Shyness is a personality trait that affects the temperament of many children and can sometimes lead to the development of social anxiety in later years. Shy children often have a difficult time making new friends or coping with social interactions. While certain social activities may be difficult, shy children are eventually able to warm up to the situation and enjoy interacting with their peers. As a parent of a shy teenager, you may be concerned that their shyness may have a negative impact on their future. If you begin to notice your child avoiding social situations or limiting interactions with people, they may have Social Anxiety Disorder.
Social Anxiety Disorder is a common anxiety disorder that causes a person to feel anxiety or fear during social situations. Teenagers with social anxiety often find themselves feeling uncomfortable during situations such as dating, answering questions in class, or meeting new people. Doing regular activities such as eating or drinking in front of others can also cause feelings of fear or unease.
Teenagers with social anxiety are often afraid that they will be embarrassed, rejected, or judged by the people around them. This fear is so strong that a teenager with social anxiety feels that they are unable to control it.
Social anxiety causes an intense fear of embarrassment or humiliation in front of others, and causes people to expect the worst in every social situation. Teenagers with social anxiety will often refrain from asking or answering questions in class or giving presentations for fear of speaking in front of others.
Social anxiety can cause teenagers to feel intense feelings of anxiety both during the social situation and beforehand while preparing for it. They also tend to dwell on mistakes made in past social interactions for fear of repeating them. During the social event they may feel intense fear and an extreme desire to flee. They will avoid being the center of attention and fear interacting with strangers, as they often worry that others will notice how anxious they are. This can make it extremely difficult for teenagers to make new friends or succeed in school.
Social anxiety in children doesn’t just affect behavior and emotions; it also presents itself physically. Social anxiety causes a person’s fight-or-flight response to be activated when faced with social interaction. The fight-or-flight response is the body’s way of responding to threats, whether they are real or perceived. When this happens, the part of the brain known as the amygdala activates a physiological response to get the person out of the perceived danger.
Social anxiety in teenagers may present itself physically by causing blushing or flushed skin. They might find themselves with an upset stomach or difficulty breathing when faced with social interactions. They might also find that their mind goes blank when speaking to people. While these physical symptoms are not dangerous, they can cause extreme distress.
As a parent, you hope your child grows up feeling confident and comfortable in their own skin, and can thrive in many aspects of their lives including socially. Unfortunately, many teenagers develop social anxiety and find it difficult to function in certain social situations. Recognizing and keeping track of all the symptoms of social anxiety your teenager exhibits is the first step in getting them the proper help they need. These symptoms include:
Social anxiety manifests itself differently in every person. Some teenagers may experience all of these symptoms, while others only exhibit a few of them. If your child demonstrates any combination of these symptoms and finds it difficult to function because of them, they likely have social anxiety, and will need help to manage their symptoms.
Social anxiety in teenagers can make it difficult for them to function in normal social settings. It can be difficult to watch your child struggle, but there are multiple options to help them manage their symptoms.
Living with social anxiety can often be debilitating for teenagers, but you can help. Expressing to your child that you support them and are willing to help them manage their symptoms will be beneficial in their healing. Visit our website to find additional tips and resources to support your child living with social anxiety or any other mental health issues they may be experiencing.