Angela hates writing. She has always scored well for writing. She knows – her teacher has been telling her so. Yet she suffers because every time, she finds writing such a chore because she would be over imagining it; Her teacher’s disappointment, her parents’ broken hearts and people laughing at her inability to write a good paper. Her stomach would go into knots and her heart would beat faster. Will people discover that she is not as good as they think she is this time?
If you have been following the series, you will notice that the gifted child suffers from a lack of self-esteem and often believes that they are hiding a secret from everyone else. Thus, they are often trying to maintain a facade and thus subject themselves to a paralysing perfection – believing that everyone else subject them to the same thing as well.
For most bright and gifted children, struggles are a shameful sign of personal inadequacy. They prefer to be exhausted than admitting that they need extra help, guidance and extra time. They will be researching, refining and doing many things but not starting the creation of the project because somehow, they believe they can refine it continuously as they go along. This will lead to procrastination which they will suffer at the last minute. In fact, the best thing that a parent should do is to observe these signs and to direct them to rest when they are rushing at the last minute. The message that needs to be passed is that while doing well is important, it should never be done at the expense of health and socioemotional competence.
Strategies to help Them Stop Feeling Inadequate
Never Tell a Perfectionistic Child “Just do your Best”
The perfectionistic child may interpret the above phrase as a message that they should do their best – even at the expense of their lives. One way to phrase it is to “Make a reasonable effort.” The main aim is to let your child realise that effort should vary on the importance of the task and how much time is available. If a child understands that the aim is to break the task down into manageable pieces before working on it daily, that counts as a reasonable effort.
You may also want to guide your child on what forms the most important part of the task. Use the rubrics and components of the task to guide the child on what the teacher is really looking out for in a task. If your child obsess over every detail, it would tire the child out easily.
Teach Anti-Procrastination Tips
By sharing some common sense strategies which most perfectionists usually don’t think of, you can help them to manage their fear and cut through procrastination.
- Break down big jobs into small steps
- Set mini-deadlines
- Do the most important and difficult tasks first
- Set up routines
- Take short breaks
- Work and fully finish one task than multimask
- Do a full rough draft before polishing the task
- Celebrate accomplishments