Parenting a child who finds social situations extremely worrying can be a challenge…
Even after years at the same school, your child may still struggle at drop off time or desperately complain each weekend about playing team sport even though they have fun once there.
This is not shyness, Parentline.com.au states: these intense feelings of fear are signs of social anxiety, your child is worried that people think badly of them and that something bad will happen.
Your child will need your support…
Luckily there are ways to help your child overcome social anxiety.
What triggers social anxiety?
Noticing how your child is feeling before or during a social situation is the first step to helping them. Try to determine what particular situations seem to trigger their anxiety.
Common triggers are:
- Meeting new people and joining in
- Going to parties where there are new people
- Shopping centres
- Being the centre of attention
- School drop-off
- Having to talk to adults they don’t know well
- Talking in front of others
What are the signs of anxiety?
As explained by raisingchildre.net.au: anxiety affects the body and mind in different ways, your child may show signs of or complain about:
- Having a sore tummy, sweating, sore muscles
- Being withdrawn
- Have a small number of friends
- Worrying about not being good enough
- Thinking others are judging them negatively
- Poor concentration
- Having negative thoughts about themselves
- Avoiding certain situations
- Avoiding success, so they don’t stand out
How you can help your child?
If you notice your child is feeling anxious about certain social situations, these strategies can help:
- Be supportive and positive about their strengths and worth
- Help your child challenge unrealistic thoughts
- Encourage them to never give up
- Be supportive and understanding
- Teach your child about assertive communication
- Introduce relaxation techniques, like breathing exercises, yoga or those used on the SmilingMind app.
- Gently encourage your child to participate in new activities
- Act out situations your child is fearful of to prepare them and make it easier for them
- Don’t avoid social situations. Start small, tackle the little things before trying the larger, more fear-inducing situations
- Don’t force your child to talk or do things in front of others.
- Talk to your child’s carers and teachers about their anxiety
- Avoid criticising your child when their behaviour is difficult in a social situation
It’s not easy dealing with a child who’s feeling fear and anxiety about social situations, but you can help them overcome it by using the ideas mentioned.
If your child’s anxiety is stopping them enjoying life, seek professional help.
The team at Cubby Care care about the welfare of your child and are here to help. If you have any concerns or questions, about anxiety or otherwise, don’t hesitate to get in touch!