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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sigh. Posting on this board because I thought some of you may have faced similar levels of perfectionism and have some advice.<br>
DD is just so aware of what she can't do atm, it's almost paralysing her. It's not focussed on one particular skill or another, it's everything. I think part of it is that she perceives so clearly what the adult skill level is. She even asked yesterday "Why do I <i>only</i> do demi-plies in ballet?" (as opposed to full ones). Well a)"demi-plie" is actually a movement in it's own right but I can see how she would think it's only a children's version and b) her baby ballet class doesn't actually officially call them that yet, they pretend to be farmer's bending down to pick something up or whatever the role play is that week.<br>
I feel like I need a whole new set of tools to negotiate this and I don't even know how to find the catalogue of the tool shop <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br>
What have you done to help your children work through/face/live with their perfectionist tendencies?<br>
Does anyone have reading suggestions for me?
 

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Try the book Mindset by Dweck. It's not too early to start. Also you could talk to her about the 10-year rule. <a href="http://www.mtavalanche.org/useruploads/documents/20071117172260.THE%2010%20YEAR%20RULE.pdf" target="_blank">http://www.mtavalanche.org/useruploa...EAR%20RULE.pdf</a>
 

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We've dealt with this one too. What's helped us is to just keep reminding him that he's a child and childhood is for learning things so kids aren't supposed to be at adult levels yet. Also, it helps to keep reminding the children of all the things they have learned, to say, "don't you remember when you didn't know how to x,y,z and now look where you are?" Using a smart kid's superior long term memory and conceptual abilities to get out of being too perfectionistic is grand.<br><br>
I also think we shouldn't discount how we as parents might contribute to perfectionism too. So when we remind our child that childhood is for learning, not mastery, that is a reminder to us as well. I think parents who are proud of their child's accomplishments and earlier than average mastery can send the wrong message that accomplishing and being the 'best' is paramount. When a child internalizes this they can freeze. I think it is in everybody's best interest to 'learn' how to be bad at something, to realize that the first step to learning anything is to admit ignorance. The most successful people had early failures that they had to persevere through, but which made them stronger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Forgive me, but from the website the book seems a bit gimmicky to me. I checked out a few of the articles linked as well and well, we don't actually use praise at all. Being all, Alfie Kohn & unschooly & all <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> Could you tell me more about why you like it?<br>
Thanks for the 10 year rule. We've touched on that concept but I think DH and I could both make more of an effort to talk about the process of acquiring skill (of all kinds).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>connieculkins</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15414260"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We've dealt with this one too. What's helped us is to just keep reminding him that he's a child and childhood is for learning things so kids aren't supposed to be at adult levels yet. Also, it helps to keep reminding the children of all the things they have learned,</div>
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Thanks. She is really interested in her brother's process of learning to talk so I think I can try to help her make a connection there <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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My mom is cleaning out her house before moving and is sending over all sorts of things from when I was in school (or younger!) I loved seeing the "tadpole people" drawings, where all the arms and legs just come out of a goofy looking head. If you've got anything like that sitting around of yours, try pulling it out to show her how you went through phases and steps too! (I wouldn't pull her own work out, as it might backfire and just embarrass her.)
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>greenmamapagan</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15414290"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Forgive me, but from the website the book seems a bit gimmicky to me. I checked out a few of the articles linked as well and well, we don't actually use praise at all. Being all, Alfie Kohn & unschooly & all <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> Could you tell me more about why you like it?</div>
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It directly addresses the question in your original post, I guess. I used it myself in helping my daughter at that age. You can probably read about her research without getting the book.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>greenmamapagan</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15414290"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Forgive me, but from the website the book seems a bit gimmicky to me. I checked out a few of the articles linked as well and well, we don't actually use praise at all. Being all, Alfie Kohn & unschooly & all <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> Could you tell me more about why you like it?<br>
Thanks for the 10 year rule. We've touched on that concept but I think DH and I could both make more of an effort to talk about the process of acquiring skill (of all kinds).</div>
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I'm not sure which site you were looking at for Dweck. Here's the book on google books with preview:<br><a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=Pff9Xzpsj4oC&printsec=frontcover&dq=carol+dweck&cd=2#v=onepage&q&f=false" target="_blank">http://books.google.com/books?id=Pff...page&q&f=false</a><br><br>
Dweck's a PhD psych who teaches at Stanford. The book describes various experiments they've done re motivation. The most-oft cited one is where kids do a puzzle well within their ability. Half are told "well done, you're very smart" while the other half are told "you worked really hard." Then they're offered to choose their next puzzle - one easy and one more difficult. The kids who were praised for smarts (immutable characteristics) were more risk averse and chose the easier puzzle, presumably because they didn't want to risk their self-concept of being smart. The kids who were told they'd worked hard (mutable characteristic) chose the harder puzzle.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>joensally</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15414947"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I'm not sure which site you were looking at for Dweck. Here's the book on google books with preview:<br><a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=Pff9Xzpsj4oC&printsec=frontcover&dq=carol+dweck&cd=2#v=onepage&q&f=false" target="_blank">http://books.google.com/books?id=Pff...page&q&f=false</a><br><br>
Dweck's a PhD psych who teaches at Stanford. The book describes various experiments they've done re motivation. The most-oft cited one is where kids do a puzzle well within their ability. Half are told "well done, you're very smart" while the other half are told "you worked really hard." Then they're offered to choose their next puzzle - one easy and one more difficult. The kids who were praised for smarts (immutable characteristics) were more risk averse and chose the easier puzzle, presumably because they didn't want to risk their self-concept of being smart. The kids who were told they'd worked hard (mutable characteristic) chose the harder puzzle.</div>
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I remember this study from UP, actually. He quotes it, right?
 

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I have a similar problem with Dweck's book (yes I read it through): the self-helpy "anyone can master anything" tone really started to grate on my nerves after a while. It's probably worth reading for the research she describes.
 

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I have yet to find the answer to this question, and we deal with it daily. One thing that has helped somewhat is a suggestion I got from NurtureShock. To remind them that their brain is like a muscle that gets better with practice. Strongly encouraging the importance of effort.<br><br><br>
Holli
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Tigerle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15415040"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I have a similar problem with Dweck's book (yes I read it through): the self-helpy "anyone can master anything" tone really started to grate on my nerves after a while. It's probably worth reading for the research she describes.</div>
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Okay, thanks. I personally think being aware of research is very helpful, but to rely on others' interpretations of their selectively chosen studies is just being intellectually lazy and leads to 'group think'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks all. Tigerle - I guess that's what I meant by gimmicky. I expected it to grate. connieculkins - ITA. joensally - I was looking at<br><a href="http://mindsetonline.com/" target="_blank">http://mindsetonline.com/</a><br>
That was the exact example I was refering to. Thanks for the google books link though.<br>
I think I'll take a look into Nurture Shock.
 

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We got a book called "Letting Go of Perfect" which is pretty good. They talk about different sub-categories of perfectionism which have different motivations and ways to help with each type. (Yes they can cross over.) They do talk a little bit about gifted kids. They also discuss ways kids can use their perfectionist tendencies so that they are useful rather than harmful.<br><br>
I wouldn't say it's the best book I've ever read, but I did think it was helpful. Things have calmed down a bit here but I will likely bring it out again if DD gets stuck again.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Tigerle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15415040"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I have a similar problem with Dweck's book (yes I read it through): the self-helpy "anyone can master anything" tone really started to grate on my nerves after a while. It's probably worth reading for the research she describes.</div>
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Dude, it's like any "parenting book" - take what you like and leave the rest. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> My summary above is about my only take away from the book a couple of years after reading it - her studies really made it clear to me that our beliefs can really influence our outcomes (within our sphere of influence). That said, I'd bet you'd like this book:<br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FBright-sided-Relentless-Promotion-Positive-Undermined%2Fdp%2F0805087494%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks%26qid%3D1274156516%26sr%3D8-1" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Bright-sided-R...16&sr=8-1#noop</a><br>
Ehrenreich's always an entertaining read.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Marimami</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15415044"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I have yet to find the answer to this question, and we deal with it daily. One thing that has helped somewhat is a suggestion I got from NurtureShock. To remind them that their brain is like a muscle that gets better with practice. Strongly encouraging the importance of effort.<br><br><br>
Holli</div>
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I don't think there is an answer per se - I think it's a process. I can say that DD struggled with it horribly in the preschool years, then went underground as a major underachiever and now seems to be finding her way to some form of middle ground although it's still tough.<br><br>
I enjoyed Nurtureshock, if only for the things that made me go "hmmm."<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>connieculkins</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15415245"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Okay, thanks. I personally think being aware of research is very helpful, but to rely on others' interpretations of their selectively chosen studies is just being intellectually lazy and leads to 'group think'.</div>
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Huh? But you're apparently relying on Tigerle's interpretation. I'm not really sure what you mean here as it seems rather...intended to inflame.<br><br>
To make it explicit, I think both pigpokey and I were pointing to Dweck's research on child behaviour. The idea we were sharing is that making it about a child's smarts can be demotivating and aggravate perfectionism, whereas employing more of the work ethic/brain as a muscle approach appears to have better outcomes.
 

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I don't understand why the OP would read Nurture Shock and not Mindset. I'm sure I would love to read NS and should soon. But NS is not specifically about her problem where Mindset is. That being said you can pick up Mindset and be done with it in under an hour. It's not a complicated concept. But it can be in opposition to some of our previous training in how to talk to kids, so ... I found it helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
PP, I didn't say I wouldn't read it. I've yet to have a chance to chech out the google books link but I fully intend to. I just wasn't expecting to enjoy it, since it sounds so focussed on "acheivement".
 

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I feel guilty for adding NS to the mix. I simply read it most recently and had grabbed the quote from it for DD. But yes Mindset as a whole is more applicable here.It is only a tiny bit of the content in NS.<br><br>
Holli
 

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Swimming has been helpful for my DD.<br><br>
One other thing is to model lifetime learning and failing for your child. It isn't just children who aren't perfect and who need to practice things.<br><br>
Tjej
 

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Snort. It's definitely a process - DD just finished giving DS (7) a random spelling test for some reason. I have no idea what words she chose, and it's on a white board. He has written output disorder and it's past bedtime. I'm now hearing wails of "this is the worst I've done in my entire life" and "I don't want to look like an idiot in front of my sister" - over some random white board spelling thing. <shaking head><br><br>
What I'd give for a drama-free day.
 
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