Social Anxiety in Teens: How Parents Can Help

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social anxiety is not fun and it is even

worse if you're a kid living in the

fishbowl of life I'm gonna tell you what

social anxiety is and how to help your

kids stay tuned that's what's up next


if you don't have social anxiety you

probably don't get people who have it

because to have social anxiety is to

have a lot of thoughts that other people

just don't even think about sadly I

understand social anxiety a lot more

than I'd ever want to because I struggle

with it myself so let me give you a

little window into the world of a

socially anxious person here are some

thoughts I just texted her about an hour

ago and she still hasn't responded

wonder if she's busy or if she's

avoiding me

she's probably avoiding me because maybe

she doesn't want to talk to me well

that's rude why wouldn't she want to

talk to me Miss chatty when she's

talking to me if she is with other

people she don't seem to be more

interested in talking to other people

maybe I shouldn't have texted her she

probably doesn't like me this is

embarrassing I just texted somebody who

doesn't even like and it's been like

maybe 45 46 47 minutes wonder if there's

a way to take that text back do they

have that technology this responded to

me but she's just doing it because she's

feels bad for me it's a total sympathy

text I don't even want a sympathy text

does this shirt look funny do you think

that other people are polka dots I mean

I like polka dots but not like all the

time what if they think like I'm a polka

dot a kind of person and I'm really not

a polka dot it kind of person I do wear

a lot of polka dots people might

perceive that I wear polka dots too much

do you think people are gonna think it's

weird that I'm wearing polka dots what

if they see me in polka dots all the

time or they think like gosh

why is she so obsessed with polka dots

you know I even have polka dots around

my house so people come and visit

they're gonna see a lot of polka dots I

might be a little bit weird there are a

few components that completely make up

social anxiety self-consciousness check

out check-check worry of criticism and

judgment from others check to the check

check check

and a lot of paranoia not in like the

delusional schizophrenic paranoia but in

the social paranoia are they bored of

talking to me are they all staring at me

were they laughing at me am I like the

brunt of the joke there are people

avoiding me why are they all talking but

no one's talking to me two big factors

with social anxiety is feeling like

you're being slighted feeling like

people are not liking you or judging you

and also having some low self esteem

that's a pretty big component of social

anxiety the number-one rule to be part

of the social anxiety Club is avoid I

will avoid that party I will avoid those

social interactions I'm gonna avoid that

text I'm gonna avoid talking I'm gonna

avoid going to the lunchroom I'm gonna

avoid all parties because if I can avoid

that I'm not gonna feel slighted I'm not

gonna feel rejected I'm not gonna deal

with the insecurities that I feel when

I'm in those situations and then I'll

feel better

unfortunately then we have wind up

avoiding a big chunk of life and then we

feel like were the loners nobody talks

to me nobody's involving me in their

group chess

nobody text me I'm nobody's inviting me

to any parties nobody emails me oh come

on not on snapchat how come I'm not at

that party how come I'm not in that

Facebook group how come you're not

inviting me how come you aren't talking

to me when in reality socially anxious

people create that for themselves I get

this because I do this all the time we

push people away because we're

uncomfortable we don't want to be in

those situations but then we feel

rejected then we feel like we're not

included so it's a conundrum it's a

vicious self-fulfilling prophecy that

seems to always come true so if you want

to help your kids with social anxiety

it's not going to help them just to

force them to go to these social

situations to go to these parties to

talk to people the insensitive things

that parents say when they don't get

social anxiety are mind blowing

talk to people have you ever like made a

new friend go up to people why don't you

just ask them if they want to hang out

you need to get out more you need to

just go out things are easier said than


because if you have social anxiety the

fear of rejection is so palatable that

to do any of those things seems

insurmountable so you have to take a

step back and instead of just saying go

expose yourself to all these social

interactions and then over time you're

gonna feel better

guess what they're not and I know

because I am that person you have to

attack the thoughts before you attack

the actions and so you have to help your

child realize a lot of different things

one the world doesn't revolve around you

and I know that that's kind of hard to

deal with but it's not from a

narcissistic perspective but socially

anxious people feel like it's all about

them and not in a good way in a bad way

so first you have to attack your child's

thoughts and say you know what the world

is not always laughing at you people

aren't always staring at you social

anxiety will make you paranoid and so

every time you have a socially anxious

thought you have to ask yourself you

have two buckets is this a socially

anxious thought or is this a typical

thought is this an accurate thought or

is this my paranoia that is socially

anxious and if it's your paranoia then

you have to take a step back and look at

a second time and say wait a minute

could there be an alternative reason why

maybe she's not texting me back maybe

she's busy maybe she's with her kids

maybe she's not the doctor maybe she's

not near her phone there are a lot of

other reasons why people are doing the

things that they're doing

besides sliding you when you highlight

these alternative perspectives to your

children that helps them start to

identify what is a socially anxious

thought and what is a regular thought

because until they tackle those thoughts

and are able to put them in categories

they're not going to do better you want

to teach your children to re-evaluate

every judgment and assumption they make

from a social situation could there be

an alternative besides the fact that

they were criticizing you or laughing at

you or judging you or rejecting you

there be possibly another alternative

now maybe sometimes there isn't and then

that's just in the reality bucket but a

lot of times it's gonna be in the

socially anxious paranoia bucket second

socially anxious people worry about

holding and maintaining conversations

and so as we're having conversations

we're analyzing the conversation that

we're having you tried doing that that's

hard I don't know if she's interested

I'm talking to her but she seems like

she's looking away did she look away did

she look away as I was talking is she

bored did she general watch I don't

think she wants to talk to me I think

that she doesn't seem engaged what am I

gonna ask her when she's done with her

rambling what am I gonna say do I have

anything to say I'm so boring I don't

know what I'm gonna say maybe we should

just end this conversation maybe I

should just walk away in my office I

play this game called conversation ball

and I teach kids of all ages even if

they're really old how to maintain a

conversation and I always tell people

just throw it back if you don't know

what to say just ask them the same thing

they're asking you and keep throwing it

back you can help as a parent if you

just practice with your child and it

sounds stupid but I do this with kids

all the time and it boosts their

self-esteem and their self-confidence to

maintain a conversation so what'd you do

this weekend what did you do this

weekend did you see that movie no did

you see that movie did you do the

homework I did did you do it you want to

teach your child that they don't have to

come up with creative ways to talk to

kids they can just bounce back the same

conversation at the same time that

you're working on the way that your

child is thinking you also want to boost

up their self-esteem and not care what

other people think because when you

don't care about what other people think

guess what happens you don't care if

they're sliding you you don't care if

they're being rude you don't care if

they're judging you and that is a weight

off your shoulders and the social

anxiety gets less because you don't

really care anyway so you could be

socially paranoid but even if you have

those thoughts you're kind of like in

whatever if they don't like me and I

don't care that takes a lot of work and

if you're a kid and you live in the kid

fishbowl of school or high school that's

going to be really hard but that doesn't

mean you can't work on it model for your

kids that you don't care where something

goofy say something goofy and show them

that you know what you don't really care

what the neighbors think you don't

really care what your best friend things

you don't really care what your

relatives think what's important is that

you care about yourself talk to your

child and really develop a foundation of

who they are and who they want to be

because the more confident your child is

and who their identity is the less

they're going to depend on other people

to define them and when people aren't

looking for other people to define that

or give them validation that they're

great then they're gonna have less

social anxiety explain to kids that not

everyone's gonna like you some people

are gonna hate you just because you

breathe that's just reality and you have

to cope with that reality and if you

give that a lot of attention and time

and analysis you're gonna live a very

unhappy life so who are you what do you

stand for

and some people aren't gonna like what

you stand for or who you are but you

have to start with liking yourself as

cheesy as that is and once you don't

care once you say you know what this is

Who I am I'm a girl I'm 15 and I like

this band and I want to do this when I

grow up and I like wearing this and I

like my hair like this and for all the

other girls who don't like that I don't

care because if you like me you're gonna

like those things and even if you don't

like those things if you're gonna be my

friend you're not gonna judge me and so

I talked to teenagers who have social

anxiety and I say you know what your

real friends aren't gonna judge you and

criticize you and if they would you

don't need them as friends and so

boosting that confidence will help

diminish a little bit of that social

anxiety because social anxiety doesn't

care who you are

we want everybody to love us we want

everybody to not judge us we want

everybody to not criticize us and

unfortunately that's impossible

and so once you empower yourself and say

you know what screw everybody I love me

and I don't really care and if you like

me that's awesome and I'll hang out with

you but if you don't I'm not gonna stay

up late at night obsessing about it I'm

done with that

surviving social anxiety takes time

take power it takes energy and it

doesn't go away he's just one of those

battles that you want to continually

fight and eventually you're going to

feel like you're on top of it and it's

not dictating or controlling your every

move if you're enjoying my videos don't

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my social anxiety and leave a comment if

you or someone you know is struggling

with social anxiety and give them your

best tips because we can all do this

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