Login     My Account     Support/FAQs
Ask Jonathan

How do I help my 13 year old son with Social Anxiety Disorder?

Asked By: Anonymous     Views: 1,850 times

First, I would like to say “Thank You” for having this website.  I have been on the net fordays and this is the first time I have felt like I’m not in this alone.  I watched video within a few minutes of choosing your website and called the toll free number immediately.  As the polite operator listened to my issue and asked for my address all I could think is she will soon ask for a credit card number that I don’t possess and I will be letting my son down again!  I can not thank you enough for sending me FREE info. And for giving me a chance to reach outfor help without cost.  I lost my job several monthes ago and do not have health insurance.     Which leads to my questions.  I believe my son may have social anxiety.  I have always just assumed he was shy, that he didn’t like school because he did not perform well, and feelings of inferiority was based on my limited financial capabilities.  Recently after speaking to him about joining a church basketball team, he revealed his feelings about why he was not willing to play.  After making up many excuses he blurts out, “I don’t want to play! I don’t know why you are even asking; you know I don’t like things like that where everyone is looking at me!  I’ve never even played on a basketball team, you know everyone would be better than me!  They’ve all been playing forever!”  I tried to reassure him that with a church league its about fun and learning the fundementals of the game, they don’t keep score and was doubtful he would get taunted by church kids and their families.  At this point he gets almost frantic telling me of times and ways he avoids his peers.  Of how he finds a close friend to enter classrooms, the cafeteria, or the gym so he will have someone to “duck behind and just blend in”.  The most alarming to me was how on this very morning his Nana got him a biscuit before school and because he couldn’t find a buddy to walk into the cafeteria with he ate his breakfast in a stall in the boys restroom!  It breaks my heart to know my son is suffering this way, and has been doing so alone. I have let my son down what seems like most of his life between failed relationships and my own drug addiction.  Yet he has still turned out be a kind, considerate, and well-mannered young man.  He has difficulty with his school work and at times a violent temper with some family members, but all in all I feel blessed that he doesn’t seem to be going down thesame path as his father and myself.  I hope you understand why me being able to help my son deal with this emotional discomort is of such importance to me. I would appreciate any advice you (or those who have also dealt with this issue) goes about talking to a young teen and telling him of social anxiety.  I do not want him to feel as if something is wrong with him (think his self-esteem is low enough) without adding the word “disorder”.  Please tell me there is a way to treat him that is not going to be so expensive for me to afford!

hank you for sharing. Your story about your son's church basketball team brings to mind two patients I worked with; both were point guards of their high school team. Both players (who were excellent athletes) would basically never take a shot during a game. They would always and only pass the ball. Do you know why? The idea of missing the shot was too emotionally painful and caused anxiety. There's an excellent free seminar re: selective mutism at www.socialanxiety.com where professional baseball player, Kirk Rueter who pitched for The San Fransisco Giants, is featured with his wife. I asked him "Did you ever have a bad game?". He responded "Once I was pitching against the Rockies and losing 7 zip in the first inning with no outs", I asked "how do you deal with that?" His response, "I had to pitch every fifth day so I focus on what I had to do to be better next time out". When you think of it, that's the perfect psychology. So what gets in the way of this thinking? The answer is.. Too excessive an internal critical script and low self esteem; 2 dynamics that your son is challenged with. Anxiety is not a dirty word. It is imperative that your son learn what it is. This is the first step in any healing process; otherwise "denial" is present. The more there is denial, the more that detachment and avoidance will result. Protecting him from the thinking "that something is wrong with him" is enabling and will worsen the problem! Therefore as a caregiver, it's a must that you work through your own anxiety about this issue. In any case, from what you wrote, it appears that your son is capable of good expression and communication. As a "reward" for taking the risk of expressing yourself, I am sending you free of charge my comprehensive self therapy audio program ($299). This is for you, the caregiver, to work on, then to try to get your son to participate. I have found that when anxiety sufferers hear others who have"healed" there can be profundly positive results. There are many such interviews in this program as well as www.socialanxiety.com. Now you "don't have to let your son down". I expect you to return to this website with some specific "process".

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.

Relating to these Area of Concerns

Berent Associates, 10 Bond St., #371, Great Neck, NY 11021
Tel: (800) 248-2034, Fax: (516) 487-7414, E-mail: jberent@socialanxiety.com

Privacy Statement: All information collected from this website, including E-mail addresses, mailing addresses and personal
information, will not be shared or sold. Any information collected through this site will be used by Berent Associates only.