Some children enjoy the company of their peers, which they demonstrate early in life on the school playground and in the family backyard. Other children exhibit shyness by spending time alone working on school projects or watching their favorite television shows. Although shyness should not be considered a negative personality trait, parents must distinguish between shyness and a fear of interacting socially.
Social anxiety represents one of the most common and potentially devastating emotions that are experienced by children. If your child experienced one or more of the following five warning signs of social anxiety, you should consider scheduling at least one individual child therapy session to address the root of the problem.
Let’s see why a child should see a therapist for social anxiety.
The most obvious signs of social anxiety in a child concern the development of physical symptoms. Symptoms such as nausea, trembling, blushing, and shortness of breath might indicate a physical ailment at first, but by digging deeper, a properly credentialed child therapist can determine whether the physical symptoms are associated with social anxiety.
Children exhibit outbursts for many reasons, from losing a highly competitive game to boiling over with frustration in the classroom. An outburst typically happens when a child can no longer take the pressure of facing a certain event. If a socially anxious child is forced to participate in an event such as a birthday party or classmate photo session, the child might burst out in tears and/or throw a tantrum.
Faking Sickness to Avoid School
Most children that fake an illness to avoid going to school simply do not like school. However, a child that makes it a habit of lying in bed with an alleged cold might be socially anxious. Going to school every day triggers anxiety because a child dreads the thought of interacting with students and teachers.
Eating in Public
If your child has difficulty eating with other peers or even customers that dine in a restaurant, your child might have developed a serious case of social anxiety. Your child might struggle to eat with others because of the fear of everyone around the child watching the child eat. Socially anxious children do not like to be the center of attention.
Talking to Peers
Most socially anxious children have to deal with a racing mind that goes into overdrive when children are around their peers. The racing mind causes a child to overanalyze social situations, which often forces them to remain silent during conversations. The larger the social gathering, the more serious the anxiety attack.
The Bottom Line
Blackhawk Family Development Center helps socially anxious children address the challenges they face on a daily basis. For example, a program such as Balance allows adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 to meet with peers in a safe space to discuss the pressures of childhood that trigger stress and social anxiety.