Above, I outlined what I dubbed “normal fears” – anxieties that arise from deservedly scary events that can be dealt with through discussion. Below, I will identify some anxieties that go beyond the scope of discussion and require greater intervention.
In 2001, in The New York Times, Margaret Talbot reported that around 13% of the population is affected by social anxiety. People who believe they might have social anxiety exhibit some of 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 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
- Social anxiety is also linked to depression – quiet resignation and isolation
Children with separation anxiety worry about separating from their parents during school, work, a quick errand, bedtime, or even when they are in the next room. They report a vague feeling that something bad will happen and they need to be near their parent in order to prevent it. In order to diagnose separation anxiety, these symptoms must not be isolated and must occur for more than four weeks consecutively.
It’s common for these children to:
- Have difficulty attending school
- Make frequent calls home
- Show unwillingness to play at friends’ houses
For both social anxiety and separation anxiety, there are multiple methods to overcome and quell the fear. If you see your child exhibiting these characteristics, it might be helpful to call in some reinforcements to allow the whole family a more enjoyable and relaxed environment.
About the Author: An acclaimed educator and social skills specialist, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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