3. Provide opportunities to try out new things
Perfectionists are often “risk evaders,” who fear trying something new, in the event that they are not immediately and effortlessly good at it. Offer your child many opportunities to try new activities, sports, and projects without the pressure of having to be good at them right away.
4. Encourage practice
Whether it is math problems or a new piano piece, emphasize to your child that practice is the best way to become good at something. Gifted and perfectionistic kids benefit from realizing that they do not have to excel at something right out of the starting gate and that practicing skills is not a sign of weakness, but rather a path toward excellence.
5. Celebrate mistakes
That’s right. My daughter looks at me like I’m a nut when I do this, but I make a big deal out of my own mistakes, letting her know that it is only through making errors that I have had the opportunity to learn and grow. One of the best activities she and I ever did together was searching the internet for facts and figures on how often Babe Ruth struck out. Yes, even the home run king made very public errors in front of huge crowds. For my little baseball fan, if the Babe can mess up and still be a champion, so can she!
6. Idealize improvement
When my daughter’s karate teacher wanted to promote her to the next level in her class, she was hesitant. She couched her resistance cleverly, telling me that she didn’t want to move up because the kids in the more advanced group were so much bigger than she was. Ever the protective and safety-conscious mom, I went along initially. With additional thought and careful consideration, however, it became clear to me that her fear in advancing was not about size, but rather about not being good enough. With the growth mindset in our heads, her sensei and I joined forces to champion the improvements she made each day in the advanced class and to make incremental accomplishments more important than instant goal achievement.
7. Praise hard work and effort
Probably the most valuable lesson I have taken from my research on gifted and perfectionistic children is to focus my praise on my daughter’s hard work, efforts, and persistence rather than on outcomes, scores and results. Now, instead of responding just to the straight A’s on her report card, I compliment her specifically on the hard work she showed throughout the marking period to achieve her goals.
image credit: http://dda-direct.com/goi/smart%20children.html
By Signe Whitson, LSW. As a child therapist and mom of two girls, she is able to pull from her experience to provide practical advice to parents. Her blog is Passive Aggressive Diaries and she is co-author of the book “The Angry Smile: The Psychology of Passive Aggressive Behavior in Families Schools, and Workplaces.” She has partnered with My Baby Clothes, who gives back to parents by providing what they want for their little angels: Tutus with matching baby headbands, unique baby clothes and even adorable baby hats to keep your newborns warm.
- 7 Ways to Nurture Your Gifted Child Part 1
- On the Receiving End
- Is a Magnet School the Right School for Your Child?
- When the Child Isn’t Average
- Respect & support can work both ways
Tags: gifted children