Over the past few weeks we have noticed something with Elliott. That something bares a striking resemblance to OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). In Elliott’s case it has to do with hand washing.
Elliott is very preoccupied with germs and this is relatively new. We did realize exactly what was going on at first. Then over the past day or so I started paying closer attention to Elliott’s activities throughout the day. I thought he was going upstairs to play or get a toy but he was going to the bathroom to wash his hands.
I’m completely for good hygiene but not like this. He is constantly washing his hands with hand sanitizer. Since I have noticed this, I have very tactfully talked to Elliott about what he is doing. I was curious as to why he would feel the need to wash his hands all the time. I was hoping there was something I could clear up for him that would help him to relax and maybe let go of this obsessive behaviors.
Basically, Elliott doesn’t like to think that there are germs in his hands. So if he touches his nose or something along those lines he has to wash his hands. He is embarrassed by this behavior because he tries to hide it now. He will say he’s going upstairs to get a Lego or something and instead go wash his hands.
This absolutely breaks my heart and I don’t what to do to help him. He very clearly doesn’t want to do this but he just can’t seem to help himself. I have been trying to distract him when he feels the need to wash his hands but sometimes he gets really upset. I could obviously hide the hand sanitizer but I don’t know if that’s the right way to handle this. Elliott is so stressed out by our lives and I was hoping that something like this wouldn’t happen to him.
I have been spending as much time with him as possible to try and help him to feel safer or more secure about his life but it doesn’t seem to be helping. What he desperately needs is normalcy. He needs to be around typical peers and away from all the chaos that living with 2 brothers that have rather extreme behaviors. I also know he’s worried about Lizze and Gavin as well. My fear is that the longervthis goes on the harder this is going to be to get under control.
I don’t want him feel ashamed or embarrassed because this isn’t his fault, it’s mine. I’m not doing enough to shield him from some of things that are disrupting his life. I can’t provide him with a better neighborhood where he could more freely and safely be a kid. I have failed to make him feel safe and in control of his life.
Elliott, getting booted out of his school is only going to make things worse. That school was going to provide him the one big thing that I can’t and that was a sense of normalcy. All his friends were there and he loved being there. He felt safe and secure there. Now that’s gone and if things were rough for him now, what will happen when he finds out?
Does anyone have experience with this? His therapist is out of town for 2 weeks and I need to start helping him now.
I want help him work through this… Any advice would be greatly appreciated……