Most middle school aged girls, at one time or another, harbor some fear of rejection from their peers. They might be bashful or backward in social situations, or express worry that they in some way do not measure up to the most popular girls in class. They may fear that, in terms of looks, grades, charm, etc., they don’t measure up to the ‘cool kids’ in class.
Yet what if this stress overwhelms the young bearer; developing into a phobia that all but incapacitates and immobilizes the girl–making it impossible for her to thrive and succeed at school and in social situations?
Social anxiety in middle school girls is all too prevalent. One report says that—each school year—about 7 percent of kids of all genders will be diagnosed with this condition. Here are 5 ways that you can help a middle school girl in your life who may be afflicted with social anxiety disorder.
- Know the signs. Adolescent girls tend in general to be self-conscious at times; yet if this feeling becomes a phobia, then the girl might suffer from social anxiety. She might harbor an intense fear of judgment and rejection, blushing and stumbling over their words as they fear what others think of them. Aside from these signs of visible distress, she also may display physical symptoms such as nausea, perspiration and anxiety.
- Show your support. The precept that holds true for most young people is particularly applicable to the teen. In their middle school years, these kids need support and reinforcement on all levels. Praise their good grades, tout their achievements, and—even when they falter or fail—never fail to support and encourage them. Always be ready to offer her open arms and a listening ear. Along the same lines…
- Dad in particular should pay special attention to their daughter’s challenges. According to a recent Penn State study indicates that adolescents rejected by their fathers tend to stand at a higher risk for social anxiety, loneliness and isolation. So Dad in particular should spend quality time with his middle school daughter, serving as a friend as well as a guardian.
- Help your adolescent girl develop strong and healthy relationships with friends and peers. Teens with strong and healthy social circles tend to be more confident and psychologically sound. Advise them to steer clear of ‘mean girls’ or aggressive boys; opting instead for friends that are gentle, understanding, and generally supportive.
- Form a team. Tell your teen’s teachers and doctors about their condition; thus empowering them to join your girl in her noble efforts to defeat social anxiety; thus lighting the way to what is sure to be a better and brighter future.
If your daughter’s struggles with social anxiety have affected her ability to succeed in school and in her social life, Asheville Academy can help. We are a therapeutic boarding school for girls ages 10-14 who struggle with emotional and behavioral challenges like anxiety, depression, and school refusal.
For more information about our program, please call 800.264.8709.