Sometimes you’d see kids who are very obsessed with doing things to an exacting level of precision or rightness. For these kids its perfection or nothing. Some may say that being perfectionist is a good trait but for children it could be a detriment to their development. Children who exhibit perfectionism at a young age may develop obsessive – compulsive disorders when they grow up, which could then lead to more serious mental disorders. The best thing you can do for your child who is exhibiting perfectionism is to help him or her rein in this obsession.
The best way to address perfectionism is to look behind the reasons for the behavior. Find out what circumstances led to your child developing a perfectionist tendency. One cause for the development of perfectionism is insecurity and a need to prove one’s worth. Neglect from the parents is also another cause because perfectionism is a way of getting the parents’ attention. These are things that need to be addressed first.
Assure your child that it’s okay if some things are not perfectly made or performed. Teach your child to shrug off something that may not have been done to his standards. Be a good example by also showing that in the things you do at the office or at home, it is okay to make mistakes. It is not the end of the world.
Increased socialization with other children can help your child overcome perfectionism. Enroll your child in physical activities like dancing or sports. Interacting with other children will teach your child and make her realize that kids her age should not obsess too much on making things just so.
Creative activities will also help your child conquer her perfectionism. Look for activities that do not have one perfect solution or approach to doing it, like sculpting clay or playing with sand. Finger painting is a perfect activity because it is really up to your child to do what she wants and there’s nothing to compare against. Creative tasks teach children that taking liberties in making something can make the work more creative and original.
Lastly, praise the efforts that your child exercises and not the accomplishments she had made. According to studies, children who are praised for their efforts will develop a more internalized sense of motivation, which will allow them to work harder when they do different tasks.
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