Raising a child with Selective Mutism (SM) presents a unique set of challenges for parents. Children with SM battle specific behavioral, social, emotional academic and physical challenges.
Here are specific challenges for parents raising a child with Selective Mutism:
- Overly assertive and/or bossy
- Consistent tantrums and/or frequest crying
- Increased anger
- Tendency to withdrawal
- Tendency to isolate
- Heightened anxiety
- Co-morbid anxiety disorder (Separation Anxiety Disorder, ADHD, etc.)
- Proneness to depression
- Low self-esteem and self-worth
- Decline in academic performance
- Underachieving in the classroom
- Dropping out of school or refusal to attend
- Physical illness
- Higher mortality rate
Here are some simple ways to help a child or teen with Selective Mutism:
- Seek professional help
- Provide structure and predictability
- Seek our calm and quiet environments, especially when you sense your child has heightened levels of anxiety.
- Be firm, but understanding
- Talk to your child about what they are feeling
With professional help, consistent treatment and a positive mindset, parents can be an ally for their child as they work to overcome their mutism and become fully functioning in all social situations.