All Girls School

October 15, 2007, 7:26 pm
Filed under: Bubba, troubleshooting

What do you do with a perfectionist? I truly don’t know how to deal with this side of Bubba. When she doesn’t get something the very first time and I talk with her about it and help her make corrections, she smacks herself in the head and shakes it as if she should have known better. I emphasize over and over that we are doing this so that she can learn and that she’s not expected to know things right off. She understands, but seems incapable of not getting down on herself about not being perfect. I don’t know where this comes from. We have never pushed her to be perfect. Far from it, really. We always try to view everything as a life and learning experience, not as something we need to master. I am trying to be very gentle and make sure she is not misinterpreting my help as judgement. Beyond that, how do you cure a perfectionist?

Her kindergarten teacher brought this to my attention last year. I never saw it at home, though. This isn’t something that I see in other areas of her life, just school. I think I need to find a different way of approaching things. As I sit and think about this, the times when she reacts the most harshly are when she’s been working independently and then presents her work for me to see. When I go over it with her and remark on the correct things and then the mistaken ones, that’s when she starts getting down on herself. When we work together on things there isn’t any of the perfectionism. I think it’s the whole putting herself out there and feeling judged, no matter how casually we discuss her work. Maybe she would be willing to forgo some of the worksheets that she likes so much that really feed into this dynamic. If we concentrate more on the types of activities that we can proceed through together or the ones that she leads me through, that could help with this issue. I feel frustrated seeing her beat herself up over something as small as writing a number backwards. Hmmmm… looks like there’s some project brainstorming in my future, as well as coming up with some persuasive arguments for weaning her off the worksheets.


2 Comments so far
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okay, the beautiful thing is that you GET IT!

you do. this sounds just like me when i was little. you get it, you’ll find your way, she knows you love her…

but it is hard…i have this with my ne as well…

Comment by the neufeld epp family

maybe…only “star” or “smile face” the correct items, ignore the rest and let her figure it out. Ignore the head smacking, she might quit on her own if she doesn’t get attention. And maybe ignore some of the mistakes for awhile. Kind of like “choose your battles”. Does it really matter for example if a 7 year old writes a number backwards now? She most likely will figure it out eventually and fix it over time herself. Same with spelling during journaling or story writing at this age. Maybe in a month or 2 it won’t bother her anymore, and you can go back to the “correcting”. That is the advantage you have with homeschooling, you can figure out what works for her, and not have to put her in the “mold”. Keep up the good work!

Comment by Great Aunty V

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