A Perfectionist Child And What To Do About It

Possibly you’ve overheard a parent exclaim, “My son was up all night working on his science fair project. There is a bit of an obsession with detail in him! Parents who view perfectionism as a badge of honor are frequently unaware of the seriousness of the problem. In this article, learn more about a perfectionist child and what you can do about it.

Perfectionists can be a challenge to raise, aren’t you aware? Some of the behaviors you might see in a budding perfectionist include torn papers, late nights, and sobbing bouts.

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Perfectionism harms children’s lives, whether they have meltdowns when making a mistake on the sports field or spend hours every day attempting to capture the perfect selfie. And it can have long-term implications if left unchecked.

What Exactly Is “Perfectionism”?

High self-esteem is a healthy trait for children to cultivate. It’s impossible to be satisfied with your performance if you demand perfection.

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People who strive for perfection often set themselves up for failure. After that, they put a lot of pressure on themselves to achieve their ambitions. It’s either everything or nothing for them. Perfectionists label their efforts as a failure when they don’t meet their expectations. It doesn’t matter if they got 99 instead of 100 on a math test or missed one out of ten free throws.

Even when they achieve success, they find it difficult to enjoy it. In many cases, people attribute their accomplishment to a stroke of luck and fear that they will never be able to repeat their luck or attain the same degree of success again.

Different Types of Perfection.

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According to some psychologists, it’s conceivable to be an adaptive perfectionist, which means that a child’s exaggerated expectations may prove useful later in life. Others contend that true perfectionism is always dangerous.

Perfectionism can be classified into three forms, according to the findings of researchers:

  • Setting unrealistic criteria for others is a hallmark of other-oriented perfectionists.
  • Idealistic perfectionists: Expect too much of themselves.
  • They believe others, such as their parents or coaches, have unrealistic expectations because they are socially mandated perfectionists.

Children’s well-being can be harmed by any or all of the three sorts of perfection.


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Your child’s age and the sort of perfectionism they are experiencing will determine which warning signs of perfectionism you should look out for. However, in general, the following are indicators of perfectionism:

  • Because the work is never “good enough,” students struggle to finish assignments.
  • Failure is a source of great stress for many people.
  • The ability to take criticism in stride
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  • Low tolerance for getting angry at oneself when one makes a mistake
  • As a way to avoid tough jobs, procrastination
  • Overly critical of oneself, prone to embarrassment easily.
  • Making decisions or prioritizing work can be difficult for you.
  • A person who is extremely judgmental of others.

Factors of Concern

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Scientists believe that various variables may influence children’s tendency toward perfectionism.

  • Academic pressures: Students may fear that their chances of getting into a reputable university would be harmed if they don’t have a perfect grade point average or test score. Others are striving to be the best they can be to secure scholarships. In the face of these academic expectations, individuals may believe they must be flawless to succeed.
  • According to research, mental problems like obsessive-compulsive disorder and eating disorders have been linked to perfectionism. This suggests that perfectionism may have a biological basis.
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  • Children’s desire to be liked and admired can manifest in various ways. There are several reasons for this, including a desire to alleviate a parent’s stress or because it is the only way a child knows how to garner their attention.
  • If a child has low self-esteem, they may believe that they are only as good as their accomplishments. On the other hand, perfectionists are prone to dwelling on their flaws and overlooking their successes, which leaves them never satisfied with their own worth.
  • Mistakes are terrible if you praise your child for being the smartest kid in the entire school or for completing every gymnastics landing. They may believe that they must succeed at any cost.
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  • Parental perfectionism is associated with a greater likelihood of raising children who are themselves, perfectionists. If a youngster sees their parents striving for perfection, they may pick up on this trait from their parents, but it could also be an inherited trait.
  • Success and failure are typically sensationalized in the media, from professional athletes to pop stars. On the other hand, other media stories sensationalize how a single mistake may turn someone into a total failure. These stories may influence young kids to believe that they must be perfect in whatever they do.
  • Trauma: Children who have experienced trauma may believe that they are unloved or that they will only be accepted if they are perfect in the eyes of the outside world.

Potential Risks of a Pursuit of Excellence

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Your child will not succeed if you are a stickler for details. Perfectionism may do more harm than good.

  • Some perfectionists are hindered by their fear of making a mistake. They are afraid to take risks because they apprehend failure.
  • It is common for children who strive for perfection to hide their inner turmoil. As a result, many suffer silently when they encounter difficulties on the outside.
  • Stress levels are higher in people who strive for perfection. People who strive for perfection are always worried about making a mistake. Stress can harm a person’s mental and physical health.
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  • The pursuit of perfection might cause mental health issues. Those who are perfectionists may be more susceptible to mental health concerns such as sadness and anxiety.

Perfectionism: A Guide for Overcoming It

Perfectionist tendencies can be helped in numerous ways by parents.

  • Encourage a positive self-image in your youngster. Make sure your child participates in things that make them feel good about who they are as a person, not just what they have done. Encouragement One method to improve your child’s self-esteem is to get them involved in activities like volunteering, learning something new, or creating art.
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  • Encourage your child to distinguish between what they have control over and what they don’t have control over. To help your child achieve their goals, make it obvious that they cannot control many of the conditions that influence achievement, such as how hard the instructor makes tests or how well their peers perform. Their endeavor is still in their hands.
  • Think positively about yourself. Self-compassion rather than self-criticism should be taught to your child. Talk to yourself aloud to demonstrate to your child that you are kind to yourself even when you make a mistake. Use phrases like, “I forgot to get to the bank before they closed today.” or, “I didn’t pay enough attention to the stove, and now my food is burnt.” “I’ll find something different for us to eat and pay attention to what I’m doing while preparing it for us.”
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  • Keep a close eye on your goals. Keep an eye on your child’s stress level. Be realistic, but also set high expectations for yourself. And keep an eye on your expectations over time to ensure you’re not expecting too much from your youngster. It’s possible that you’re expecting too much from your child if they don’t fulfill your standards or want to give up on you.
  • Instead of praising your child’s success, focus on their effort. Do not congratulate your youngster on achieving a perfect English-language spelling test score. Instead of praising them for their efforts, instead, compliment them. Also, compliment them for being a good friend or kind to others. Remind your child that success isn’t the most important aspect of a successful life.
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  • Decide on a reasonable course of action together. Talk to your youngster about the things they aspire to do in life. Educate them on the pitfalls of establishing goals that are too high if perfection is required, and work with them to develop more doable targets.
  • Share your failures with others. Remind your youngster of your human frailties. A good story is a moment when you didn’t get a job or failed a test. Explain how you overcame your failure.
  • Teach people how to cope with stress healthily. Failure is unpleasant, but it’s not insurmountable. To help them cope with disappointment, teach your child how to accept rejection and learn from mistakes. Coping strategies such as talking to a friend, writing in a journal, or sketching a picture could be helpful for them.

The Right Time to Call in a Professional

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Keep an eye out for signals that your child’s perfectionism is interfering with their ability to interact socially. Children who are obsessed with grades or become depressed when they don’t achieve an A in class, for example, may need professional counseling if their child refuses to interact with others because of social anxiety.

Another clue that your child may benefit from a mental health expert is if they are struggling in school. Professional assistance may be required if your child cannot complete projects because they believe their work is inadequate or if they rip up papers when they make mistakes.

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Consult your child’s primary care physician if you have concerns that your youngster is a perfectionist. Discuss the indications you’re noticing and explain how they affect your child’s daily life.

Your child’s doctor may suggest that a mental health specialist evaluate them. If your child suffers from anxiety and perfectionism, they may benefit from counseling.

Meaningful articles you might like: How to Raise Critical Thinkers, Teens May Respond to Peer Counseling in Ways Adults Don’t, 6 Ways To Help Children Develop A Positive Self-Image In The Early Years