Socially Isolated Teen: When to Worry
Socially Isolated Teen: When to WorryDid you know there is a difference between a socially isolated teen and an introverted teen? If you did not previously know this, well now you do. Social isolation could be a sign of depression. However, just because your teen prefers to be alone does not mean there is an underlying issue. Social isolation can appear in a variety of ways including some of the following:
- Teen avoids social outings
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities they once enjoyed
- Frequently shuts him or herself away from interacting with family at home
- Exhibits anxiety or fear when being faced with a social situation
Solitude vs. Social IsolationThere is some grey area between concerning social isolation and a teen who thrives off of alone time. Research shows that teens can benefit from solitude. The one deciding factor that determines whether or not solitude is working in a productive way is the concept of choice. Solitude that is forced upon teens as a result of social anxiety or punishment can create greater issues. On the other hand, when solitude is chosen by a teen, it can contribute to personal growth and self-acceptance. Positive reasons that one may seek solitude are for self-reflection or desire to have peace and quiet.
Creating Healthy Social SpaceAs a parent, there are several ways in which you can be supportive of your teens need for solitude while recognizing when it goes beyond this and enters into the issue of social isolation. Here are some suggestions for creating healthy social spaces in your home:
- Keep communication open. Make sure your teen feels safe confiding in you. It is important that they know they can talk to you about their feelings and any struggles they may be having.
- Allow them breathing room. When your teen seeks alone time, don’t freak out. Give them space. Being a teenager is tough and sometimes alone time is very necessary.
- Seek help if necessary. If you are concerned about your teen don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Teens who are lonely or depressed could turn to drugs, alcohol, self-harm, or other risky behaviors. If you see alarming signs, seek professional resources around you to get help for your teen.