Social Challenges



Premature babies have an increased risk to develop socio-emotional problems. The ability to make new friends comes naturally to many teenagers, however some find it difficult and frustrating to connect with peers. They prefer the safety of familiar peers narrowing their choices due to fear of feeling awkward and uncomfortable. Teenagers who have social anxiety can have negative thoughts about going to an event, the more these negative thoughts run through their minds the more it increases their anxiety and eventually they will avoid the event altogether.

Teenagers may fear speaking in front of a group and eating in front of people which might prevent them from going to school, applying for a job or leaving the house. They are particularly vulnerable to loneliness, social isolation and bullying.

They might experience failure, inadequacy and depression from social anxiety so getting a proper diagnosis for them is essential.


Teenagers that are overwhelmed about going to an event should break it down into the smallest steps e.g. instead of attending a large party meet a friend for lunch. Also, it benefits teenagers in being involved in an activity that they enjoy as they might find it easier in talking with others about something they enjoy.

Encouraging your teenager to practice breathing and relaxation techniques which can help with social anxiety. In some cases, more intensive treatment my be needed to bringing them to a family doctor will determine how much help they need.

Questions for Health Care Team

  • Why does my teenager have trouble connecting with other kids?
  • What activities can I or the teacher do with my teenager to help increase their social skills?
  • Should the school be informed and support put in place at school?
  • How can I help my teenager?
  • Are there any local support groups for teenagers?

It is difficult seeing your teenager not being able to connect with peers and being able to make friends.  Talking to a counsellor or psychologist will help ease the anxiety and will give the parents coping strategies and activities to help your teenager and you.

“Do one thing every day that scares you”  – Eleanor Roosevelt 

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Disclaimer: This publication by Miracle Babies Foundation is intended solely for general education and assistance and it is it is not medical advice or a healthcare recommendation. It should not be used for the purpose of medical diagnosis or treatment for any individual condition. This publication has been developed by our Parent Advisory Team (all who are parents of premature and sick babies) and has been reviewed and approved by a Clinical Advisory Team. This publication is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Miracle Babies Foundation recommends that professional medical advice and services be sought out from a qualified healthcare provider familiar with your personal circumstances.To the extent permitted by law, Miracle Babies Foundation excludes and disclaims any liability of any kind (directly or indirectly arising) to any reader of this publication who acts or does not act in reliance wholly or partly on the content of this general publication. If you would like to provide any feedback on the information please email [email protected].