My son is a bright, caring boy, but I'm worried that his family are the only ones that get to see that side of him.
He has always been quiet, but in the last year or so his social anxiety has become much worse. He completely shuts down when he is around people that are not close friends or family. He hates talking to teachers or shop assistants and avoids it at all costs.
It became really obvious when we were on a trip with his aikido group. Even though these are people we see regularly, I was dismayed to see him giving one-syllable answers to questions and disappearing at every opportunity. He said later that he had a near panic attack at the beginning of the course, just because of the other people around, and he described walking into the breakfast room with about 5 other people as 'being faced with a room of tigers'.
We've talked to him, but he insists he is 'fine'. He says he is just antisocial and comfortable being that way. His plan is to simply avoid anything that makes him feel uncomfortable. He has a few friends from a previous school, but has made no new friends at a new school this year (which he insists is just because he doesn't like them, not because he's anxious).
We have a family history of depression and anxiety, so I would really love to help him learn some more coping mechanisms and resilience. But he seems so resistant at the moment that I wonder if counselling would actually help, or if he would just argue with the counsellor as he is arguing with us.
What do others think? Any tips on approaches on an anxious walled-off teenager would be very welcome.