Tips for Recognizing Social Anxiety Disorder in Your Children

Tips for Recognizing Social Anxiety Disorder in Your Children

Guest post by Christine Fonseca

Raising the Shy Child

It’s no secret that the world has become more stressful. More noise, more work, more pressure—just more. Our children are feeling all of this as well, resulting in more anxious-like behaviors. But not all anxious-like behaviors result in social anxiety. The tips below can help you determine if the anxiety your child is feeling is something above and beyond the ambient anxiety everyone feels from time to time:

  1. Pay attention to these common symptoms of SAD:
    • Expressed fear of being called on in school or other performance-related activities
    • Expressed fear of being watched and/or judged during performance-related tasks
    • Expressions of nausea, headaches, and panic-attack reactions in response to performance demands
    • Attendance problems at school (school avoidance)
    • Avoidant behaviors, including avoidance of social situation, parties, and performance opportunities
  2. Ask yourself these questions:
    • Do these symptoms prevent my child for socially engaging at school and/or extra-curricular activities
    • Have attempts to move past the anxiety proven ineffective?
    • Is my child now missing out on social opportunities related to expressions of fear and anxiety

If your child is experiencing a combination of the symptoms listed above, and you are answering yes to the majority of the questions, there is a good chance that your child is on the road toward a social anxiety disorder. To help support your child learning to balance his or her anxieties, try the few tips listed below:

  • Create a safe and nurturing environment for your child, both at home and at school
  • Work with the teaching staff to create “safe zones” for the child at school
  • Provide “break cards” to assist with breaks from the stress and pressure in the classroom
  • Teach relaxation techniques and when to use them
  • Work with your child to correct any faulty thinking patterns

If your child is resistant to these strategies, it’s time to enlist the help of mental health professionals. Social anxiety disorder doesn’t have to dominate a child’s life. With support and hard work, your child can learn to manage his or her anxious behaviors.


Raising the Shy Child

By Christine Fonseca

Prufrock Press

March 1, 2015

ISBN: 9781618213983


The fear of being judged by others in social activities is a common human experience, especially during childhood. But when the fear becomes all-consuming, it can disrupt daily functioning and the development of social competency. Raising the Shy Child: A Parent’s Guide to Social Anxiety takes a fresh look at social anxiety disorder, coupling the latest in research trends with evidence-based strategies and real-world stories to untangle the complexities of this disorder. Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, the book uses a combination of real-world examples and stories from adults and children with social anxiety disorder to show parents and educators how to help children find a path through their fear and into social competence. With specific strategies to address school refusal, bullying, and identity issues, Raising the Shy Child is a must-read resource for anyone dedicated to enhancing the lives of children.



Christine Fonseca is a school psychologist and award-winning author of nonfiction and teen novels dedicated to helping children and adults find their unique voice in the world, including the books “Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students,” “The Girl Guide,” and “Quiet Kids.” When she isn’t crafting new stories or working with student groups, she can be found sipping too many skinny vanilla lattes at her local coffee house.


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Praise for Raising the Shy Child:

“Fonseca (Quiet Kids) provides a well-organized, powerful collection of strategies drawn from the current literature and her experience as a school psychologist… Parents who have seen educators minimize their child’s struggles as normal shyness, felt herded into one-size-fits-all solutions, or struggled to comprehend apparently nonsensical behavior from bright children will find this comprehensive resource grounding and practical.”

Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review

“Christine Fonseca’s Raising the Shy Child: A Parent’s Guide to Social Anxiety is comprehensive, interactive handbook… Fonseca uses relatable language and an earnest, supportive tone throughout.”

Foreword Reviews

Lindsey Jenn

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