NURTURE INFORMATION HUB
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
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