My 16-year-old daughter, who otherwise is doing great at school, straight A’s, teachers are very happy with her, has a great group of friends, enjoys their company, goes to movies, birthday parties etc with them, but she occasionally will tell me that she feels somewhat awkward at times, little anxious around crowds, somewhat not confident enough, although she doesn’t look that way, she has always been shy, but her shyness has never been a problem with her participation. She however hates physical activity. She is very bright. Volunteers and takes pride in it. Also has 2 younger brothers and feels annoyed with them often. She is a great kid, but it’s very hard for us to have her try new things unless she wants, participates in several school clubs. As a parent should I be concerned? Her father is an extremely ambitious, driven man and she gets a bit anxious around him. Although he never forces his opinion on her, but he comes across as a little pushy. We are in couples counseling to make our marriage a bit better. Please suggest some options of how we can help her, or should we just be there for her to listen to her concerns and let her find her passion?
From what you describe here, it doesn’t really sound like there is a serious problem, except that your daughter may not be as active as you hope. It sounds like she is a pretty well-rounded adolescent who is doing well in school, volunteers and has a group of friends. It’s not always a good thing for adolescents to be overly involved in too many activities because something will have to give, be it grades, sleep, peers or family time.
Since you and your husband are in therapy, it would be easy to ask her if she would like to see someone too in order to work on her confidence and social anxiety, but it honestly doesn’t sound like it’s holding her back all that much. I think the choice should be hers at this point. Otherwise, yes, just be there for her and allow her to blossom.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts