web analytics
November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Suffering From Shyness: Social Phobias

Schonfeld-logo1

Fifth-grader Yitzi cannot speak in front of the classroom. In fact, it is a wrestling act just to get him into the classroom to begin with. He refuses to get together with friends after school and spends much of his time at home alone in his bedroom. When his parents try to speak with him to try to figure out what is wrong, he cannot answer. Instead, he turns red and starts to sweat.

When his condition began to worsen, Yitzi’s parents took him for an evaluation and found out that he is suffering from social anxiety, a form of social phobias.

What are the symptoms of social phobias?

In 2001, Margaret Talbot reported (in The New York Times) that around 13% of the population is affected by social phobias. While social anxiety was originally considered a rare condition, in the late 90s, psychologists, teachers, and parents began to identify it as a much more common issue. Social phobias are characterized not only by nervousness when in social situations or when forced to give a presentation or speech, but also by a powerful desire to avoid most situations that involve interacting with others.

 

People who believe they might have social phobia exhibit some the following symptoms:

  • Frequently blushing in front of people
  • Sweating in front of people
  • Trembling or shaking in front of others
  • Heart palpitations around people
  • Fear of embarrassment that causes them to avoid speaking to people
  • Aversion to speaking to anyone in authority
  • Going to great lengths to avoid criticism
  • Excessive fear of strangers

 

The Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN) is a list of seventeen questions that people can answer in order to better assess their “shyness” or avoidance of others. Many people might exhibit one or two symptoms of social phobia – after all, who isn’t sometimes uncomfortable when speaking with strangers?  However, it is the severity of the fear and the frequency of these reactions that classify people as having social anxiety.

Dr. Michael Liebowitz, a Columbia University psychiatrist and director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at New York Psychiatric Institute, explains that there are two groups of people who suffer from social phobia. Some, like Yitzi, experience anxiety that is generated by multiple situations and this anxiety interferes with their day-to-day lives. In other instances, there are people whose fears are more specific. They might feel very comfortable presenting in front of the classroom, but would freeze when forced to eat a full meal in public.

Children

Many children demonstrate signs of social phobia when they begin to go to school. What is often interpreted as severe shyness can be a sign of social anxiety. Children who fear school because they are anxious that they will have to read passages aloud, answer difficult questions, or play sports, might be suffering from a form of social anxiety. On the other hand, if a child who is just beginning school is having trouble leaving his or her primary caregiver it could simply be separation anxiety. Separation anxiety can be healed over time with gradual separation, whereas social phobia requires more specific discussions and intervention.

In The Elementary School journal, Leo Hanvik wrote an article entitled, “The Child Who is Afraid of School” in which he describes a few “dos” and “don’ts” for parents dealing with a school-phobic child. He explains:

 

Do                                                                                       Don’t

 

Be attentive to your child’s feelings                        Punish your child if he or she expresses fear

Be firm about going to school                                    Force your child to attend unconditionally

Model good stress management techniques          Dismiss physical symptoms of stress

 

 

Hanvik clarifies that it is important for parents to understand that the physical symptoms that accompany social phobia are very real and should not be ignored. Parents need to learn how to deal with their child’s fear and anxiety in order to allow the child to acclimate himself to school.

Adults

In adults, social anxiety appears at work, social gatherings, or any situation that is novel and different. Adults with social phobia might hesitate to answer the phone, approach a coworker or boss, or ask the cashier at the supermarket a question.  These hesitations arise from an “over-thinking” of social situations. Though socially anxious people understand that their fears are irrational and that not everyone is evaluating them at every moment, they cannot suppress their feelings of embarrassment and humiliation. Despite their logical thinking, they still continue to experience heart palpitations, blushing, and sweating when confronted with social situations.

About the Author: An acclaimed educator and education consultant, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation,, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@verizon.net. Visit her on the web at rifkaschonfeldsos.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Suffering From Shyness: Social Phobias”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
US Secretary of State John Kerry with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier before P5+1 talks. Nov. 22, 2014.
BREAKING: West About to Cave on Key Iranian Demand
Latest Sections Stories
Kupfer-112114

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

Astaire-112114-Horse

There were many French Jews who jumped at the chance to shed their ancient identity and assimilate.

L to R: Sheldon Adelson, Shawn Evenhaim, Haim Saban

As Rabbi Shemtov stood on the stage and looked out at the attendees, he told them that “Rather than take photos with your cellphones, take a mental photo and keep this Shabbat in your mind and take it with you throughout your life.”

South-Florida-logo

Yeshiva v’Kollel Bais Moshe Chaim will be holding a grand celebration on the occasion of the institution’s 40th anniversary on Sunday evening, December 7. Alumni, students, friends and faculty of the yeshiva, also known as Talmudic University of Florida, will celebrate the achievement and vision of its founders and the spiritual guidance of its educational […]

The yeshiva night accommodates all levels of Jewish education.

Recently, Fort Lauderdale has been the focus of international news, and it has not been about the wonderful weather.

Rabbi Sacks held the position of chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth for 22 years until September 2013.

The event included a dvar Torah by student Pesach Bixon, an overview of courses, information about student life and a student panel that answered frequently asked questions from a student perspective.

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

“Grandpa,” I wondered, as the swing began to slow down, “why are there numbers on your arm?”

So the real question is, “How can we, as hosts, make sure our guest beds are comfortable?” Because your guests will never say anything.

It was a land of opportunity, a place where someone who wasn’t afraid of a little hard work, or the challenges of adapting to a different climate and culture, could prosper.

Rule #1: A wife should never accompany her husband to hang out with his buddies at a fantasy football draft. Unless beer and cigars are her thing, that is.

There are many people today with very little training who put out shingles and proclaim themselves to be marital coaches, shalom bayis helpers, advisers etc.

The two World Series combatants, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, were Wild Card teams (meaning they didn’t win their respective divisions) that got hot at the right time.

More Articles from Rifka Schonfeld
Schonfeld-logo1

Do you love your children? Of course, who doesn’t? Maybe I should rephrase the question: Do your children feel that you love them?

Schonfeld-103114

“Without a high school diploma, you couldn’t work as a garbage collector in New York City; you couldn’t join the Air Force. Yet a quarter of our kids still walked out of high school and never came back.”
– Amanda Ridley

Avromi often put other people’s interests before his own: he would not defend people whom he believed were guilty (even if they were willing to pay him a lot of money).

Social disabilities occur at many levels, but experts identify three different areas of learning and behavior that are most common for children who struggle to create lasting social connections.

Brown argues that this wholehearted living must extend into our parenting.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

Children with dyslexia or dysgraphia frequently have problems in social relationships.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/suffering-from-shyness-social-phobias/2013/11/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: