Dear Dr. Rosemond,
My 10 year old daughter has what I describe as behavioural “ticks”. They come and go, evolve and devolve and can result in mild tantrums if they are interrupted or not played-out, especially evident at night when she’s tired. Her mother (we’re divorced) works as a nurse and wanted her to see a psychologist to determine if there was a deeper underlying problem we were unaware of. That visit was about 2 years ago.
Since that visit to the psychologist we had her see a child counsellor about 8-10 times to work on lowering her anxiety and regarding an issue where she says she hears voices in her head telling her to kill herself. That suicidal talk has now passed but the physical tick behaviour remained. For example; obsessively counting in 2’s, a goodnight kissing ritual and this finger tapping ritual on my hands or other items she’s just used and put down. I would like to write them off and more or less ignore them as I have heard that ticks are a normal part of some youth experience and that almost everyone gets them and almost everyone outgrows them. She moved to a new school about 8 months ago when I believe the anxiety increased and perhaps the tick behaviour worsened but I can’t recall. To give you more perspective on our family set-up she spends half her time at her moms and half her time with us (my wife of 8 years and our 3 year old twins).
At the behest of her school teacher (his first year teaching, fresh out of college); her mother has just brought her back to the psychologist where she has now been labelled OCD. I hate that. When I spend time with my daughter I find the ticks irritating but not debilitating and certainly nothing I’d like to draw extra attention to. Her teacher finds her behaviour disruptive as she is at times slow to join the class as she must finish her ritual(s). I’m not sure how to handle that.
We admire your books (although I haven’t read them all) and have found using your methods to be beneficial to her behaviour since last summer but we would like your advice on the ticks, your opinion on a label such as OCD and how to convince her mother she’s fine but just developing in an unexpected way. Of course her mother means the best for her but we would like some professional ammunition to counter the “professional” label we're now dealing with. Am I wrong? If so please point me in the right direction.