The high cost of the pressure to be perfect

What’s wrong with perfectionism? Everything! Here are the causes and consequences of perfectionism—plus a few suggestions for potential “cures.”

Some young people continually strive for excellence, trying to do their best, willing to make mistakes and learn from them, and take on challenges to grow their interests. Others chase perfection, setting unrealistic goals for themselves, and being more concerned with looking smart and “getting it right.” Although the behaviors may look similar, there is a huge difference in the destructive outcomes and risks perfectionistic children can face.

We’ll look at what perfectionism is, where it comes from, and the corrosive effect it can have on kids’ bodies, mental health, achievement, and friendships. We’ll also examine the distorted beliefs behind the idea that “I need to be perfect to be loved” and how those notions develop. We will also explore what we—the significant adults in their lives—can do to counter those messages, or stop them from developing in the first place!

This presentation includes ideas to help kids learn to to set reasonable and achievable goals, understand the value of making mistakes, and rebound and learn from failure. See effective ways to help kids get past difficulty with starting or finishing projects, as well as self-limitations that keep them stuck in an artificial comfort zone.

Topics include fear and the need for acceptance and belonging, “stinking thinking” and media messages that can distort our sense of what is relevant or real, and the power of the Inner Critic. Includes practical strategies for helping kids appreciate the value of authenticity and wholeness, seeking confidence, self-fulfillment, and happiness instead of perfection.

Great ideas for educators, counselors, therapists, medical and mental health personnel, and parents to explore, regardless of the age of the child. Applicable to a wide range of abilities from overachievers to talented underachievers. (A good tie-in for topics explored in Dr. Bluestein’s presentation in The Win-Win Classroom and a number of programs for parents.)

Related information:

Book: The Perfection Deception: Why Trying to Be Perfect is Sabotaging Your Relationships, Making You Sick, and Holding Your Happiness Hostage. 

Perfectionism vs. the Healthy Pursuit of Excellence.

Podcast: Perfectionism with Dr. Miriam Adderholdt.

Information about Dr. Bluestein:

© 2016, Dr. Jane Bluestein

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