According to America’s National Institute of Mental Health, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD is defined as “an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions) such as hand washing, counting, checking, or cleaning, which are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called ‘rituals,’ however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety”.
In other words, OCD is all about recurring thoughts that develop into habits. Question is, do we impart these attributes to our children? Does it become a parenting style? TheOCD Foundationestimates that 1 out of 100 individuals are afflicted with the disorder in varying degrees - it is very common and does not seem to hinder normal productive living. However, note that even the slightest degree of this condition may affect our behavior towards our kids. It may lend a positive impact as orderliness, schedule control, and a generally more enhanced awareness of one’s surroundings are characteristics found in most individuals with OCD, if done with thoughtful moderation. However if taken to the extremes, it may create an unhealthy environment for children, as they may find rules too restrictive, and everything else “set” for them, hampering the desire to do things on their own at a responsible pace.
Arthur and Lexie*, a married couple in their late twenties are parents to six-year-old twin girls. Lexie is a more relaxed parent, as she lets her children make the graceful mess that define them - crayons on the floor after home art time, sandy shoes from playing at the village park and a liberal approach to snacking. Arthur, on the other hand, is a tad more persuasive with most everything. He keeps a large whiteboard up on the refrigerator with a schedule for the family, including the help. He imposes a 5am wake-up call for everyone and breakfast by 6am. And, although generous with food, he packs ample rations in their lunchboxes and tells the kids what time they should be eating. A loving dad, he makes sure to read to his girls every night before they go to bed after going over homework and watching TV for an hour. He never argues with his wife regarding proper care. This is owed to proper communication and compromise, since Lexie is a full-time mom, and Arthur is a nine-to-five Dad. He says, “I know it’s slightly obsessive, but I need to impose a little control. Kids are kids and they need structure.” Lexie retorts simply: “Children are children!” When asked why they don’t end up arguing, let alone fight about drastically different parenting styles, Arthur says “She’s the Mom and I’m at work, at least when I get home, I can put a little order around the home. It’s a fair balance I believe, since the girls are happy anyway”.
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