What is perfectionism?

Perfectionism, in psychology, is a broad personality style characterized by a person’s concern with striving for flawlessness and perfection and is accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations

What isn’t perfectionism?

Perfectionists work not for a good success that can be achieved with hard work, but for the perfection that is impossible to achieve.

They easily trap themselves in this double dead-end road that has no way out. Everything is black OR white. Right OR wrong. Good OR bad. There is only one way a task can be done. If this path does not work, they have failed.

Fear of failing in the end prevents them from setting goals and achieving them. They may exhibit behaviors such as procrastination, inadequacy, not wanting to go to school, not doing homework, not studying. For some children, both their academic and social development are adversely affected. It can create a risk for depression, anxiety or eating disorders.

What Are the Symptoms of Perfectionism?

● High levels of anxiety and tension
● Controlling and obsessive
● Fear of taking risks or trying new things,
● Don’t be terrified by the mix of failure
● Low self-worth and negatively comparing yourself to others
● Denying that you have achievements and skills
● Difficulty starting and finishing homework
● Feeling unhappy, dissatisfied, down and depressed
● Do not expect the same attitude from family and friends.
● Difficulty establishing close relationships
● Don’t talk negatively about themselves all the time.
● Feelings of guilt and shame

The biggest problem of perfectionist children is that they give up quickly in the face of new situations or avoid taking risks completely because of the fear that they will not be good enough. Resistance to trying new things naturally also means that these children fall behind their true potential.

Why Become a Perfectionist?

While there is no perfect answer to this, several theories have been put forward.

Biological theories point to personality traits and temperament traits that we innate.
Parenting styles and expectations: with the perfectionist parent
Major changes and traumas in life: when feeling insecure, unstable, unstable, trying to regain control is the most usual feeling.
Cultural norms and behaviors: In a competitive world, in a world that focuses only on results, when the only value accepted by the society is to achieve the goal, you are praised only when you are successful, and being liked and appreciated when you are the most popular student can be reinforced.
What Can You Do as a Parent?

Educate yourself about it
Observe your child, yourself, and other family members. Did he unwittingly model what you said or did? If so, start changing yourself.
Be flexible, don’t demand perfection, focus on striving
Once your child completes a task, don’t do it again because it isn’t perfect.
Remember that they are children, and the perfect standards of adults do not apply to them.
Always recognize and praise his effort, even if it is the last one
Don’t base your love on their success. Separate it from a good grade or a good assignment.
Help him take risks if he is afraid of failure. Nothing is perfect. There are no absolute guarantees for anything. The important thing is to move forward despite disappointment and difficulties.
Mistakes are a part of life, everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is to deal with failures in a healthy and positive way.
Talk honestly about your own disappointments and failures. Whatever happens, tell him you’re moving on. Tell us what you learned from your experiences
Do not judge others in front of your child and do not point out their faults.
Teach your child to accept himself and others
Be alert to messages of excellence from television, the internet, school, and peers.
You can help your perfectionist turn their worries into reasonable expectations. Be sure not to emphasize the importance of academic success, emphasizing performance, test results, and grades, and focus on extracurricular activities. If your child says they did it in a tennis match, don’t ask who beat and your child’s score. Instead, praise how much he enjoys tennis, how much effort he puts into it, his determination, and his courtesy during the game. Your child should not think that winning means everything. It is also very good for perfectionist children to create free time, to wander around, to rest and to linger without worrying about catching up. Don’t fill your whole day with schedules and activities.

Clinical Psychologist
Beyhan Perim Secmen