Help! My dad is frustrated by my social anxiety. What should I do?


Dear Friend,

How should I deal with parents who get frustrated at me when I get anxious in social situations? I recently went to a friend’s birthday party, but only her school friends were there, and I didn’t know any of them. I was stressed and scared of them judging me, so I hid in the toilet and cried.

When I came out, my dad was furious at me. He took me out of the party room and began to yell at me very loudly about how I was embarrassing him and how “I should just be more confident”. How can I deal with this?

Sincerely, Anxious



Dear Anxious,

First off, we want to reassure you that your issue is not uncommon; social anxiety disorder affects about one-third of teens aged 13 to 18. It is very stressful to deal with, and we’re so sorry that your father doesn’t understand. It’s not fair for him to become frustrated with you.

Have you spoken to your parents about your anxiety? It may be helpful to sit down with them at home and explain your feelings. Do it when everyone is in a good mood and there aren’t any social situations in the near future.

Explain to your parents that your anxiety issues go further than being shy or nervous and that you genuinely find it difficult to cope in some social situations.

Tell them you want to learn how to be more confident but that it isn’t as easy as simply saying, “I will be more confident now”. Maybe if they hear you explain your feelings, it would allow them to understand your thinking more.

It would be helpful to go with your father and seek help from healthcare professionals. Not only would it allow you to vent your negative feelings and distress, but it would also give him some understanding of your situation and help him learn more about social anxiety.

For instance, he would be able to understand that, for people with social anxiety, it is difficult to control stress and avoidance behaviours in social situations. He could learn to be more considerate of your feelings and realise that you did not mean to embarrass him; this could help him handle the situation more calmly in the future. Moreover, professionals could guide him on understanding and handling similar problems in more positive ways, as well as encourage you.

It would also benefit you to reach out to a mental health professional. They could teach you coping skills and strategies to manage your stress and anxiety and improve your well-being in your everyday life. They could also offer practical ways to build your confidence and enhance your communication and relationship with your parents.

Treatments for social anxiety may include psychotherapy or exposure therapy; a mental health professional would be able to tailor a plan based on your specific needs.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to a professional as soon as possible. It could help you learn how to handle your anxiety and improve your relationship with your parents.

Hope that helps, Friend of a Friend


Source: Young Post