Kids who seek perfection often feel anxious, angry, or upset about their mistakes and miscalculations. They may be easily thwarted, give up too quickly, or even become overly cautious. Here’s how to help your child approach all her endeavors—happily and minus the self-imposed pressure.
- Choose your words wisely. Let your child know it’s great when he’s done his best but, at the same time, remind him he doesn’t have to be “the best” at anything. Avoid using terms like “perfect” and “brilliant.” They make kids feel they have too much to live up to.
- Provide perspective. Be sure your child knows that being “very, very good” at something she enjoys is really pretty awesome. Point out that she can learn from mistakes as she figures out how to fix them. Use an astronaut, an athlete, or someone she admires as an example.
- Share your story. Model a positive attitude and a healthy outlook about all your child’s achievements—without over-investing in their importance. Discuss setbacks you’ve faced and errors you’ve made, but avoid berating yourself for making them.
- Encourage, don’t pressure. Let your child know its okay to set goals and try to achieve them. Don’t make a big deal over good grades, tests, perfect assessments, or A’s in general. Seek professional help if your child is prone to excessive worry, or if he is so hard on himself that it hinders learning.