Perfectionism is a rampant problem among today’s youth, especially young athletes. And, while having perfect standards may seem like a good thing, it’s actually detrimental to a child’s wellbeing.
Children who are perfectionists put far too much pressure on themselves, in sports and in everything. This can ultimately cause them to have a breakdown. Even if it doesn’t, it makes their lives stressful and difficult.
So, how can you know if your child is a perfectionist? To start with, you can look for these warning signs:
l Your child gets irrationally angry when he makes a mistake
l Your child has anxiety over making mistakes
l Your child doesn’t like to try new things since he won’t be able to do them perfectly
l Your child procrastinates
l Your child is fearful of embarrassment
l Your child gets frustrated easily and tends to give up quickly
Dealing with Your Perfectionist Child
If you determine that your child is a perfectionist, sit down and have a serious conversation with him. If the child is old enough to understand, you can clearly and honestly explain that your child is a perfectionist and that he is holding himself to unrealistic standards. Together, talk about ways to address this problem, such as having your child write “reminders” to himself that he doesn’t have to be perfect.
A lot of people are fearful of putting their children in counseling, often due to stigma surrounding counseling.
However, counseling can do a world of good for your child. Professionals know how to equip your child with tools to deal with and overcome his perfectionism and the high pressure that comes with it.
Regardless of how you choose to address your child’s perfectionism, make sure you do address it. Also, do your part by encouraging your child daily and making it clear that your love for him is unconditional and not based on performance.