Experiencing social anxiety is a big part of being a teenager. Thoughts like ‘How do people interpret me?’, ‘How do I present myself?’ and ‘Who am I away from my family?’ are normal but they are also exhausting.
Teens are spending so much energy figuring out who they are and worrying about whether people will judge them for it. What if people don’t like them for who they are? There’s a lot of anxiety around feeling embarrassed or doing or saying something awkward, especially when it comes to social interactions. For example, talking on the phone, walking into a group, not knowing what to say in a group, and feeling like there’s a spotlight on them when they’re walking the hallway at school. We could call these the baseline symptoms.
Then there’s another group of teenagers who experience this at the next level and get full-blown panic attacks about going to certain parties or events or around other social interactions.
Whether your teenager experiences social anxiety or social pressure within the realm of normal or on a more intense level, there are some things we can do to help our teens cope with it. We dive deep into these strategies in today’s episode of Active & Connected Families, but let’s have a look at some of them here.
One of the things I always talk about with teens is how much time they’re spending on Social Media. At the very least, it’s important to offer our teens an understanding of what Social Media is and how it works. Many teens don’t realize they’re comparing themselves to a false vision of other people and that what they see on Social Media isn’t always the truth. But seeing these people on Social Media automatically makes them feel anxious about who they are.
Another thing we see frequently is teens either coming in too hot (overcompensating) or coming in too cold (shutting down) in social interactions because of their anxiety and their will to fit in. Have a listen to today’s episode to hear our thoughts on helping our teens with this. We’ve got some interesting strategies that involve Tammy Taylor and Tony Bennett. It might sound silly but it actually works!
“Most of us are relatively to very forgiving of other people’s mistakes
and way harder on ourselves.”
– Caroline Megargel
In this episode on helping our teens cope with social anxiety, we cover:
- Signs and symptoms of social anxiety in teenagers;
- Overcompensating (coming in too hot) or coming in too cold (shutting down) in social interactions;
- Strategies to help our teens who are struggling with social anxiety or social pressure;
- The influence of Social Media on social anxiety;
- Ways to open up the conversation around social anxiety with your teen;
- How we help teens overcome social anxiety by channeling Tammy Taylor or Tony Bennett;
- Validating the experience;
- And so much more!
You can find our podcast Active and Connected Families wherever you listen to your podcasts or easily click the links below to listen:
More about Virginia Family Therapy
Virginia Family Therapy is a mental health practice serving individuals, families, and our community. VFT is designed to help people at all stages and from all walks of life by offering therapists and physicians with diverse backgrounds and specialties via face-to-face, walk-and-talk, and telemedicine appointments. Throughout, we are committed to developing strengths-based, authentic, and long-lasting relationships with you and your children. We hope to provide you with the support and insight you need to help your family navigate life’s hard times and joys.
Are you or your child struggling with mental health? We have a team of psychologists and psychiatrists who can help you out. You can learn more about our practice or contact us here.
More about Caroline Megargel, MSW, LCSW
Caroline is an individual and family therapist at Virginia Family Therapy who specializes in working with children, teens, and young adults struggling with their mental health, life transitions, parental divorce, and more. She has particular expertise in working with teens struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, and disordered eating.
After growing up in Charlottesville, she attended Vanderbilt University and pursued an undergraduate degree in Psychology. She later attended Boston College and earned her Masters of Social Work. Caroline returned to Charlottesville in 2018, where she began practicing as an outpatient therapist. She became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in June 2020. Outside the office, she enjoys walking her dog, spending time with friends, and listening to podcasts.
You can learn more about Caroline here.
Resources and links mentioned in this episode
- We’d love to hear your feedback on our podcast. Why not leave us a review on Apple Podcasts?
- Connect with us on Facebook or Instagram.
- This is episode 5 in our mini-series on parenting stressed-out teens. Have you listened to the previous episodes already? How about this one about managing perfectionism and pressure in high-achieving teens?
Disclaimer: Please remember we are real live therapists, however this is a podcast and is not considered a therapy session. Not only because there is no co-pay but also because we can’t speak to your individual experiences. We are here to help you keep raising healthy kids. And remember, if you are an imperfect parent, we are right there with you. If you or someone you love is in immediate danger, please call your local crisis hotline or go to your nearest emergency room.