How to help my perfectionist child

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How to help my perfectionist child

Some kids seemed to be born perfectionist even from a very young age. They get frustrated when they make a mistake or can't do something even if they get a little dirty, they go berserk. It is incredibly important to foster a growth mindset in these very children. You need to glorify mistakes. When you make a mistake, say, “Wow! That's so interesting. So, let’s think about these mistakes.” You need to practically give a party for their mistakes and say, “Gee! That's interesting. What should we do next?” Mistakes tell us what we need to learn and what we should do next. It’s only because these children judge themselves harshly when they make a mistake and mistakes are so upsetting to them. They need to reframe mistakes as friends that helped them learn and we can help them do that. Often, a parent says, “Oh, why is my child so caught up with mistakes?” Listen to yourself. Do you say, “Oh, I was so stupid I did this.” You should glorify and celebrate mistakes in yourself and in your child. I tell parents they should sit around the dinner table and say, “Who made a fabulous mistake today?” and then every family member takes turns telling about a mistake they made and what they learned from it. You'll see how soon mistakes become something to be proud of.

See Carol Dweck, PhD's video on How to help my perfectionist child...


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Carol Dweck, PhD

Psychologist & Author

Carol S. Dweck, PhD, is a leading researcher in the field of motivation and is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford. Her research focuses on why students succeed and how to foster their success. More specifically, her work has demonstrated the role of mindsets in success and has shown how praise for intelligence can undermine students’ motivation and learning.

She has also held professorships at and Columbia and Harvard Universities, has lectured to education, business, and sports groups all over the world, and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and to the National Academy of Sciences. She recently won the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, the highest award in Psychology. 

Her work has been prominently featured in such publications as The New Yorker, Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, and The London Times, with recent feature stories on her work in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Post, and she has appeared on such shows as Today, Good Morning America, NPR’s Morning Edition, and 20/20. Her bestselling book Mindset (published by Random House) has been widely acclaimed and has been translated into 20 languages.

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