Because she will cause no trouble in and outside of home, a daughter with social anxiety disorder may go under the radar for a very long time. Due to the very nature of the disorder, it may take years before she is diagnosed. Shy and quiet kids are simply often overlooked.
What is social anxiety disorder in teens?
Social anxiety disorder, or social phobia for short, is a disorder which can be described as an excessive fear of social and performance situations, lasting longer than six months and causing distress in functioning. The typical onset age is 13, but the first onset of the disorder can also found in kids as young as 8, and in teenagers as old as 15. The predictors for developing the disorder include a history of childhood shyness and inhibition, trauma, and bullying.
The role of parents
Parents are of crucial importance in recognizing and helping their child work through social anxiety. If left unintended, social anxiety in young girls can lead to depression, substance abuse, and isolation. It’s important that parents distinguish shyness, which is a thing of temperament, from full-fledged social anxiety disorder.
What are the symptoms?
If you’re in doubt whether you have a daughter with social anxiety disorder, be on the lookout for signs and behaviors such as: not participating in various activities, skipping school, falling behind academically, and being overly worried about others looking at them or judging them or their performance negatively.
Four ways you can help your daughter with social anxiety disorder
Besides professional help, some of the ways you can help your daughter struggling with social anxiety disorder, include:
- Relaxation strategies: Teach your daughter techniques like deep breathing, guided imagery, and deep muscle relaxation which help calm the anxious response.
- Cognitive reframing: Teach your daughter how to replace negative thoughts such as assuming the worst case scenario with positive ones.
- Problem-solving skills: If, for example, your daughter has trouble with public speaking, you can help her out by showing her she can practice in front of a mirror, or taping her speak, then watching it together later.
- Improving Social Skills: With role-playing and modeling, help your daughter learn social skills like greetings, conversation starters, and listening and responding. Although you can’t make friends for her, these skills will make her feel at ease when around other kids.
Asheville Academy can help
Asheville Academy for Girls is a therapeutic boarding school for girls, ages 10-14. Our students commonly struggle with anxiety, depression, ADHD, learning differences, and other behavioral or emotional challenges.
With the help of our licensed therapists, experienced teachers, caring staff, and expertly designed program, our students grow closer to a healthier life. We use the best tactics and therapeutic methods in order to help our students move forward at Asheville Academy.
For more information about getting help at Asheville Academy, call 800-264-8709 today.
Cat brings more than thirty years of experience making an impact in the lives of adolescents. Cat has developed multiple programs helping children, teens, and young adults in a variety of settings and with a diverse range of diagnoses. She has dedicated her career to behavioral health and is honored to be part of the passionate team at Asheville Academy for Girls. She recognizes how delicate this age is and is proud of the role she and her team play in helping girls grow and prosper.