This can be social anxiety, which is often misinterpreted as shyness. But it is more serious than that, and needs sensitive handling.
Social anxiety is a disorder in which the suffering child has a much heightened sense of self consciousness to such an extent that he fears being judged or scrutinized in public. In fact, the child is terrified of any casual social gatherings and is always worried about saying or doing things which might humiliate him/her in front of others.
Social Anxiety can be performance-oriented, where the child is uncomfortable in doing even the simplest tasks like asking help from a sales person in public. Avoiding social gatherings or fearing to go to school is also another form of anxiety known an interactional social anxiety.
Factors Causing Social Anxiety in Children:
Social anxiety can be caused by both external as well as internal factors. Few of the factors responsible for social anxiety in young children are:
Yes, it is correct that this disorder can be hereditary; if your child has any first blood relative who suffers from this anxiety, then there is chance that the same will be genetically carried on to your kid.
Believe it or not, you, the parents are also one of the factors causing this disorder. Having overly critical or over protective parenting can contribute to social anxiety in your child.
3. Low Self Esteem:
Children with low self esteem have a tendency to dwell on the negative attributes of their personality so are more susceptible to this disorder.
[ Read: Anxiety In Children ]
If your child has suffered from any trauma like a death of a very close person or being laughed at in front of the entire class then these incidences can lead to social anxiety.
Social Anxiety in Children Symptoms:
This social anxiety disorder in children is not easily detected because it can be easily misunderstood as shyness. There are some obvious symptoms which will reveal if your child is suffering from social anxiety.
- Your kid consistently falls sick like having stomach aches, sweats profusely or shortness of breath, just before going to a social gathering or in many cases going to school.
- Even if bring your child to any social gathering, he will keep to himself as if trying to be invisible so that nobody speaks to him.
- Reluctance in making friends or playing with children of his/her age.
- When regular tasks like reading in class, speaking to adults or performing in front of others seem to cause extreme distress to the child then he/ she is suffering from social anxiety.
Treatment & Cure:
Social anxiety, if prolonged, might lead to depression! This disorder in children can be cured with the help of medications and other techniques. The sooner this disorder is detected in children the easier, it is for them to get cured. Following are the few treatments which can cure this disorder.
Teaching your child the art of breathing calmly when he feels anxious will surely help him to be calm. If this technique is practiced regularly, it can work wonders against this disorder.
There are antidepressants available to treat social anxiety. But you have to make sure that these are used only when prescribed by a certified doctor.
3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
In this therapy, the child’s coping skills are developed so that when they get these anxious feelings they change their thought patterns in order to overcome this disorder.
But as we all know, prevention is always better than cure. So as parents, please make sure your child has a very balanced and healthy environment at home, which will help you to easily detect changes in his/her behavior and you will be able to nip the problem in the bud.
Do share your experiences with us in the comment section below:
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