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Helping a Teenager With Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety in the Teenager 

Severe social anxiety can feel like a hopeless and lonely struggle, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you have severe social anxiety yourself, you probably already know that support and encouragement can go a long way towards managing the condition and improving your overall mental health.

But what if you’re not struggling with social anxiety but know someone who is? How can you help them through their difficulties? This guide will give you some tips on how to help someone who has severe social anxiety cope with their illness and improve their quality of life.

Helping a Teenager With Social Anxiety

1- Setting expectations

Communication is key. Your teen may feel like everyone expects them to go out and party, but you both need to understand that it’s okay for them not to be out every night. If they have no interest in socializing or going out, then don’t pressure them into doing so.

You can help by making sure you set appropriate expectations with your friends and family and encourage your teen when they do want to go out on their own terms. Let them know that there are safe ways they can spend time with others and that it's always ok if they stay home instead of going out. Make sure you keep lines of communication open.

2- Don’t push or pressure your teen

You might worry that your teen’s social anxiety will cause her to miss out on important opportunities, like after-school activities, new friends, and dating. But pressuring your teen into something he’s not ready for won’t help him, and it could backfire, making his anxiety worse.

So don’t force him into situations or try to convince him that he wants to do things that would make his anxiety worse. Be there for support if your teen is interested in something, but let him determine what pace is right for him. When he does decide to get involved in a new activity or event, just focus on celebrating whatever small accomplishments he makes.

3- Encourage independence

It’s tempting to rescue your teen from each and every social situation that makes him or her uncomfortable. But research shows that withdrawing from challenging experiences can make it difficult for teens to develop social skills, which can lead to lasting anxiety.

To help your teen, encourage them in developing individual interests, even if they seem unrelated. By investing time and energy in their own passions, theater, photography, and working out, they'll not only have new things to talk about with others; they'll also develop ways of coping when those conversations don't go as smoothly as planned. And consider signing up for group activities together: sports are a great option since many activities require teamwork or at least being around other people.

4- Praise them for trying new things

There’s a whole world of opportunity waiting for your teen, but it can be scary. Rather than trying to ease their fear, focus on celebrating their courage. Be excited when they try something new, because that means they are. You don’t have to understand their anxiety; you just have to stand by them and cheer them on as they face it down.

5- Limit screen time

As teens spend more time on screens, their social skills diminish. According to a study by Dr. Dan Cox at UCLA, kids who had limited or no access to electronic devices demonstrated improved eye contact and were better at understanding facial expressions and emotions. 

They were also less likely to isolate themselves from others socially, another sign of good mental health. This is one of many reasons why too much screen time can be harmful to young people’s well-being, says Dr.

6- Positive Reinforcement

One of your biggest challenges as a parent is helping your teenager overcome any anxiety disorder that has developed, especially if it involves social anxiety. Before anything else, you have to start with establishing a relationship of trust with your teen. If they’re open and comfortable with you, they’ll be much more likely to listen when you try to help them work through their issues.

Listen without judgment: One way to establish that trust is by letting them know that what they say and do doesn’t bother you. Tell them right away how happy you are that they felt comfortable enough to talk with you about their anxiety disorder, and reassure them that they can come back whenever they want or need someone who will just listen and not judge them in any way.


Social anxiety disorder is a common condition and often unrecognized by the person experiencing it. It is common in teenagers, more than two-thirds of boys and more than half of girls experience it. It is also more common in girls than boys.

Social anxiety symptoms include fearful and uncomfortable feelings and thoughts which usually occur in social situations. These social situations include talking with new people, being opposite-sex or same-sex attracted, talking on the phone, eating in front of other people, and speaking in front of others.

Social anxiety can affect your mood, how you feel about yourself, your relationships, and the quality of your life. These are all significant issues, and if left untreated, a social anxiety disorder can have a substantial impact on your health. 

To help your teenager with social anxiety, you need to understand the condition. It’s also critical that you have an open, ongoing, and ongoing dialog with your teen about social anxiety. This will help you to better understand what your teen is experiencing and to reach an agreement on how best to approach the situation.

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