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Children and Teenagers with Social Anxiety

Children and teenagers with social anxiety is a common occurrence.  It often shows up in early adolescence where kids have difficulty making friends, making connections and developing a satisfactory social life.  We generally describe these kids as shy but the problem can become more pervasive and problematic for many kids. Few things are more painful for parents than seeing their children be left out and struggling to make friends.

Kids and teenagers with social anxiety often feel quite lonely, isolated, and  sometimes ostracized.  This can in turn lead to depression and hopelessness because these kids often feel alone. This can make them feel like social “losers”.  Your teenager may want to make friends but suffer in silence as they struggle to find ways to do this.

What to Do:

Kids with social anxiety have a lot to offer but have trouble developing confidence and tools to engage with others.  These kids and teenagers often have great personalities with kindness, humor, and generosity as parts of their personalities.  We often describe these kids as kind, intelligent, loyal, and caring. However, their introverted personalities make it difficult to “put the mselves out there”.  They often have intense internal conflicts as they struggle to think of things to say to initiate interactions.  Then, they judge themselves harshly for not being able to think of anything. They may worry that peers are judging them harshly for their apparent social deficits.

Fortunately, counseling works wonders in helping kids learn to work within their strengths to develop self esteem and self confidence. It can help them learn to initiate basic interactions that make them more approachable to peers.

Solution Focused Counseling Can Help

Solution Focused counseling is a good fit for teenagers with social anxiety because it helps you find small ways to start interactions. And it keeps them within their comfort zones as they “stretch” themselves enough to begin the process.  

If you’d like to learn more about how solution focused counseling can help your child, contact me for a free consult.  

Gary Watson is a Solution Focused Therapist in Grand Rapids Michigan.  He provides counseling for couples, counseling for teenagers, and adults.  He provides counseling for anxiety, depression, stress, college and work stress, and relationship problems.  For more information, please visit the website at