We recently held our first parent education series. We had several requests to share some of the content from these events.
We wanted to share with you some basic advice on anxiety and perfectionism in the very young. Gifted children frequently suffer from extreme perfectionism, leading to a variety of different types of anxiety. What are some strategies that may help?
Shift focus to praise the effort instead of the final product. “I see that you are working hard on …”
Model failure. Allowing your child to see you break something (your block tower crashed), fail at something, make mistakes. Don’t just model the failure. Name your feelings, and their relative size, and what you are going to do next, since you can’t change what happened but you can re-frame how you feel about it. “Ugh, that was a little frustrating, but I will…”
Read books about failure, with social stories. It may be helpful to read books about perfectionism with or to your children, to discuss all the feelings that make children so uncomfortable while it is not actually happening. A few of our recommendations:
Beautiful Oops! Saltzberg, Barney
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes, Pett, Mark
What to Do When Mistakes Make You Quake: A Kid's Guide to Accepting Imperfection (What-to-Do Guides for Kids) What-to-Do Guides for Kids, Claire A.B. Freeland, Jacqueline B. Toner, Janet McDonnell, Eurospan
A framework with books for processing social and emotional complexity. http://socialthinking.com