Social disorders in children are often referred to as social anxiety, or having trouble fitting in. It's more serious than the typical nervousness that children often display in social environments. It's an unnatural response that can quickly become detrimental to the overall well-being of a child.

Most kids who struggle to make friends at an early age eventually figure things out for themselves. By watching how other children interact, they slowly pick up the skills necessary to socialize effectively. However, the symptoms of children with social disorders tend to get worse as time passes.

Signs that a child has a social disorder

When a child suffers from a social disorder, it can cause immediate problems in their lives. They may become lonely, stop participating, start acting out, develop self-esteem issues, and be generally unhappy. It's important that you identify that your child has a social disorder as soon as possible so you can begin planning how to give them the help they need.

What happens if it's not corrected?

Unfortunately, many social disorders in children don't typically go away on their own. Instead, they tend to get worse with time. If you're not able to correct the problem, these are some potential long-term issues your child could face:

  • Depression
  • Drug/alcohol use
  • Bad grades
  • Antisocial behaviors
  • Violence

What can you do?

The best thing you can do when you discover that your child has a social disorder is to begin making a plan to help them improve. You need to be proactive. Consider implementing the following ideas into your plan:

  • Meditation - Meditation and other breathing exercises are a great way to teach a child to calm down when they experience anxiety.
  • Self-expression - Your child needs to have somebody to talk to that they can trust. Keeping their problems and emotions to themselves will only make things worse.
  • Practice - Take some time to practice social situations with your child. Do some role-playing where you play a peer of your child to get them used to having conversations in different social situations.
  • Learn your child's strengths and weaknesses - Are they better in one-on-one situations? If so, plan a one-on-one playdate with a child their age. Some kids do better socializing when they're doing something they're passionate about. If this is the case with your child, enroll them in a social program (i.e. karate, swimming, etc.) related to one of their passions.

For more information, contact a childhood social disorder professional near you.