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Obsessive, Competitive teenager

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Casual scribe

Obsessive, Competitive teenager

I have a 13yo daughter that I'm starting to get a little bit concerned about. She is competitive, obsessive, stubborn and quite the risk taker, and while these traits have lead to her being a very intrinsically driven individual,  she is starting to overdo it and create problems for herself. She runs cross country, but we live on a property in Central QLD so she doesn't have access to a sports coach or team etc, and neither her father nor I ever did formalised, structured or competitive sports so we've got no idea what we're doing. Instead, she chooses her own running/strength workout from a pretty hefty database she has made up/collected from events and training camps. She sees other kids on Fridays for a sports club afternoon during school term and sometimes stays over/kids stay over here on the weekends, so she isn't short on social time (she refuses to go to a boarding school, which is what most kids her age do out here).

The issue now is that this kid literally won't take a break. She'll go for a run/workout 2-3 times a day, everyday of the week. I don't know how to control her. I tell or ask her to not go out, we've explained overtraining to her, we've explained that if she's sore, she needs to rest, we've showed her videos. I know she's at an age where they start to rebel and do the opposite of what you tell them. But I'm seriously concerned she's going to hurt herself. I've tried to ask her why she won't break. She just says that she doesn't want to, or that she wants to be good, or it feels wrong to miss a session. I know I should be happy that she's not a kid that's stuck inside doing nothing, but she is becoming overly obsessive with it. I'm not sure what to do with her.

Is there someone I should see? Should I take her to see? Or should I just be putting my foot down and saying no and don't allow any other option? Should we just try to fill up her day so that there isn't time to train on some days? We could literally take her for a roadtrip on the weekend and she'll still find a way to get two runs in somewhere. Her father has tried getting her to write a weekly training plan and slowly cutting back on how much she runs, but she won't hear about it (she can be very stubborn). This probably sounds like a sports problem but I think it's more a coming of age and her learning to manage her expectations and limitations, but I don't know how to help her figure them out before she hurts herself.


Re: Obsessive, Competitive teenager

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Hi @KR5555 , welcome to the forums - we really appreciate you sharing your situation with us! You sound like such a caring and supportive parent seeking ideas for how to help your daughter manage her training behaviours, to keep her safe from any harmful impacts it could have on her physical and mental health and well-being. It sounds like you have tried a lot of strategies to help your daughter get a handle on things so far. I imagine it has been quite worrying and confusing to know what to do next. 

Sometimes when teens face challenges with over-exercising, this can be accompanied by challenges with things like eating behaviours, body image and self-esteem. Have you noticed any other behaviour changes that have coincided with the running program she has created? 

To answer your question about whether there is someone you should take your daughter to see, it might be a good idea to consult a GP about the concerns you are having for her physical and psychological well-being. It might be a good starting point, and you can take things from there. Is this something you would feel comfortable looking into? 

I am also curious as to whether there is a health/sports teacher at your daughter’s school? One who you might be able to connect with, who could support your daughter to understand safe training habits or encourage a training schedule, like the one your husband suggested? 

I thought it was also worth mentioning that we have a free, one-on-one parent coaching service available to you if you are interested in getting some more personalised support from a parent coach. 

Thanks again for sharing your situation with us Smiley Happy

Casual scribe

Re: Obsessive, Competitive teenager

No, there hasn't been any other behavioural changes, she's still keen to help with chores, happily has second servings at mealtimes, there's no secretiveness around eating and she doesn't really have social media.

She fractured her ankle at the start of the year (maybe February?), tripping on a run. I only found out when i noticed the bruising when she went swimming (she wore socks otherwise) and took her to a GP then. They talked to her about overtraining but I'm not sure it really had much of an affect at all. Is there something else they can do? Our closest GP is a few hours away, but I'm happy to take her (she probably won't be happy to go).

She has a health teacher (she is distance ed), and he has tried to encourage a few rest days etc., gone through what healthy exercise and activity is, but again, she just ignores it all (she can be very stubborn once she's got an idea in her head).
My laptop doesn't have a microphone or webcam, is it possible to engage with someone via a chat situation?

Super frequent scribe

Re: Obsessive, Competitive teenager

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Hi @KR5555 and thanks for the update.

Your daughter does sound very committed to maintaining her exercise routine, and I understand your concern for her. Consulting with a GP would be a good starting point to see if accessing a mental health care plan could be a potential option for her. Given that you're out of the city, are you able to access your GP via telehealth?

Let us come back to you about possible alternative ways for you to be able to access the one-on-one parent coaching service, in the interim, if you would like to access some free over the phone counselling support, Parentline are a really good resource.

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