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Theresa, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 877
Experience:  PhD. Clinical Psychology - Ex. Director Adolescent Treatment Facility
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Hi, my 4 yr old son exhibits behaviors that I fear may ...

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Hi, my 4 yr old son exhibits behaviors that I fear may be signs of OCD. He is very particular about certain things, for example, he will wake up in the night wanting a drink of water. I will bring him a cup of water and he will throw a fit because the cup is the wrong color. He is easily calmed if I give in and get the "right" color cup for him, but, I wonder if this is the right way to handle the situation. I feel that giving him his way when he throws a tantrum is not a good idea, however, if this is OCD behavior - what is the best way to handle it?
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Theresa's Post: What other information can I offer?


When you talk about OCD there is much more criteria that would have to be met before giving the diagnosis to anyone. Being that your son is only 4 years of age it sounds to me as though he is beginning to experience another developmental phase of autonomy whereby he is making his independence known. The problem is he isn't old enough or mature enough to express it appropriately. He has learned though that throwing a fit will aid him at having his demands met.

I would suggest that when he wakes in the night and exhibits this behavior that you calmly and gently ask him why he doesn't like the other colors. He will be able to understand that. Then let him know that when he is acting "not nice" he can't have his favorite color.

The trick here is consistency and it is also the most difficult. Role modeling the appropriate behaviors for him and being consistent will help him to develop in a healthy manner. To continue giving into his demands will only reinforce to him that this is an acceptable way of getting what he wants and as he gets older, he will seek out ways to keep this method effective: He will up the ante!

This is if the behavior that you have described is the only thing that he is doing of this nature. If you have other concerns feel free to let me know.

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