How to Curb the Pressure to be Perfect

10s Graphic

In a go-go-go society, kids often suffer from being overcommitted – in both academic and extracurricular activities – and feel pressure to do it all while maintaining the illusion of perfectionism.

“Learning how to prioritize is huge for teens and tweens,” said Jamie Snyder, MD, CHI Health child and adolescent psychiatrist.“When parents help a child determine what’s most important – what can wait until later and what needs to happen now – they instill skills that will be used constantly throughout life.”

Remember that perfection is unattainable. Accepting and growing from mistakes is an important skill for children to learn. Mistakes made in childhood are usually smaller than those they might encounter as an adult and parents can model this behavior for them. Parents aren’t perfect either – kids know this – and adults who are open about coping with their own mistakes can model this behavior for kids.

Before pushing or pressuring a child to achieve on certain things, parents should take a step back and ask themselves these questions:

1. Will this actually impact my child’s future in a major way?

2. What’s the worst thing that will happen if the result isn’t perfect? Will my child still be okay?

3. What’s my motivation? Am I living vicariously through my child?