What is Social Anxiety and does your child have it? I think that many people would say social anxiety is being afraid of engaging with others and not wanting to be in social situations because they don’t know what to say or how to behave.
I would agree with that. Social anxiety is a phobia. It is a type of anxiety disorder that causes extreme fear in social settings. People with this disorder have trouble talking to others, meeting new people and attending social gatherings.
It can be crippling for some children as they fear they will be judged by others and feel very self-conscious about them just being there. They are worrying – “what are others thinking of me whilst I stand here and not say anything?” If a child feel this way it can be difficult for them to make and keep friends.
Raising Confidence in Making Friends
I am currently seeing a couple of children who you would think have social anxiety because they do not seem very outgoing and interested in making new friends. But talking it through with them and asking them why they stick to the same children, it appears that they don’t like making new friends. This is because they are shy or don’t think they need to have any more friends than their one or two friends.
The children also don’t appear to have the confidence or the skills to make new friends. They don’t know how to start a conversation and chat. Somehow they have managed to form a couple of tight friendships. Chatting is the only way to form new friendships and so we have to teach children from scratch how to do this alongside the body language and tone of voice to use.
We need to be clear of the difference between social anxiety and being shy, not wanting to make friends or not having the skills to do so. Coaching is especially great and useful for the latter. Get in touch with me to find out more about my coaching sessions that help deal with this.