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What do you do with a perfectionist?

My daughter is a perfectionist. She will get upset if doesn't get an a, or can't be good at a sport immediately. What do I do? She always has to be the best. I tell her you only have to be the best you and don't compare yourself to others. What does mom know.....nothing


Asked by ventingmom at 3:58 PM on Jan. 30, 2011 in Teens (13-17)

Level 10 (390 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (12)
  • I feel your pain! My youngest daughter freaks when she doesn't get A+s, the part in the drama club she thinks is best, perfect performance in the sport she's participating in. We tell her constantly how special she is. She is gorgeous, too, and we always tell her what makes her beautiful and priceless is her heart, her spirit. You just have to keep enforcing the things that make her unique. We tell her expect your best, not someone else's. If you think you can do better, than do better. If it is your best, be proud! We make a really big deal out of the mediocre things (what is mediocre for her is excellent for most everyone else) to give her some balance. We also have her try things we know she's not great at to give her perspective. It helps. But perfectionism is for life, so you need to give her the tools she will need to deal with it: balance, persepective, self esteem, self worth. Good luck!

    Answer by derosia_mama at 10:58 AM on Feb. 1, 2011

  • Try therapy, she might be borderline ocd.

    Answer by twinsplus2more at 5:19 PM on Jan. 30, 2011

  • I go through the same thing with my oldest girl. (12) she got lots of b's one c and like 5 a's but missed the honor roll. she was in tears. I have her in talk therapy. I told her all we expect her to do is her best even if she passes subjects with 70%. she only missed honor roll by few points. I never had honor roll. My youngest is so close.

    Answer by diamondsarecool at 10:04 PM on Jan. 30, 2011

  • my oldest daughter also has a specific learning delay disability and is in specialized education program at school. I was overly excited when she got honor roll the first time. my husband thinks I made too much of a big deal about it. now she feels like a failure. :( I even complimented her on her grades this semester.

    Answer by diamondsarecool at 10:08 PM on Jan. 30, 2011

  • Make sure she knows that she is not a failure if she fails or isn't perfect at something. Point out mistakes that you have made, let her know that no one is perfect.

    Answer by parajumper3 at 5:55 PM on Jan. 31, 2011

  • We have tried therapy and she does not have ocd. But thanks for your answer.

    Comment by ventingmom (original poster) at 8:17 PM on Jan. 30, 2011

  • In my house I have a saying that we are all perfectly imperfect. I repeat it almost every day. The therapist says don't praise in general for eg, you are so smart. always praise the act. eg. I am really proud of the science paper you did. WE are working on his with no results so far. My daughter is still a perfectionist.

    Comment by ventingmom (original poster) at 8:40 AM on Jan. 31, 2011

  • Honestly there's not much you can do just continue to support her. Let her know that you understand how it upsets her, but you wish she could see what she see's an awesome young lady who always gives 100% which is more that most kids that age give...good-luck

    Answer by ramita at 2:33 PM on Jan. 31, 2011

  • That's a problem she might have to overcome on her own unfortunately... Life will never be perfect, therefore, she'll never be satisfyed. Just let her know that it's probably 95% of her stress issues. The only way to cure this is to live, learn, and accept.

    Answer by ChelseATX at 5:01 PM on Jan. 31, 2011

  • Try to get her involved where the experience is what matters, not the end result. Things like hiking as a family, enjoying spending time together.
    Does she do any volunteering? If she gets some perspective about how others live and how her standards compare, she might ease up on herself. Remind her how fortunate she is, and see if you can get involved with clothing drives, food drives, making care packs for the troops, sponsored walks or runs.
    Good luck!

    Answer by RedRowan at 4:40 PM on Feb. 1, 2011