Social Anxiety Disorder Coping How to Parent Teens With Social Anxiety By Arlin Cuncic Arlin Cuncic Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." Learn about our editorial process Updated on August 09, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP Medically reviewed by Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP Facebook LinkedIn Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP, is a board-certified pediatric psychologist, parent coach, author, speaker, and owner of A New Day Pediatric Psychology, PLLC. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Mixmike / Getty Images If you're the parent of a teen with social anxiety disorder (SAD), it can be hard to know how best to help him or her cope. In addition to helping your child obtain a proper diagnosis and effective treatment, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and/or medication, there are a number of steps that you can take to help your teen on a daily basis. Expose Your Teen to Social Situations Although it may be tempting to be overprotective or to shelter your adolescent, it's important to provide her with confidence-building experiences and to not let him avoid situations that make him anxious. Gradual exposure to new social experiences will help her build social skills and feel more confident in her abilities. This will inherently involve some pushing beyond his comfort zone, but that should, of course, be approached in a measured way. A therapist can guide this, and your involvement as a parent is key. If you have a younger teenager, be sure to give her the opportunity to speak for herself in situations such as ordering in a restaurant or asking for movie tickets. Be sure to offer praise and rewards when your teen faces feared social situations. Pick a Goal Have your teen pick a realistic goal, such as joining a club or team or making a new friend, and work with her to take steps to achieve it. For instance, he could go to a club meeting and listen in before joining or you and he could walk over to the new neighbor's house together and invite them over to visit. Building positive experiences and practicing social interaction will help boost your teen's confidence. Press Play for Advice On Raising Confident Children Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast, featuring actress/author Jazmyn Simon, shares how to raise confident kids. Click below to listen now. Follow Now: Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Google Podcasts Make Sure Your Teen Relaxes When you have an anxiety disorder, it's particularly important to have time to relax and unwind, to take a break from the anxiousness. Encourage your teen to exercise and participate in activities that she finds relaxing, such as drawing, painting, playing an instrument, yoga, journaling, or crafts. This will also help him be able to better manage his anxiety. Panic Disorder and Anxiety in Teens Don't Give Your Teen Special Treatment Treat your teen the same as you would any child and keep your expectations the same, though you may need to be a little more flexible sometimes. Try to find activities at which she excels so she can build confidence and have her help out around the house so she feels like she's contributing to the family. Listen and Offer Advice If your teenager is comfortable talking to you about his feelings, listen carefully and offer advice. Let her know that feeling nervous sometimes is normal for all teenagers. Remind him of how he has coped well in the past with difficult situations, and let him know that you have confidence in his ability to cope. If your teenager is suffering from extreme social anxiety that greatly impairs her daily functioning, has stopped her from attending school, or has posed a danger of self-harm or suicide, it's important to seek professional help immediately. Call your mental health care practitioner or your doctor. If your child is having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If your loved one is in immediate danger, call 911. For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database. Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Akron Children's Hospital. Social Phobia. Updated May 2013. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Tips for Parents and Caregivers. Ehmke R. Tips for Managing Social Anxiety. Child Mind Institute. By Arlin Cuncic Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Social Anxiety Disorder Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.