Our sons or daughters can be very concerned about doing everything right, but that can generate a lot of anxiety and fear of failure.
We often associate perfectionism with a “good flaw.” When a father says that his son is too perfectionist, he actually does so with a touch of pride, a way of saying that his child does not settle for anything, that he demands a lot of himself. But to what extent is this good? It is true, there are children who are more critical of themselves and have high expectations in their daily tasks . For example, two children may have both obtained a 9 on a test, for one it may be a magnificent mark, but the other may experience it as a misfortune.Because he wanted a 10. That test with such good results in the end becomes a source of anxiety. If this case sounds familiar to you, maybe you should ask yourself if your child might be too much of a perfectionist.
WHY IS MY SON SUCH A PERFECTIONIST?
Children from birth try to please their parents and get their attention . Many get it the wrong way, throwing tantrums or behaving badly, others do it the other way around, they attract their attention by making them feel proud, doing their homework or schoolwork very well. This behavior may seem idyllic to us, however, if it is taken to the extreme it will result in an unhappy child who is not going to enjoy a full childhood , basically because he is missing it.
Parents and teachers often (sometimes unwittingly) encourage this form of behavior. Parents have always been a model for the child, a model to be imitated and also to be liked. On the other hand, parents often project onto their young children certain expectations that they may have wanted for themselves in the past but could not achieve, or perhaps expectations that they would like their children to have. At first it may seem positive, who doesn’t want their child to be the best? You know, smart, hardworking, who speaks 5 languages and also plays the violin beautifully. However, since we are not all the same, we have to learn that what we believe is best for the child does not have to be in real life.We have to know the limits of our children and demand them based on them so as not to cause anxiety. It is also important to value other things and not just the results of the tasks.
Remember that a child who is too perfectionist is a child who will never be happy at all because he will always feel anxiety when things do not go his way and he takes it all personally. For example, if a test gets a lower grade than they think they deserve, the perfectionist child instead of thinking “it was too difficult” or “next time I’ll do better”, he thinks “I look stupid”, “I’m a mess” or things like that . Perfectionist adults still differentiate when it is or is not the fault of oneself, but children have not yet acquired that filter.
HOW CAN I HELP A PERFECTIONIST CHILD?
1. Reflect on your attitude
As its main role model, it values the way you have to face failure. If, for example, your child sees you lamenting in an exaggerated way for a mistake you have made (“How could I possibly have done this? It’s horrible! I’m going to be fired!”), Rest assured that he will tend to do the same. You are transmitting negativity and anxiety. Also be aware that this way of thinking is not healthy for you either.
2. Don’t minimize or maximize your successes
If your son is too perfectionist you should lower your level of demand towards him. For example, if the child gives you the marks excited because he has obtained 2 A’s, celebrate it and do not make false compliments of the style: “Yes yes, Very Good in Language, but you only have Good in Mathematics”. There is nothing that lowers self-esteem more than cover an achievement with a new demand. More than assessing the results, you have to assess the effort you have made. It is vital that children learn that parents love them unconditionally and that these feelings will not change, regardless of the note they put in their newsletters.
On the other hand, it is not good for you to exaggerate their achievements or talents because the child will learn that part of your affection comes because they are good at “X” and it can lead to them depending on the attention you give them when they are successful. They must want to be successful not so much because of what you tell them but so that they themselves feel proud and good of what they do.
3. Teach him to fail
Everybody fails from time to time and this does not mean that the world ends. Explain that the important thing is that he has made an effort and has made him want to but that it will not be worse for having failed because we cannot control everything and we cannot always get away with it. If your children accept failure, in the end they will end up valuing their achievements more.
To do this, you can play different games with him and let him win or lose in more or less equal parts, so that he sees that nothing happens if he does not win the game, and even that it can be fun. The attitude that you have towards the game will also influence it. That is, if you see how angry you are for losing in a game, do not expect your child to have a good loss overnight.
4. Avoid comparisons
Never compare your child with the neighbor’s brother, neighbor or cousin … Even if you do it with the best of intentions because you want to convey the message of: “try harder” he will only get the one from ” they are better than you. ” Nobody likes to be compared to others.
5. First of all, communication
Explain that they can count on your help if they ever have a problem or feel distressed, in language adapted to their age, of course. Above all, let him know that you are there to support him and that your love for him is unconditional, that it does not depend on his achievements , nor that you will love him less for not meeting your expectations. Remember, respect for yourself and others is the key for children to grow up psychologically healthy.
Dr. Tabriella Perivolaris, Sara's mother and fan of fashion, beauty, motherhood, among others, about the female universe. Since 2018 she has been working as a copywriter, always bringing to her articles a little of her experience and experience as a mother and woman.