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Jeff often trembled at the thought of speaking in public or auditioning for the drama club he so loved. The thought of meeting new people was a nightmare, and the idea of eating in the canteen would make him uncomfortable. Always worried about embarrassing himself, he used to cut himself from people. Can you identify your kid with Jeff's feelings? Yes? Them there is a high probability that your kid is also suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder.
And do you know, Jeff and your kid are not alone? Fifteen million adults, or 6.8% of the US population, suffer from a social anxiety disorder. And interestingly, a 2007 survey revealed that 36% of people suffered from symptoms of SAD before receiving any medical help.
SAD can potentially hamper your child's overall development and make them feel lonely. It is crucial to diagnose and treat it as soon as possible. Therefore here we have compiled everything you need to know about Social Anxiety Disorder. We are sure this would help you understand what your child is going through and support it.
Does Your Child Have The Following Symptoms?
Encounters with other people, especially strangers, make children with SAD uncomfortable. SAD can give your child a hard time, and it is essential to identify and treat it as soon as possible. Some of the symptoms that you should look for in your child are:
- If it trembles, blushes, sweats, feel a rapid heart rate or feels their mind going blank when they encounter people or strangers.
- Also, if it feels sick to the stomach or nauseous on meeting people.
- Children with SAD also avoid eye contact, show a rigid posture, or speak in an extra soft voice.
- Kids with social anxiety wish to talk to people but still find it scary to speak with them, especially strangers.
- Another prevalent trait is that they feel too self-conscious around people. They feel embarrassed and awkward at even inconsequential things.
- Also, they are always worried that other people will judge them.
- And lastly, to avoid the above situations, they try to avoid places where there are people.
From the above symptoms, it is clear that social anxiety can be a giant boulder in your kid's development path. And as it is with every illness, the sooner you identify, the more manageable overcoming social anxiety will be. Thus, parents, friends, and teachers have a crucial role to play, especially in the teenage of the child.
What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?
People with SAD feel so self-conscious, anxious, and afraid in some or all social situations that go beyond the level of shyness.
They might not be able to meet new people, go on dates, give a job interview, or even talk to the cashier in a store. Presentations are nightmares for them. All of this gets in their way to lead an everyday life. Consequentially, they might try to ditch school, escape office as it is challenging to deal with people.
SAD mostly starts in adolescents, but it can also begin in childhood. And if left untreated, it can result in depression and isolation.
What Are The Bad Effects Of Social Anxiety On Children?
SAD is no trivial matter. It hampers the development of your child and decreases their quality of life. It takes a toll on the lives and minds of the children that suffer from it. Its many harmful effects are:
- They are more likely to perform poorly at school. Being uncomfortable while sitting in the class, answering questions, participating in events or clubs, etc., ultimately leads to poor performance.
- They might miss important social interactions as they might not want to attend school functions or birthday parties. The mere idea of an upcoming party or, say, prom night can make them sick in the stomach for weeks.
- Feelings of isolation can also lead them to substance abuse.
- Furthermore, it is a fact that anxiety is the first step towards many other mental disorders. Disorders like depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and eating disorders might just be lurking around the corner if SAD is left untreated for a long time.
ADAA or Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that 25.1% of children aged 13-18 suffer from SAD. This means roughly 1 in every four children is suffering from social anxiety. Indeed this is very dangerous and poses a threat to building a healthy society. It certainly calls for teamwork from both parents and teachers to make the situation better.
What Is Causing My Child's Social Anxiety Disorder?
Knowing the causes of social anxiety disorder is the first step in overcoming social anxiety. You can stop the challenges at the source and then work towards healing your child from the damage already done.
- Sometimes children pick up social anxiety from their environment and experiences. No offense, but overprotective or restrictive parenting can also cause SAD. In addition to that, sexual abuse, traumatic bullying, addiction or withdrawal from drugs, even traumatic family conditions like divorce or violence, etc., can instill anxiety in children.
- Often children, when faced with threats, develop a system of negative beliefs, like, I will end up embarrassing myself if I do this, or I am not likable, or nobody will like to be my friend because I am boring, etc. This behavior usually kicks when they have low self-esteem. Thus, we need to take care children are confident enough and have high self-esteem
- Some people tend to be anxious in the presence of strangers from as early as infancy. Again, this can develop into social anxiety.
- Children can inherit social anxiety from their parents. Though scientists have not found a gene for anxiety, nevertheless studies suggest an element of heritability. That is, parents can transfer anxiety irrespective of environmental factors.
- Often children have social anxiety while interacting in person but not while texting or communicating online. This trait is widespread in young adults, and the only culprit is excessive exposure to screens. We spend so much time staring at screens than staring at each other that it makes us anxious when confronting people.
These are the main aspects that factor in to cause social anxiety disorder in your child. We can win half the battle by understanding what is troubling the child and how to set it right. Below is a list of remedies that you can use to help your child in overcoming social anxiety.
Few Steps You Can Take To Help Kids In Overcoming Social Anxiety
As parents, we must take the first step and help our children live holistic and meaningful life. Thus, below are few measures parents can take to comfort their children.
- The first step is and should be to approach a good therapist. A good therapist can help identify triggers and help find solutions and coping strategies to reduce the symptoms.
- Encourage and help your child to go out there. Though they would be reluctant or uncomfortable if they have mild to moderate anxiety, help them explore social interactions more.
- Take care of the health of your child. Take care of their diet and make sure they exercise optimally. If a gym is not possible, try walking, running, or yoga. An exercise routine goes a long way in balancing emotions and hormones.
- You can also ensure that your kid is taking proper sleep.
- Observe your kids or sit with them and try to find out their anxiety triggers. Anxiety does not affect everybody the same way.
- Please encourage your child to take small steps and congratulate them after they give it a try. Like instead of self-checkout, try talking to the cashier, etc.
- Self-love, self-pampering, and relaxation techniques also help a lot. Make them a part of your kid's daily routine. This will raise their self-esteem and make them feel good about themselves. You can try breathing exercises, aromatherapy, spa days, etc.
- Try to limit their screen time through parental control apps.
- And lastly, if you, as a parent, yourself experience social anxiety, try not to show that to your child. Find solutions to mitigate your stress and get help for whatever the need be.
These are the best apps to block adult sites on Android. If you ask me, Wondershare FamiSafe is best because it offers a wealth of parental control features. In addition to blocking porn sites, this app also comes with the screen time feature that lets you monitor your kid’s screen activities and take appropriate action where necessary. Nonetheless, all the apps above will come in handy.
Wondershare FamiSafe - The Most Reliable Parental Control App
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