Social Anxiety Therapy Phoenix

How to Recognize a Social Anxiety Disorder in Children

Child Counseling

When most people think of social anxiety, they assume it only impacts adults. While it’s true that it’s more common in adults, children can suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder, too.

Unfortunately, it can sometimes be harder to spot and diagnose as a parent or caregiver.

However, it’s extremely important to recognize the signs so you can get your child the help they deserve as soon as possible. Social anxiety, even at a young age, is manageable and treatable. By “catching” it now, your child can grow up to feel less anxious in social settings, and they’ll have a better handle on how to manage any lingering symptoms.

With that in mind, let’s look at how you can recognize Social Anxiety Disorder in children, and what you should do if you’re concerned your child is experiencing it.

When Does Social Anxiety Start?

You might be surprised to learn that most social anxiety disorders start during adolescence—typically between the ages of 8-15. Children can start to experience symptoms of it earlier, but they typically don’t seek treatment until they’re older because the signs go unnoticed.

There are several reasons why a child might start to experience social anxiety. Things like bullying or rejection from their peers can trigger it. However, it can also be caused by issues at home.

Children who have to deal with family drama, conflict, or even abuse might feel more comfortable keeping to themselves rather than being around others. Unfortunately, it’s often those children who need comfort and reassurance from other people the most.

What Are the Signs of Social Anxiety Disorder in Kids?

It can sometimes be difficult to diagnose a social anxiety disorder in kids, simply because some children are naturally shy. However, there are a few key differences between being anxious in social settings and simply having a shy temperament.

Children with social anxiety usually have a hard time meeting other kids or inserting themselves into groups. Often, they have very few friends and feel more comfortable in a small circle, rather than playing in a large group.

They also don’t like being the center of attention or having people’s eyes on them for any reason. They usually won’t do anything performance-related, and they might even get anxious if they get called on to answer a question in class, or have to give a presentation or speech.

In social settings, your child might start to experience physical issues, too. It’s not uncommon for them to deal with stomach problems, shaking, and turning red.

What Can You Do?

Again, it’s not always easy to spot social anxiety in kids. However, the closer you pay attention to some of these signs, the easier it will be for you to reassure your child and get them the help they deserve.

As a parent, do what you can to prepare your child for social situations. The more planning and preparation you do, the less overwhelmed and anxious they’ll feel.

It can also help to connect with your child. Sit down with them and share any experiences you’ve had dealing with fear in the past. It can be reassuring to them to know they’re not alone. They’ll also find comfort in learning more about how you overcame that fear.

If your child is really struggling, however, the best thing you can do is reach out to a mental health professional. Don’t just label them as “shy.” Instead, recognize that they’re genuinely fearful of social situations, and that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

If these symptoms sound familiar and you’ve noticed them affecting your child for a while, feel free to contact a Crossroads’ therapist for more information or to set up an appointment.

We understand that the decision to bring your child into counseling can be intimidating as a parent, which is why we offer a complementary 20-minute phone consultation. Our locations for child therapy are located throughout the valley with counseling centers located in Phoenix, Anthem, Biltmore/Arcadia, Paradise Valley, and Scottsdale.   Call us at 623-680-3486,text 623-688-5115, or email

To learn more about our counseling services for children click here.