3 Ways You Can Help Your Child Cope With Social Anxiety Disorder

Posted on: 2 July 2021

Growing up can be hard. Children are constantly learning new things, being placed in new environments, and meeting new people. All of these changes can be overwhelming for a child.

Some children experience a heightened level of anxiety that can be crippling in social situations. Social anxiety disorder can be a contributing factor in the development of depression as a child ages.

In order to help your child learn to cope with his or her social anxiety disorder, it's essential that you take action as soon as possible. Use the following tips to help you better navigate social anxiety disorder with your child.

1. Learn About the Disorder

Social anxiety disorder can go unnoticed in children for years. By the time parents or teachers notice a problem, the anxiety a child feels is often so severe it interferes with daily life.

Parents must take the time to learn about social anxiety disorder. One of the most important things to learn is that shyness and social anxiety disorder are not the same thing.

Shyness is a character trait, not a disorder. A shy child may be slow to engage in social situations, but they eventually do invest fully in the situation. Children with social anxiety disorder will not want to engage with others in a social setting at all.

The more you know about social anxiety disorder, the better prepared you will be to recognize the symptoms of this disorder in your own child.

2. Learn to Recognize Early Symptoms

The key to helping a child successfully cope with social anxiety disorder is recognizing the early warning signs that a child is suffering from this condition. The earlier you identify a problem, the less likely social anxiety disorder will have a lasting negative effect on your child's well-being.

Selective mutism is one of the earliest indications of social anxiety disorder. A child that is afraid to speak in front of teachers, other children, or anyone outside their immediate family has selective mutism.

A child with social anxiety disorder may start to refuse to participate in group activities as they age. These children will show no interest in extracurricular activities and have very few close friends.

Be vigilant in monitoring your child for symptoms of social anxiety disorder so that you can get him or her the help needed to cope with this condition effectively.

3. Challenge Your Child

Once your child has been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, therapy and medication may be prescribed. It's important for parents to learn to challenge their children after a social anxiety disorder in order to help facilitate growth.

Parents can unwittingly exacerbate social anxiety disorder by shielding children from uncomfortable situations. For example, a teacher might ask a child's name. The parent steps in and answers on behalf of the child.

Taking away the opportunity to grow does not help your child overcome his or her social anxiety disorder.

You must work closely with your child's therapist to learn how you can expose your child to social situations in a healthy and productive way. Challenging your child to step outside his or her comfort zone will help bolster the child's confidence and reduce the effects of social anxiety over time.

Learning to navigate social situations is a critical part of any child's developmental process. A child with social anxiety disorder will need additional help and resources to ensure that he or she doesn't become isolated and withdrawn.

Do your part as a parent to learn about social anxiety disorder, become familiar with the early symptoms of the disorder, and challenge your child to grow in social situations.

Contact a resource like NeuroPower Solutions to learn more about treatment options.