What is Social Anxiety?


What is social anxiety? Let’s start off by defining what exactly this term means. According to the National Institute of Health, a person with social anxiety feels symptoms of anxiety or fear in situations where they may be scrutinized, evaluated, or judged by others, such as speaking in public, meeting new people, dating, being on a job interview, answering a question in class, or having to talk to a cashier in a store. Doing everyday things, such as eating or drinking in front of others or using a public restroom, also may cause anxiety or fear due to concerns about being humiliated, judged, and rejected.

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For a child, they may experience intense and unrealistic fear of social situations. The idea of getting called on in class or starting a conversation with a peer feels impossible. You see how sweet and kind they are, so it’s hard to watch them struggle. It’s becoming clear to you that your child’s fear is holding them back. Maybe it feels like people aren’t getting to know your child at all and it makes your heart ache. Social anxiety can be crippling for a child. You just want to see your child happy, but their social anxiety makes it hard for them to be carefree and play like everyone else. Take this story for example:

This is just one of many examples of what a moment in the shoes of a child with social anxiety looks like. The good news is that child counseling can HELP children struggling with anxiety!

How can I Support my Child Who Has social Anxiety?

At Brittani Persha Counseling, we recognize the vital role that parents play in nurturing their child’s emotional well-being. Supporting a child with social anxiety involves a combination of empathy, patience, and practical strategies. Here are some skills and approaches that parents can integrate into their daily interactions:

  • Open Communication
  • Foster an environment where your child feels comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings.
  • Encourage them to share their experiences without judgment, creating a safe space for open dialogue.
  • Acknowledge and validate your child’s emotions, letting them know it’s okay to feel anxious.
  • Avoid dismissing their feelings and instead, offer reassurance and understanding.
  • Gradual Exposure
  • Introduce social situations gradually, respecting your child’s comfort level.
  • Start with small, manageable steps and progressively increase exposure as their confidence grows.
  • Role-Playing
  • Engage in role-playing scenarios to help your child practice social interactions in a safe and controlled setting.
  • Offer constructive feedback and praise their efforts, emphasizing the learning process.
  • Introduce simple relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or mindfulness exercises, to help manage anxiety.
  • Practice these techniques together during calm moments, so your child can implement them when needed.
  • Set Realistic Goals
  • Collaborate with your child to set achievable social goals.
  • Celebrate small victories, reinforcing their progress and boosting their confidence.
  • Help your child identify and challenge negative thoughts by encouraging positive self-talk.
  • Teach them to replace self-critical thoughts with affirming statements to build resilience.
  • Model Social Skills
  • Demonstrate effective social skills in your own interactions, serving as a positive role model.
  • Highlight the importance of active listening, empathy, and assertiveness.
  • Seek Professional Support
  • Consult with our experienced child therapists at Brittani Persha Counseling for specialized guidance including parent coaching.
  • Collaborate with your child’s therapist to develop a tailored plan to address your child’s social anxiety.
  • Foster a Supportive Network
  • Encourage positive social connections by arranging playdates with understanding peers.
  • Work closely with teachers to create a supportive environment in both school and extracurricular activities.
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How can Child therapy at Brittani Persha Counseling help?

How Child Counseling for Social Anxiety Helps Your Child

Parent coaching sessions will give you resources and tools to help your child take control of their social anxiety.  Your child’s therapist will give you phrases to use for those times when you just don’t know what to say. As a parent, you will be supported and provided all the tools you need to help your child in all the ways you want to. Parent coaching sessions and social anxiety treatment for your child can help your home become a peaceful, happy place again.

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Your child and your family do not have to live with the constant fear and worry that is currently consuming so much of your life. If you want to support in coping with social anxiety and live in the Houston and Katy area, our therapists at Brittani Persha Counseling can help! Give us a call at 713-364-8645 or schedule a FREE 20 MINUTE PHONE CONSULTATION to get connected with one of our skilled child therapists. To learn more about our child anxiety counseling services visit our Child Therapy for Anxiety Page. We believe that families can experience a peaceful home environment and you and your child can start feeling less anxious and more in control of your emotions.

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