“Helping our Children with Perfectionism”
No doubt, there are times when you really do need to sweat the small stuff. When being perfect is important and making sure every detail has been checked and double checked. It’s an important skill to be able to focus to that level and create or perform something that is, for the most part, flawless.
However, for our children’s activities, grades, performances and even behaviors, perfect performance should not always be the goal. We want our children to try their best. We want them to give their best when studying, playing sports, socializing with friends. We want them to be aware of what they are doing and how they are performing. How they are treating others.
What we don’t want, is for them to feel so stressed about being perfect that they loose sight of what is really important. That they did their best. That they gave their best effort and that they treated others well. Perfectionism can hinder performance and can certainly effect confidence.
When someone is afraid to make a mistake or fear that they won’t be the best, the result it is often an attitude of, why try? I’ve seen it so many times over the years. A child fails in a competition and chooses to not compete again. They make a poor grade in a subject and decide they aren’t good at that and give up trying to improve. Or they feel for whatever reason they can’t please us as parents, and adopt an attitude of, “Why bother trying?”
I find it important for us as the parents to help our children understand that doing your very best is much more important than being the best. If you try your best and end up at the top, wonderful! If you try your best and end up at the bottom, there is no shame in that. Learning to learn is an important life skill. Everything worthwhile, things that make us grow and learn, takes effort.
This is what we want our children to understand. Do your best, learn from your mistakes, do better next time, but don’t quit. Don’t give in to the fallacy that if I’m not perfect, I’m not good. We all know this to be true. You can do 999 things right but the one thing you did wrong is what burns a whole in you brain at night. Let’s help our children overcome this at an early age.
Be the support coach your children need. Support, encourage, accept. Help them understand none of us are perfect. None of us can possibly be perfect at everything. And if that is the only reason to do something, we’ve missed the point of living and enjoying life entirely.
From a reformed perfectionist who has learned to laugh at herself and to accept herself, flaws and all;
Master Mom – Amanda Olson