Most of us suffer panic attacks when asked to address a room full of people. Those eyes staring back at you seem to cut through you, and you wish you were invisible. This consciousness that makes us so acutely aware of other people and causes discomfort is called social anxiety. You might be uncomfortable giving a speech at a podium, talking to strangers, eating at a restaurant, or going to social events. Moreover, this fear of being judged, embarrassed, or criticized in public makes its presence felt from very early on but is difficult to trace among young children. You simply assume your kid is shy, but imagine the difficulty he must be experiencing. However, there are ways of helping your kid overcome his social phobia, and here’s how:
1. Teach Your Child About Anxiety
This is the first step to teaching your kid how to overcome his fear of social interaction. He needs to understand that his worries and physical feelings emerge from a state of anxiety of being surrounded by people. He also has to understand what triggers the discomfort he experiences and why. There might not be any real danger, but his body will be signaling him to panic and seek ways to escape the impending danger.
2. Help Them Be Brave
Although it is extremely difficult, your kid has to remind himself that he will be fine. Suppose he is at school and has to make a speech at the start of the program, he will be jittery. However, irrespective of how strongly he feels that he will embarrass himself and will become the subject of stares and giggles, he has to be able to find the courage in him to dissuade such thoughts. You can help him through any social event by being present there. Your presence will be a reassurance to him and the support that he desperately needs.
3. Encourage Them To Face Their Fears
More uncomfortable situations that your kid forces himself into, he is likely to get accustomed to them and bid goodbye to his fear. He has to tune his mind to understand that he will be fine, and he can do so by continuously braving similar situations. He has to take a leap of faith, participate in extracurricular activities at school and take up more challenges. Schools become a great environment to spot social anxiety disorders in children and also help your kid overcome them. Once your little one is comfortable, you will notice that he no longer shy away from strange company.
4. Teach Them To Calm Their Nerves
Before he takes the stage and makes his speech, remind him to take in deep breaths. It is important to calm those jittery nerves. Breathing deeply ensures that you have more oxygen in your lungs. More oxygen gets transported to your central nervous system and calms your hyperactive brain and switches off the panic button. You could also ask your kid to keep clasping his hand into a fist and then release it. It will act as a conscious reminder that he is fighting his desire to walk away and take the plunge.
5. Seek Professional Help
Therapists and psychologists know better and can reach out to your kid. They can help him through his trouble. Support groups also help soothe jittery nerves. Your darling little angel will be aware that he is not the only kid with a mountain to climb. He will learn to befriend other people with acute social anxiety disorder, who understand him because they go through the same challenges on a daily basis. If all else fails, you are unable to help your kid enough, and anxiety attacks are getting out of control, it is best advice to look for professional help. However, make sure you have tried all other options and this is your kid’s last resort.
Kids with social anxieties disorders have a tough battle every day trying to maneuver their lives since social interactions make up an integral part. However, as parents you can help make it a little easier for your kid by teaching him these simple tricks. Once your child finds his confidence, he will be able to better gauge his position and win his battles himself.