Perfectionist Problems – 5 Ways You Can Help a Child Struggling with Perfectionism
How can you approach a child who dedicates too much to their education or points of focus? It might feel as though every strategy you use to soothe that unhealthy level of perfectionism only increases the obsession. Here are five ways you can help a child struggling with perfectionism:
- Get Academic Support To Act As A Reality Check
Academic support can help a learner gain a greater sense of control over their academic progress. A professional online tutor can make learning easier and less stressful, providing guidance and playing a vital role in the learner’s mental health.
Having a skilled adult guiding them through the learning process enables the child to assume a child-like role and let go of control. In situations where youngsters feel the need to put in more time and energy than is necessary or healthy, adults need to find a way to take away some of the responsibility to alleviate stress.
- Establish Personal Value Elsewhere
Perfectionism sometimes stems from a lack of confidence and a child’s need to identify personal value for themselves. Starting a hobby can broaden the child’s horizons and help them explore new talents and find value elsewhere, outside of the obsession.
It might feel like encouragement and support only make perfectionism worse, but criticism achieves the same. Remaining neutral and gently encouraging other activities is often the most effective approach for parents to take when handling this tricky situation.
- Reduce The Anxiety
Anxiety is a fear of the future, and perfectionism is a form of OCD that goes hand in hand with anxiety. Anxiety doesn’t always present in the same way, and many people fail to recognize that perfectionism is a desire to control a situation in order to feel safe. For many kids, the outlet for anxiety lies in their academic studies.
Find ways to reduce anxiety levels and establish a feeling of safety in the home and in the child’s general life. Routine remains the most important way to ensure there are parameters of safety and predictability. A regular bedtime, an order of daily events, regular family mealtimes, and discipline structures help to create a good routine.
- Provide Time Away From “Work”
Cultivate hobbies and interests outside of academics so that an element of fun is introduced. Sports are great because exercise is an outlet for energetic overcharge in the body, which causes anxiety. A flood of feel-good hormones and endorphins will refresh the body and give the brain a good supply of oxygenated blood.
Music and art are also fantastic hobbies to consider. With a physical outlet for their stress, the next time your child sits down to work, studying should be easier and less stressful. The need for rigid self-control should hopefully be diminished. It also sends an important message: life is better with balance.
- Consider Professional Mental Health Support
Mental health support can ease the anxiety that lurks beneath perfectionism, helping a child to keep a healthy balance when it comes to work and play. Getting to the bottom of the anxiety will help them going forward, but you must make sure you find a therapist who’s a good fit for your child.
If your child is suffering because of their impossibly high standards, then it’s time to start taking steps to support their mental health. The idea isn’t to stop their drive to perform well. Rather, you want to help them move past the damaging aspects of their perfectionism while holding onto the helpful aspects. This way, it can become a secret weapon that helps them rather than harming them.