Overcoming Social Anxiety: A Guide for Kids

Hi there! My name is Amanda Nolan, and I’m an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. I want to talk to you about something many kids face but might not always talk about: social anxiety. If you’ve ever felt super nervous or scared about talking to others, making new friends, or being in a group, you might be dealing with social anxiety. But don’t worry – you’re not alone, and there are ways to manage these feelings.

What is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety is when you feel very worried or scared about social situations. You might fear being judged, embarrassed, or thinking everyone is looking at you. It’s more than just being shy; it can make everyday activities, like going to school or hanging out with friends, really hard. Many of us have felt this way at some point in our lives, even me! As a kid, I can remember being terrified to talk on the phone with my friends or family members, I’d rather send them a text or have my mom talk for me. Having to think about words to say and responses to give was overwhelming and frightening to me. 

Signs You Might Have Social Anxiety

  • Feeling very nervous about speaking in front of others.
  • Avoiding social situations, like parties or group activities.
  • Worrying a lot about what others think of you.
  • Feeling sick to your stomach, sweating, or shaking when you have to talk to someone.
  • Having a hard time making or keeping friends because you’re afraid to join in.

How to Cope with Social Anxiety

  1. Talk About It: Sharing your feelings with a trusted adult, like a parent, teacher, or therapist, can help. They can give you support on how to manage your anxiety.
  2. Take Small Steps: Start with small, manageable challenges. For example, say “hi” to a classmate or answer a question in class. Gradually, you’ll build confidence.
  3. Practice Deep Breathing: When you feel anxious, take slow, deep breaths. This can help calm your body and mind.
  4. Positive Self-Talk: Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Instead of thinking, “Everyone will laugh at me,” try, “I can do this, and people will be kind.”
  5. Prepare and Practice: If you know you’ll be in a social situation, practice what you might say or do (I still do this one:). Role-playing with a family member can be a fun way to prepare.
  6. Join Activities You Enjoy: Finding groups or clubs that match your interests can make it easier to connect with others. When you’re having fun, it’s easier to forget your worries.

Remember, It’s Okay to Ask for Help

Sometimes, social anxiety can be tough to handle on your own. That’s okay! Therapists like me are here to help you find ways to feel more comfortable and confident in social situations. We can work together to create a plan that works for you.

You’re Not Alone

Many kids experience social anxiety, and it’s something you can overcome. With time, practice, and support, you can learn to manage your anxiety and enjoy social situations. Remember, being brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared – it means you keep going, even when you are.

Keep smiling, and take it one step at a time. The world needs to see you shine!

Want more information? Book a free 15 minute consultation with me to see how virtually play therapy can help you overcome anxiety today!

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If you have questions about therapy, our services, or anything else, send us a message! We'd love to hear from you.

Amanda Nolan, REGISTERED ASSOCIATE MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST, AMFT, MS, Love Your Story Christian Therapy & Counseling Services in California.

Sarah Proemsey, LPCC


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