If you are surfing the web researching the subject of “shyness”, “social anxiety”, “social phobia”, or “selective mutism” for your child, (whether your “child” is 5, 15, or 25 years old), it will be to your benefit to consider the following issues:
- Unless your child is an “independent” adult who is motivated to get help on his or her own, you as a parent play a very important role.
- Do not expect your child to demonstrate initiative in solving his or her anxiety problem.
- Usually the person with social anxiety has a compulsion to avoid while being over-dependent.
- Therefore, if you want things to improve, in most cases you must initiate help and learn an “empowering” vs. “enabling” parenting strategy.
- In most cases, substantial social avoidance and social anxiety worsens with time. Believing the child will “grow out of it” is the worst single mistake you can make.
- Any therapeutic approach for a youngster, teenager, or overly dependent adult with social anxiety, which does not teach a parenting strategy, will quickly reach the “point of diminishing returns”.
- Familiarizing yourself with the “socialability questionnaire“, “parent addiction” profile, and “parental guidelines“, all of which are free, is a practical place for you to start.
- In most cases, the earlier that appropriate intervention is made, the easier it is to resolve the problem.
Jonathan Berent, A.C.S.W.