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Teen with Selective Mutism

Asked By: Anonymous     Views: 878 times

I am an enabling parent, but I don't know how to stop. My teen daughter has social anxiety and also selective mutism.  She is 17.   Besides the obvious "not answering for her", how do I force her to talk and deal with things she does not want to? I tell her to do things, but she doesnt and I end up doing them for her. I know I need to stop this enabling but I am afraid she will be content to just back down and settle for avoiding everything.  Do I force her or make her? I've read that pressuring someone with selective mutism may make it worse.  She already has developed an avoidiant personality and deals with stress by detaching.  She thinks she wants to live life alone with her pets.. How do I help her as a parent?

You definitely do not try to "force her". You want to learn a method of teaching her that she has to get out of her comfort zone (which is a multi-dimensional process).You need to invest in what you (as the caregiver) can do to change in terms of empowering vs. enabling. This will require you to manage your own emotions and anxiety. Visit our Selective Mutism page under Area of Concern on the top menu.  Listen carefully to the interview "Teen Selective Mutism". This interview tells the whole story.

The following is part of a collection of questions and sharing by our readership community about a wide variety of aspects of social anxiety. Dive in and receive practical insights and advice. If you have a question that is not included you can contact Jonathan at jberent@socialanxiety.com.

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