Although, there is a tendency to begin during their adolescence time, social phobia can develop much earlier. When developed during one’s formative years, it can have a devastating effect on their social development. Later in life, it can also lead to serious psychological problems such as agoraphobia, maladjustment, depression and many more, when left unchecked.
Symptoms of Social Phobia
When a child speaks very softly, shies away from eye contact and says very little, if they often throw tantrums and cries, unwilling to participate in any activities, if they fake illness to avoid going to school, when they’re not joining in, and/or spend a lot of time alone in a playground or in their room, might mean that the child is showing symptoms of social phobia.
Simply telling that they will grow out of it, might not be the best way to overcome the situation. It is very important not to disregard their anxiety.
Encouraging a Socially Anxious Child
There are many positive ways that we can do to encourage a socially anxious child. Parents, teachers, and other family members can help by softly encouraging them to confront the situation that they fear little by little. Do not push them too hard.
Make them feel that they are not ALONE in the situation by sharing them examples of the time when we also feel anxious in a social situation, and let them know that they too can overcome it. Make a conscious effort to nurture your children’s self esteem by being openly affectionate and by complimenting on their little achievements often.
What a Teacher Can Do to Help
It is very important for the teachers to also be aware and for them to create a humiliation-free environment in the classroom. They can also start by rewarding the socially anxious child every time they make any little step to become a more active participant in the class. They can later on gradually make the child to do more, to earn a reward. Teachers can also couple and encourage friendship between a shy child with a outgoing child.
Take the Time to Get to Know Them
Take the time to learn more about them. See what hidden talents they might possess, and push them slowly toward those activities. Help them build friendship, teach them how without making it too obvious.
When given the opportunity, behind that socially anxious child, there might be a butterfly waiting to shine. They just need a little space and help to grow their confidence. So be a little more patient, more sensitive, and you’ll hopefully get to see them coming out of their shells.