An anxious child may have an overwhelming fear of strangers.
Being socially awkward is one thing. Being overly scared of someone new is something else entirely. As we just mentioned, it’s normal for children to become wary of strangers. There is comfort in sticking to familiar things. However, if they clam up or start to cry when a stranger comes by, they may have anxiety. Shyness should usually begin to phase out after two years old. You want your child to grow into an independent individual. A tendency to steer away from social situations could be a symptom of anxiety.
What should you look for? If they cling to you even after meeting someone friendly or continuing to be fussy or cry after that person is gone, they may have anxiety. It’s a sign that there are lingering feelings that they don’t know what to do with. When this happens, talk to your child to see what’s bothering them and let them know that they don’t have to be afraid of strangers you talk to when they are with you. You can encourage older children to take calming breaths as a coping mechanism to help them from feeling awkward.