How does a child learn to be infatuated with perfection?
I was very much a perfectionist growing up and know what a difficult habit it is to shift towards allowing things to happen without judging myself so hard. I made it a point to be aware of this so that I could circumvent this behavior with my own child.
He is now 5 years old and signs of perfectionism are beginning to show in his behavior. For example, he recently had a school exercise to complete. Part 1 was to write the word “like” with his eyes open, then write it again with his eyes closed. Amazingly, he did a fantastic job with his eyes closed, although the letters were not in a straight line and the dot for the letter “i” was not directly above the letter.
Well, to my surprise he just would not have that. He whimpered and wailed at the fact that it was not right and insisted that he needed to fix it. No matter what I said about it being part of the exercise and how amazed I was at his accuracy, his brain would not comprehend anything I was saying. I even attempted to change the subject.
His crying went on for 15 minutes and he was totally upset with me for not allowing him to make the change. I tried to explain and reason with him in every way I could possibly think of. I even tried the threat of reprimanding him with a time-out to calm down – but nothing worked. He was bottom-line disgusted with his closed eye writing.
I felt terrible. What was I to do? You parents out there can understand the power of a child’s tears when they are truly feeling hurt and there’s nothing you can do or say to ease their frustrations of not being able to understand.
We did move on eventually and I did keep the work as it was. I promised to write a little note to the teacher to let her know his disagreement with the imperfection so that she would be aware of his level of tolerance.
What would you do as a parent? Would you have allowed him to fix it?
[tags] learning, child, fears, shift, anxiety, growth, comparison, perfection, teach, personality, individual, development, [/tags]