A 16-Year-Old Cannot Call A Friend To Invite Her Over For A Party. How Should A Parent Help?

Question: A 16-year-old cannot call a friend to invite her over for a party. How should a parent help his/her daughter in this situation?

Answer: When I hear about a 16-year-old who's struggling to invite a friend over for a party I think about a couple of different things. At the mildest end of the spectrum this is a youngster who's a little bit anxious about a very important event and really doesn't quite know how to handle all the excitement and the anxiety. In that situation I would just ask the parents to provide some additional support. Do some basic problem solving maybe even a little rehearing about how to make that phone call and to see if that kind of intervention can really help the youngster kind of overcome that situational anxiety.

On the other hand there are some 16-year-olds who have pretty significant social anxiety and one of the symptoms of social anxiety is trouble using the phone. So if this was a 16-year-old who had, who was considered shy, and who had lots of difficulty talking with strangers or joining groups, and who had at this moment was really struggling to invite a friend over to a party, I might suggest to the family that they consider talking with their pediatrician and perhaps even getting a consultation with a mental health professional who's familiar with social anxiety disorder in teenagers.

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