Smaller Class Sizes: A Solution for Teen Social Anxiety
Social anxiety in teenagers is a mental disorder that can easily go undiagnosed but can have serious repercussions on a teen’s school performance, relationships, and can lead to depression. One of the ways to combat social anxiety in teens is by encouraging smaller classroom sizes to promote individual learning and reduce peer pressure.
What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety disorder is more than just mere shyness; it is an actual social phobia in which a person has an intense fear of being watched or judged by others in a social setting. Unfortunately, social anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders presented in adolescents, affecting approximately 12% of teenagers.
The sign and symptoms of social anxiety can manifest both behaviorally as well as physically and can include:
- Anxiety in social situations with unfamiliar people or where they feel they may be judged
- Fear of embarrassing themselves in front of others
- Dread, irritability, or anger of social events weeks ahead of time or complete avoidance of these events
- Oversensitivity to criticism
- Poor school performance and high stress before a test
- Trembling, flushed face, difficulty speaking when others are around
- Nausea, excessive sweating, nausea, or dizziness
Social anxiety can be detrimental to a teen’s education, relationships, and healthy self-image. It can also lead to depression, antisocial behavior, and possibly suicidal tendencies. It is important to recognize the symptoms above to know when it might be time to get help for a teen you know who could
How Can We Help Teens Combat Social Anxiety?
There are a variety of methods to help teens beat social anxiety and develop confidence in social situations so that their ability to build relationships and see themselves in a positive light does not suffer. Finding a counselor or mental health specialist is a great first step.
It’s helpful for the teen to talk through how they’re feeling in social situations and get to the root of the problem. A psychiatrist can help teens with social anxiety, understand that their fears, and provide them with tools to build up their self-confidence in social situations. This can be establishing daily routines of positive self-talk and confidence-boosting activities.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a common tool employed by psychiatrists to help teens overcome social struggles by teaching them different ways of behaving, thinking, and reacting toward social situations that bring on feelings of fear and anxiety. Small group therapy can also be helpful not only to build healthy social interactions but also to show that those suffering from social anxiety are not alone.
Smaller Class Sizes to Reduce Teen Social Anxiety
One of the novel ways to help reduce teen social anxiety altogether is by reducing the number of students in the classroom. With fewer teens to “perform” in front of, the manifestation of social anxiety in teens decreases, and their ability to develop successful social skills can be achieved.
Schools provide real-life scenarios for teens to practice social skills and smaller classrooms allow them to challenge their confidence while not overwhelming their triggers. Schools that are aware of particular students struggling with social anxiety may choose to selectively place them with others who are also struggling and more compassionate students who won’t feed into their peers’ anxiety through criticism and ridicule.
Smaller classroom sizes can also encourage teens with social anxiety to actively participate in class, form better social relationships with their peers, and overall increase their ability for educational success.
Traditional public schools aren’t the only education centers that can provide the benefit of helping teens combat social anxiety. Centers built specifically to target the healing of teens with mental health disorders offer great programs that encourage teens to reach their maximum potential both socially and educationally.
Elevations RTC is one such facility located near Salt Lake City, Utah. They accept teens ages 13 to 18 who may be struggling with a number of issues such as social anxiety, depression, technology addiction, and refusal to attend school. They offer a real-world school experience by integrating required education with therapeutic assistance to promote positive mental attitudes in a co-ed setting.
Their innovative “Five Peaks of Success” focus on the core values of building healthy relationships with family, peers, and the center’s staff, therapeutic healing with a fully trained staff of psychiatrists and nurses, engagement in self-development, and one’s place in the world, valuable accredited education, and looking towards the future to higher education and a healthy participation in society.
Looking Toward a Brighter Future
Social anxiety can be crippling especially for teenagers who are already struggling with the challenges of adolescence and middle/high school. There is hope for healing from such issues and it starts with recognizing the signs and symptoms.
Getting help for mental struggles will improve a teen’s life by increasing healthy relationships, improving educational performance, and allowing participation in social situations. Methods such as decreasing the size of classrooms and offering special facilities for teens struggling with mental health such as Elevations RTC are great strides towards reducing social anxiety in teens.