How to Help Anxious Kids in Social Situations

Many people in the United States and all over the world may feel nervous and anxious before doing something they consider monumental. People commonly feel sensations like butterflies in their stomachs or sweaty palms before taking exams, speaking or performing in public, being interviewed for a job, or asking someone on a date. Then, they may feel relief when they complete tasks. In some cases, however, there is never relief.

Some people continuously sweat, tremble, and experience a rapid heart rate and heavy breathing. Prolonged, intense physiological symptoms that accompany feelings of anxiousness may be a sign of something more severe than acute, fleeting regular bouts of nerves and worries. Anxious feelings and fears can become irrational and can impact one’s social life, ability to work, and their overall health. In these cases, one may not just feel anxious, but may have an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety manifests in different ways, and in many disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and disorders related to phobias.

In the United States, generalized anxiety disorder impacts nearly seven million adults in a given year. Excessive, uncontrollable worry and anxiety about daily routine events, social interactions, and many other things are characteristic of GAD. Symptoms include persistent feelings of fear, feeling restless, a lack of concentration, muscle tension, irritability, and fatigue.

Social anxiety disorder is more prevalent, affecting about fifteen million adults in the United States. Characteristics of this disorder include an intense fear of being judged, rejected, and negatively looked upon in social situations. Individuals with this disorder are afraid of embarrassing themselves in front of others and seeming awkward and outwardly anxious. Physical symptoms of social anxiety disorder are similar to that of GAD. People may experience sweating, an accelerated heart rate, and nausea.

Many adults are aware of things that cause them to stress and feel anxious. Jobs, college studies, romances, and relationships of all kinds can be sources of tension and anxiety. However, most people often do not consider that children are also prone to severe worrying and anxiety disorders.

Some children deal with extreme worries that go beyond the expected first day of school jitters. Children who may deal with an anxiety disorder may have intense fears of participating in sports and making friends because of what they think others might say about them. Additionally, some children are emotionally crippled by school shootings and war and become too anxious to attend school and interact in social situations.

Parents with concerns that their children may show signs of an anxiety disorder should consider seeking professional help. In New York, parents can consult an anxiety psychiatrist in NYC to treat their children and provide them with practical ways to cope with anxiety. Renowned psychologists and psychiatrists at The Ross Center in New York City provide patient-centered treatment and services to children, adolescents, and teenagers dealing with anxiety and mood disorders. Parents receive guidance in understanding the intake and treatment processes and learn how to respond to their child’s behaviors and fears, enabling them to support their child better.

Many children fear the unknown and are afraid of large groups, meeting new people, and separation from their parents and familiar things. Whatever the case, professionals can help children cope with these fears and feelings.

Professional treatment equips children with creative and practical ways to handle their fears and alter their behaviors and thoughts to positive ones. The treatment process includes differentiating between learning difficulties and social problems. Treating these issues can improve a child’s academic performance and social interactions.

With time and professional help, children with anxiety may be more comfortable coping with social situations and may be more willing to partake in social activities. If a child wants to attend a play date or a birthday party, they may feel motivated to go if they can enact things they learn in treatment. Children can enjoy the best entertainment and laser tag in NYC at a friend’s birthday party if they are not feeling anxious and obsessing over what others may think of them. 

Psychologists, psychiatrists, and parents can encourage an anxious child to get comfortable at their own pace in social situations. They can prepare a child in advance for an upcoming event that may cause feelings of anxiety and help them through it. Proper treatment and support can lead to improved well-being and healthier thoughts, empowering children to have fun, and enjoy social situations the best they can without fear.