28 Jan Is Your Isolated Teen Struggling with Social Anxiety?
It can be difficult to find out what is going on in your isolated teen’s life if they spend most of their time in their room and aren’t the one to initiate conversations with you. Just because your teen prefers to spend time alone doesn’t always mean that they feel lonely or disconnected from others. But, it is important to question why your teen may be spending a lot of time alone in order to help if they are struggling with social anxiety, low self-esteem, or making friends.
Signs That Your Teen Is Struggling With Social Anxiety
Teens with social anxiety may not isolate by choice, but rather because they feel it is easier than facing their fears about social situations. Social anxiety can appear differently depending on the individual, but is usually related to an overwhelming fear of some social situations, including meeting new people, spending time in bigger groups, or performing in front of an audience. It’s possible that your teen hasn’t always been introverted and may have gone through recent changes in their friend group that has lead to social withdrawal. While this is an acceptable response for a short period of time, if they are continuing to be withdrawn and are struggling to find a new group, their low self esteem or social anxiety may be getting in the way of relationships.
Social withdrawal can appear in a variety of ways including some of the following:
- Avoiding social outings
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities they once enjoyed
- Frequently shuts themself away from interacting with family at home
- Exhibits anxiety or fear when being faced with a social situation
- Spending a lot of time online
- Preferring to communicate over text than in person
Could They Just Be Introverted?
There is some grey area between concerning social isolation and a teen who thrives off of alone time. Research shows that teens can benefit from solitude. The one deciding factor that determines whether or not solitude is working in a productive way is the concept of choice. Solitude that is forced upon teens as a result of social anxiety or punishment can create greater issues. On the other hand, when solitude is chosen by a teen, it can contribute to personal growth and self-acceptance. Positive reasons that one may seek solitude are for self-reflection or desire to have peace and quiet.
Tips for Connecting With Your Isolated Teen
- Keep communication open. Make sure your teen feels safe confiding in you. It is important that they know they can talk to you about their feelings and any struggles they may be having.
- Allow them breathing room. When your teen seeks alone time, don’t freak out. Give them space. Being a teenager is tough and sometimes alone time is very necessary.
- Don’t pressure them to socialize. Many parents fear that their child will feel lonely and have no friends and encourage them to join extracurricular activities to help them make friends. For teens who prefer solo activities or who experience a lot of anxiety in group activities, this may be too overwhelming for them, which may increase feelings of shame and insecurity.
- Look out for signs of social anxiety. Assessment centers, like ViewPoint conduct ongoing psychological assessments through behavioral observation in a variety of settings. Our psychologists are trained to help identify whether your quiet teen is struggling with mental health struggles, like social anxiety, relational trauma, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, or if there are other factors contributing to his social withdrawal. From there, we use this information to make more accurate treatment recommendations for your family.
ViewPoint Center Can Help
Located just outside of Salt Lake City, ViewPoint Center is a short-term residential Crisis and Assessment Center for adolescents ages 12 to 17 that helps stabilize and assess teenagers struggling with mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and process addictions. Many of our clients experience debilitating amounts of social anxiety that have had a significant impact on their self esteem, relationships, and social skills. Before ViewPoint, families are often frustrated and lost. Varying doctors and therapists with a range of advice, diagnoses, and plans leaves parents and children unsure of where to turn. At ViewPoint, we centralize all of the different diagnoses, and create a comprehensive holistic report to help your teen and your family to get back on track and transition to the next stage of their recovery.