How to Support Kids with Social Anxiety
Written By Savvy Auntie Staff Writers
By Jaime Herndon
Teenagers are often self-conscious about the things they wear or how they act, not wanting to do anything “wrong” or “uncool.” To an extent, this is just being a teen. But what if it gets to be out of control and starts interfering with normal functioning? Social anxiety disorder typically begins to show symptoms between the ages of 8 and 15, but these ages aren’t written in stone. Sometimes adults may not even realize how anxious a child is, because the child doesn’t want to tell anyone because of embarrassment or shame.
Social anxiety is a fear of how people will perceive you. It’s not just about the big things, like talking in front of the class; even something like going to the cafeteria for lunch can provoke intense reactions in children with social anxiety. They might be terrified that they won’t have anyone to sit with or that they’ll embarrass themselves. It’s not the same as being shy. Shyness doesn’t interfere with social activities or negatively impact school performance; social anxiety interferes with everyday life to a noticeable extent.
As aunts, we can be aware of social anxiety disorder, and if our niece or nephew seems to be having some trouble with anxiety, we can provide them with strong emotional support and resources. To learn more about social anxiety disorder, below is a list of resources that might be helpful.
Child Mind Institute
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Massachusetts General Hospital School Psychiatry Program