Help Your Teenager Find His Passion
One of the best forms of therapy, some would say the “best medicine” for any teenager who feels lost and alone, is for a youngster to find her own individual passion. What is a passion? Music, dance, reading or writing, spoken word poetry, gardening, animal care (pets can be the best therapy for many kids with anxiety disorders), knitting, crafts, stamp or coin collecting … the list goes on and on. And that's just the point. A passion is whatever moves your teenager to get out of her own way and into her best self. There is absolutely no reason why a teenager with OCD cannot find her own passion. There is actually even more reason for her to do so.
As a parent, your job is to support whatever she finds that can offer individual fulfillment. And if her OCD makes it harder to find that one thing, you might be able to help guide her to different choices based on your own special knowledge of what makes her happy despite the rigors of her disorder. Here is one mother's example:
My sixteen-year-old son Jamie just danced in his school's opening night performance of West Side Story. I cried when I saw him up there, looking so happy in his body, so free for those few moments of his OCD. Later he told me he loves dancing, but that I shouldn't tell anyone, in case he can't do it anymore. That made me sad but all I could do was to encourage him to think positive. That if he made it through opening night, the rest would be easier.
As is often the case with parenting, the greatest opportunities to be a good parent arrive spontaneously — in the car on the way to school, in the middle of the night when your child can't sleep — and depend on your own intuition. All that this book, or any other source of information on OCD, can do is help inform your own best instincts as a parent.