Social Anxiety or Low Tolerance for Frustration?


How can I help my 12-year-old son deal with social anxiety when he is in large crowds of people? He is fine in setting with a small number of people but in large crowds he gets very stressed to the point of tears. He also gets rude when people try to speak to him. When I try asking him what is wrong, he just gets more upset and shuts down. The most recent example was at a church function. We were having a homecoming meal so there were more people than usual. He was getting very upset while we were in line for the food and as we went through the buffet, he seemed like he wasn't able to make decisions on what to eat. By the time we sat down he was in tears. A couple of people tried to speak to him, and he wouldn't say much and came across very rude. He always comes to me later and apologizes for his behavior. Later in the day I tried to ask him what he was feeling, and he just said he was annoyed. We've tried taking away a game he really likes for being rude but that does not help.

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