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Silent teen

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Active scribe

Re: Silent teen

Hey guys,

thanks for all your help so far.

We're getting a lot better. Nowadays she'll communicate a little more willingly with actions, and she'll use a few words more often. She doesn't really hold a conversation very easily but she'll laugh sometimes and seems to have some sport friends now. Still hates psychologists, counselors and doctors though.

I tried to get her more involved in something social. She and her Dad were both very active, so I tried to do sports with her. She didn't want to do team sports, but cross country running, pool swimming and mountain biking have become winners.

This however, has introduced another problem. It's not as big of a problem, and her good grades were probably an early indicator of it. She's got an extremely competitive drive inside her, which has definitely come to light since getting her into more organised sporting competitions. She doesn't seem to know when to stop. For example, we had a mountain biking event this weekend just gone. Her 2nd race and she came off, landed badly on her wrist and refused to let myself or the medics look at it, avoiding us until she'd finished all of her racing for the day. She ended up breaking one of her wrist bones and has refused to listen to anything. She even got up at 4AM to ride her bike to school (I told her she couldn't since her arm is literally in a cast). Prior to this, she's ended up throwing up, she's had legs shaking due to cramps or muscles being so sore because she's pushed too hard, I think she possibly caused her own cold a little bit ago from pushing too hard. If I say there isn't training or we have to do something else instead of going for a run or ride, she'll tear off and go on her own regardless of what I say. If she was 16+, I could maybe get passed it, but she's barely 15, and she blows off EVERYTHING for training. She even blew off an awards night at school, nevermind trying to get her out for dinner, the movies or the shops. All of the sports are a problem, there is so much self-imposed competitive pressure, I don't know how to handle it and neither does her swimming coach (we don't have one for running or biking).

I don't entirely understand WHY she puts so much pressure on herself. I've asked, I've suggested reasons, she just says she doesn't know.

Prolific scribe

Re: Silent teen

Hi @danluke_36 , it's really great to hear from you again. I'm glad to hear that your teen is communicating a little more openly now, that must feel like a big win (and a bit of a relief I'd imagine!). 


That's a really tough situation that you've described with your teen's relationship with sport. It sounds like she's really pushing herself to an extreme level, and that she's not necessarily listening to what her body needs despite the fact that it's giving her some very clear signals to slow down. You mentioned that her swimming coach is a bit concerned for her as well, have you two spoken about her competitive drive and how it's affecting her? 


You mentioned that her Dad was quite an active person and that they used to share this in common. I know she's not very open to talking, but have you ever spoken to her about the relationship her and her Dad had with sport? Based on what you've told us about her past, do you think she could be pushing herself because physical activity is something that connects her to him? 


You also mentioned previously that your teen is still not a big fan of seeing a psychologist or the doctor. Is she still seeing anyone regularly? It sounds like she might benefit from exploring these problems surrounding sport with a professional, particularly if she's not able to put her finger on exactly why she's pushing herself so hard. If she's not up for talking with a clinician, how do you think she'd feel about seeking support from a more informal source, like a youth group, your local PCYC or even her sports team? It sounds like sport is really important to her, so perhaps the idea of listening to her body and looking after her physical health as a way of improving her sporting ability might resonate with her. What do you think? 

Active scribe

Re: Silent teen

Yeah, I've spoken to the swim coach a few times now, both with and without her present. She's doing really well, she's making qualifying times for championship meets and there's been a drastic improvement from when she started. We're just worried about injuries and burnout. It doesn't seem to affect her performance or ability to listen and take feedback or make corrections, I think that's because she does understand it's a process and that's where improvement comes from. It seems to just exclusively be an obsession with not stopping.


The only things I get from questions or conversations are "I like winning", "I want to be the best", or "I don't know". Dad sometimes rode his bike with her or ran with her but didn't compete, race or swim.


We're still trying to get her weight up a bit (which goes up so slowly now, despite her easily outeating even me haha)  so we go to the doctor every 3 months, but she won't say a word to them. Her squad also sees a sports psychologist at the start and even of each meet season. Whenever I have an informal conversation at meets with her friends and her about it, her drive seems to just stem from wanting to win so badly. Her squad coach will order her off training, but then she'll just go for an extra run or bike ride. Explaining and trying to educate her about it doesn't seem to change her mind. She also is in a sporting program at her high school so does an extension health and physical education class subject, which goes into different health problems and fostering a positive relationship with sport and exercise.

Prolific scribe

Re: Silent teen

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Hi @danluke_36 

Thank you for your response. It sounds like you've really tried to talk about this with her and get her some support which is so great to hear. It's fantastic that the squad have a sports psychologist they have access to at the start and end of the season. I know she isn't a fan of psychologists, but I'm wondering if it might be an idea to try and organise for her to see the same one more regularly? She may feel more comfortable with that if she already has that relationship with them.


You mentioned that she sees her GP every 3 months, have they been able to advise you around her weight concerns? We have this video about teens and eating disorders that you might like to watch.


We also have a free 1:1 parent and carer coaching service available that you might find useful too. I think you're doing an amazing job considering everything that you're both going through, well done!