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Spitting Behavior

Question:

Hi! I have a 6 year old son who lately has been spitting a lot. He’s always running to a trash can to spit. When asked about why he does it, he gives a variety of reasons, one of which he’s afraid that if someone talks to him up close, the germs from the other person(saliva) will go to his mouth. If you accidentally touch his mouth, he’ll spit. Or if he smells something he doesn’t like, he spits. Lately, he keeps saying his pants are wet-as if he’d peed by accident-but if you touch it, its really not. He also likes to keep his door to his room locked at night, and he’s always reminding me at night to check all the doors of the house to make sure its locked. HELP! Is this OCD? And if yes, what kind of doctor should we see?

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Answer:

It is possible that your six year old son has OCD and, all that really means is that he could be extremely anxious about some things in his life. However, I cannot tell you in any definitive way that it is OCD for sure. You need to have him evaluated, diagnosed and treated and that is what you are asking about.

I suggest you get a recommendation for a Clinical Psychologist who specializes in working with children. You need someone with that specialty because it is a specific area of psychology. You can call the state American Psychological Association for your area and ask for names or you can call your State Office of Mental Health or speak to your Pediatrician for a referral.

By the way, I would not allow a six year old to lock his bedroom door. There are just too many ways a youngster can get into trouble when alone and you need easy access to his room.

When my children were very young, like you son, an electrical fire started in their room when they were asleep in the middle of the night. This was a rental apartment and, as it turned out, there was faulty wiring in the walls of their room. We got them out and there were no injuries. If their room had been locked and even if their door had been closed, we might never have known about the fire and there could have been a major tragedy.

I strongly recommend that you and other parents not allow children to close and lock their bedroom door. Explain the reasons why to your son, tell him he can keep the light on and tell him you need to hear him if he calls out to you. Because he could be very anxious remind him you need the door open for his safety.

Best of Luck

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