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’09 TAGT: Parent Perspective “Letting Go of Perfect”

December 30, 2009

Comments by Amanda O’Neal

Thoughts from….
Using Perfectionism in Healthy Ways
Dr. Hope Wilson of Stephen F. Austin State University

Recommended reading: Letting Go of Perfect

Consider the amount of completed work vs the quality

Healthy perfectionism: healthy yet realistic standards, gains pleasure from hard tasks, capable of choosing to relax standards, motivation based on personal standards, mastery-oriented

Benefits: improvement through practice, goal setting, pleasure

Perfectionists have more positive peer relationships, pride, and overall satisfaction.

If unhealthy, has numerous negative effects such as procrastination, underachievement, and lower self esteem. Unhealthy perfectionism tends to increase over time.

Strategies for home: deemphasize grades, celebrate learning and growth, be an example in your mistakes, books and movies to illustrate flawed protagonists, and finding off-peak times to talk to your kids about it, help children prioritize, encourage children to understand their own limitations, emphasize enjoyment over perfection, encourage intellectual risk taking, adopt activities that are fun but not an area of strength, help children make a plan for finishing long-term assignments, communicate regularly with your child’s teacher.

Strategies for the crisis moment:
-Help them calm down (nap, music, hug)
-Help them make a plan and cope (what they would have done vs what is now realistic)
-Don’t jump in and rescue
-Keep them focused on the immediate work
-When done, help them identify areas of pride
-Don’t let them lose sleep over it. Bed time is the cut-off.

Discussions to have:
-Difference between healthy and unhealthy perfectionism
-Teachable moments
-Goal setting

Dealing with homework:
-Quiet place for homework
-Dedicated time
-Being available for support
-Be an example by working on your own projects
-Communicate with the teacher
-Helping child recognize that homework is only practice

Axe ‘em Jacks!

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