Cindy Gullo, LCPC - Therapist & Counselor
The Blog

4 Tips for Helping Socially Anxious Teens

socially anxious teen standing alone away from other teens

Parenting teens is no mean task because part of the challenges you may face in the process is social anxiety disorder (SAD). When a teen is suffering from social anxiety, they will;

  • Experience difficulties in adopting a growth mindset.
  • Be afraid to fail or make mistakes.
  • Fear the risk of letting others down.
  • Shy away from embarrassment when they are before their peers.
  • Not be willing to try new things.

Some of the causes of social anxiety include such childhood experiences as moving or divorce, traits inheritance, traumatic experiences, the molecular composition of a developing brain, among others. Here are some tips for those parents seeking to help their teens overcome social anxiety disorder.

1. Connect With Daughter

Teens may choose to communicate their fears or concerns when they are facing social anxiety and they can keep it to themselves as well. If your child is willing to share details about what is making them uneasy, you should be ready to listen and offer them advice. In the case of teens who opt to remain silent amidst their fears, you should address the issue as soon as you identify the same.

You can engage your teen who is suffering from social anxiety even before they mention it, and you can do so by showing them empathy, acceptance, and by giving them the assurance they need.

2. Walk With Your Teen Through Social Situations

Helping your child understand that anxiety exists to keep humans safe can make all the difference if they are experiencing social anxiety in their teenage years. The urge to return to safety when an uncomfortable situation confronts us is part of the causes of stress when things are not right. In that case, you can walk your teen through social anxiety disorder by;

  • Admitting that you also get nervous over some things.
  • Facing your fears in front of your teen where possible.
  • Sharing with your child the experience of confronting your fears, especially when you overcome them.

Once your child starts making progress towards breaking free from social anxiety, remember to reward them for every achievement.

3. Prioritize the Process

The ability to overcome social anxiety is not about perfection, but finding fulfillment in going through the process. Instilling the mindset of pursuing practice as a goal when helping your teen through social anxiety is paramount if you want them to remain enthusiastic throughout the process.

You should also share with your child about your past mistakes and the lessons that have become a precious asset as a result of the latter. As a result, your child will appreciate the fact that the process is what matters most.

4. Slow Down When Necessary

Since you cannot expect immediate results when assisting a teen to overcome social anxiety, you need to know when you should step in and when you should retreat. Pushing your child when they are confronting their fears or anxieties will only make things worse. For that reason, consider taking time to remove your teen from uncomfortable settings temporarily so you can remind them of some coping skills.

You can also allow your child to engage in those activities that help them relax as a way of breaking away from anxiety.

Contact me if you think your teen has social anxiety or if you have questions and want more information.