Social Anxiety in Children: When it is Beyond Shyness

Do your kids have a hard time warming up to people? Are they slow to make friends? Are they silent at family gatherings? When does shyness turn into social anxiety in children? It can be a challenge to tell what the signs of social anxiety are and what is just shyness?

Does your child have a hard time making friends? Does your child get overwhelmed in social situations? Is it shyness or is it something more? Here are 30 signs of social anxiety in children. Are you missing the signs?

Here are 30 signs of social anxiety in children. Each sign individually is normal and many kids will have these thoughts and struggles. But if the whole list starts to sound very much like your kid, you might want to take a closer look at social anxiety.

To listen to the podcast episode on this topic click here.

This list is not meant to diagnose and is for informational purposes only. If you are worried about your child having signs of social anxiety, please consult a mental health professional.

30 Signs of Social Anxiety in Children:

1. Has a hard time talking to other kids and/or adults.

2. Excessively worries about their appearance.

3. Worries they might say something or do something embarrassing.

4. Struggles with ordering their own food at restaurants.

5. Is consumed with what other people think of them.

6. Has a hard time eating in front of other people when they are not at home.

7. Prefers to stay at home most of the time.

8. Feels overwhelmed in large social gatherings.

Does your child have a hard time talking to people? Are you missing the signs of social anxiety in children? Find out here.

9. Worries parents are going to embarrass them in front of their friends.

10. Doesn’t like anyone to focus on them.

11. Is too anxious to raise their hand in class.

12. Overanalyzes social situations.

13. Often feels friends don’t really like them.

14. Has a hard time talking to people on the phone.

15. When they were very little they had a hard time separating.

16. When they were little they didn’t talk to anyone except family.

17. They have a hard time using the bathroom when they are not at home.

18. Refuses to poop anywhere, but home.

19. Feels like their friends don’t really care about them.

Does your child have a hard time talking to people? Are you missing the signs of social anxiety in children? Find out here.

20. Is too anxious to do school presentations.

21. Is too anxious to read out loud in class.

22. Excessively worries that other people are judging them.

23. Is mortified if a teacher corrects them in front of other students.

24. Speaks softly to those they don’t know.

25. Fears new social situations.

26. Plays alone at school.

27. Has limited friends.

28. Teachers describe a completely different child than the one you see at home.

29. Gets self-conscious when their appearance changes (haircut, braces etc.).

30. Is overly afraid that kids will be mean to them.

This list is by no means comprehensive. These are just some of the most common signs of social anxiety I see in my practice.

Did this list sound familiar? What other signs of social anxiety do you see in your kids? Leave a comment and share with other parents.

Do you know someone who has a child with signs of social anxiety? Share this article with them.


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If you know a teen struggling with anxiety, give them the only self-help book teens are likely to read:

This book offers teen help, without the psychobabble. A must read for teens suffering with anxiety and parents who are trying to understand it!

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9 responses to “30 Signs of Social Anxiety in Children: When it is Beyond Shyness”

  1. Tamara says:

    This is a great list. Another thing I notice with anxious kids is their tendency to act out when they are in a large busy department store. It is just too much extra stimulation to have all those people and all that stuff.

  2. Isabella says:

    anxiety is a big threat to human life. In US one experiencing with metal anxiety out four and it is increasing day by day. Now a big question is how to save the community from this deadliest disease? teen-age anxiety is another devasting news we see every day. Is it for a lifestyle change? or our irresponsibility?

  3. Kaitlyn says:

    This actually describes me to a T as a child and I still have most of these syptoms as an adult…makes me wonder if this is what was wrong with me the while time…

    • Natasha Daniels says:

      I hope learning what it is helps! I know it did for me.

    • Jennifer says:

      I know, I was about to say the same thing. Almost every behavior listed sent me into school-days flashbacks. I wish my parents would have recognized I had anxiety. I wonder if had I had the help back then, maybe I wouldn’t be the Trainwreck I am today.

      • Natasha Daniels says:

        It’s never too late to start feeling better. I didn’t realize I had social anxiety until I was in my 40s! The last few years have been so much better since I had that epiphany and started to work on it. It also explains my struggles as a kid.

      • DizAster says:


  4. Roberta says:

    While reading through this list, I noticed that at least half of it describes my three year old.
    What I am praying for, is a lot of help and guidance to help him, because I would hate for him to
    live through this into adulthood. People, and other children are cruel. And I wouldn’t want him to be a target.

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