that there are definitely 2e kids out there but there are also gifted kids who have been misdiagnosed as being on the spectrum. I would never tell a mom to ignore her instincts, just to consider a range of options.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • i don't have a child who has been diagnosed with ASD or OCD, but i see a lot of similarities between your description and my own 3.25 year old's (what we assume to be typical) behavior.

    he also asks the same questions over and over, sometimes getting agitated in the process.

    he also has long tantrums over nothing.  tonight it was being upset that i wouldn't let him zip open my lunch box and play with my water bottle, which then devolved into an hour long scream-fest where he was banging walls and throwing his toys everywhere (and demanding i hold his hand on the stairs, as he stood screaming at the bottom).

    i don't discount your gut instinct as a mom, and i would suggest you pursue having a professional help you with an evaluation or at least a consultation.  it's win-win.... either you and he learn more about a potential diagnosis and you get on the good path toward a happy and stable existence for him (with the assistance of whatever professional he may need) OR you get confirmation that this is just a tenuous and difficult phase with a boy who tends to be more sensitive and spirited than most boys his age.

    you never know...  that's why the pros are pros!
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards