Posted on: 4 October 2021Share
Human beings are social creatures by nature. Having the ability to work with and interact with others successfully plays a major role in the day-to-day lives of most people.
Social nuances and cues are often learned in childhood, so anything that interferes with a child's ability to socialize properly could end up having long-term effects on the child's interpersonal communication skills.
Social anxiety disorders can affect children of all ages. It's important that parents learn to recognize the potential signs of a childhood social anxiety disorder so that timely treatment can be sought out for the child.
If you spot any of the following behaviors in your child, seek out professional help for a definitive diagnosis.
1. Physical Discomfort in Social Settings
A social anxiety disorder often manifests as physical symptoms for a child. The anxiety that is triggered by social situations is so great that it takes a physical toll on the body.
You may notice that your child sweats profusely or shakes when faced with social interaction. Many children with a childhood social anxiety disorder will also complain of nausea or stomach aches when asked to participate in a social situation.
It's important that you make a note of any physical symptoms that seem to arise as a result of social engagement. The repeated manifestation of these symptoms could be an indication that your child is suffering from a social anxiety disorder.
2. Extreme Shyness
Talking to new people can be a challenge for many children, but children with a social anxiety disorder will experience an extreme form of shyness when faced with meeting new people. The child will refuse to speak and often hide behind a parent or familiar adult. Children with social anxiety disorders will cling to the adults they know, while other children their age will engage with new individuals.
Tantrums, crying, and other negative behaviors can also be considered forms of extreme shyness when these behaviors occur because a child is trying to avoid social interaction.
3. Extreme Self-Consciousness
Everyone has feelings of self-doubt from time to time when it comes to interacting with peers. For children with a social anxiety disorder, this self-doubt can be crippling.
Many children who suffer from social anxiety disorders feel extreme self-consciousness in relation to social interactions. The child may obsess about their appearance or show signs of worrying about an event for weeks before the actual date of the event.
This self-consciousness is the result of extreme fear of being judged negatively by others.
A child with a social anxiety disorder will constantly feel embarrassed or nervous about interacting with people. They may find it difficult to have a conversation with another person, and can usually be found playing alone.
If the social anxiety disorder is not addressed through professional treatment, the extreme self-consciousness a child displays can lead to the child becoming socially withdrawn.
Spotting the signs of social anxiety disorder in a child can be difficult. You may find yourself wondering whether your child's hesitancy to engage in social situations is normal, or if they may be developing a social anxiety disorder.
Mental health professionals are available to help evaluate your child to make a definitive diagnosis. A social anxiety disorder that goes untreated in childhood will only get worse, so it's better to err on the side of caution when it comes to having your child evaluated.
If you know some of the signs that indicate your child is suffering from a social anxiety disorder, you will be able to get the timely help that they need to lead a successful life. Get in touch with a mental health professional to learn more about childhood social disorders.