The teacher reads a story to the class and then directs the students to select a character from the story and write a description of that character. The students get busy with the project and one by one, hand in the finished work. However, some students may struggle with an assignment. What was enjoyable for the other students is a daunting task for this student because perfectionism has caused him or her to be overly self-critical.
To the outside world, perfectionists seem like super achievers, but inwardly they may be struggling to meet unusually high standards they set for themselves.
Perfectionism itself is not a bad trait, but carried to extremes, it can become destructive. Never quite satisfied with their accomplishments, they may be experiencing low self-esteem and anxiety. Perfectionists are often overly critical of themselves and others.
What can you do if you think your child may be plagued by excessive perfectionism? Avoid being critical; attempt to bolster his or her self-esteem by explaining that imperfection is acceptable. It’s okay to be average or work to the best of one’s abilities. Give praise for completed tasks. For the perfectionist, just being able to finish something is an accomplishment.
You may want to let your child’s teacher know about this trait. Educators have experience dealing with different personality types, and they should be able to work with your child.