This week I am crazy busy, so I wanted to share an article on parenting that I read recently. It really resonated with me because it’s on the perils of perfectionism – a subject I know well.
Next week I’ll write my own take on this subject. But, in the mean time please stick around and tell me what you think of Michael Grose’s article.
Do you have a child who is held back by the curse of perfectionism?
Many firstborns are afflicted by the curse of perfectionism.
The burden of being in the parental spotlight means that many firstborns will only star or achieve in areas where they are certain of success. So they tend to narrow their options by sticking to the safest path. They tend to be less innovative and adventurous than later born children.
Perfectionists can also be hard to live with. They make demanding partners and anxious children. They can be critical of those around them just as they are highly critical of themselves.
Their attention to detail can be infuriating and their inflexibility can be enraging. Much worse, being a slave to perfectionism means kids become observers rather than participants in many aspects of life.
9 Ways to Spot a Perfectionist
You can pick a perfectionist at 1,000 metres away because they share common attributes. Here are nine attributes that perfectionists share:
Perfectionists plan everything. They won’t go on a family picnic unless the route is known beforehand, the estimated time of arrival is decided upon and the weather is checked days out. Perfectionists like to be in control so they don’t leave things to chance.
Perfectionists are neurotic about order. Tidy desks, shoes neatly arranged in wardrobes and neatly stacked food shelves are de rigueur for perfectionists.
Perfectionists are critical of themselves and others. If a perfectionist paints a room he will focus on the inevitable thin spot rather than celebrate a job very well done. Subsequently they don’t enjoy success.
Perfectionists hate to leave jobs half done. They will stay at work until a task is completed.
Perfectionists procrastinate. Many perfectionists put off starting projects because they doubt if they can do them perfectly. Procrastination is not just a great stalling tactic, it is a protective strategy. They wait until conditions are perfect to start a job. The trouble is the time is never perfect so they never start.
Perfectionists don’t like to delegate. No one but no one can do a job as well as they can so they tend to take on far too much and they don’t trust anyone to do a task as well as they can.
Perfectionists apologise a lot. They will always find an excuse such as there is not enough time or money to do the job that they would like. Perfectionists always believe that they can do better or try harder.
Perfectionists don’t expect success. They are generally pessimistic and look for reasons not to do things rather than reasons to try things. Their expectations become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Perfectionists are governed by absolutes. They see the world as black and white and have strong opinions about what people should and should not do.
The best way to help perfectionists loosen up, lighten up and take risks is to develop what the great Austrian psychologist Rudolph Dreikurs dubbed ‘the courage to be imperfect’.
Dreikurs maintained that we have to accept our faults and don’t put pressure on ourselves to be superhuman or be better than others.
When we focus all our efforts on making a contribution rather than being better or superior then we are not held back by doing the perfect job.
Kids develop the courage to take risks and fail when they are less focused on themselves and more concerned about others. Perfectionists need to lower the bar they set for themselves and be realistic about what they can achieve. When they focus on others and develop more realistic expectations not only do they end up achieving more but they experience more fulfillment and contentment.
Michael Grose is Australia’s NO. 1 parenting expert. He is the director of Parenting Ideas, the author of seven books for parents and a popular presenter who speaks to audiences in Australia, Singapore and the USA. Get your FREE Chores and Responsibilities for Kids Guide when you visit Parenting Ideas.
Get a hold of Michael’s sensational new book Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It at http://www.michaelgrose.com. You’ll be astounded when you learn about your birth order personality and how the position in your family impacts on your life!
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