What parents need to know about perfectionist kids

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Perfectionist kids are made, not born. Read this to find out how children acquire perfectionist tendencies and what you can do to help them overcome it.

src=http://ph.theasianparent.com/wp content/uploads/2014/10/child.jpg What parents need to know about perfectionist kids

What parents need to know about perfectionist kids

Is your child always unsatisfied with a drawing or an artwork that he did even if it looks okay? Does it take him a while to be satisfied with a project and to declare it finished? Is he easily frustrated about trying new activities that look extra challenging to him?

If you answered yes to these questions, then you might be raising one of many perfectionist kids, says psychologist Raphael O. Inocencio. A founding partner at Better Steps Psychology in Pasig City, Inocencio emphasizes that perfectionism is a learned behavior. He says that no child is born a perfectionist, and that one's perfectionism does not develop overnight.

src=http://ph.theasianparent.com/wp content/uploads/2014/10/child3.jpg What parents need to know about perfectionist kids

Take note, moms and dads, harsh and critical parenting is considered to be the major contributing factor to a person’s perfectionism. 

“When children are exposed to extreme standards in exchange for their parents’ approval, the children might be receiving the message that they are only good enough when they produce perfect work. When parents become overcritical of their children’s performance and consistently demand a high level of performance, they may be teaching their children that [self-worth is tied to one's ability to be perfect]," Inocencio explains.

It is important, however, to differentiate between perfectionism and a quest for excellence. Inocencio points out that in perfectionism, there is a serious drive to get something perfectly right, whereas a genuine striving for excellence will manifest as a real motivation to do well.

“Perfectionists generally either start with ambitious plans and not follow through with them or not start plans at all for fear of the potential for failure. Take note that it isn’t a fear of failure but a fear of the potential for failure,” he clarifies.

src=http://ph.theasianparent.com/wp content/uploads/2014/10/child2.jpg What parents need to know about perfectionist kids

Is it bad, then, for a child to always want things to be just right and flawless? The answer is yes, according to Inocencio. If not managed properly, many perfectionist children may encounter problems in school and in their social functioning. A child may also develop anxiety and become more reclusive and wary of his environment.

So, parents, don’t be too hard on your kids. Let them enjoy their childhood. Inocencio advises moms and dads to always have an open and non-critical way of communicating with their youngsters.

“Talk about your expectations with your children and level with them about what you think they are capable of. Support and encourage them. Show them that your love for them is not contingent on their performance.”

Be observant.  If the perfectionism is already hampering your child’s productivity and making him overly anxious, seek help from a therapist.

If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below.
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