In a previous life, before children, I worked as a recruiter. I conducted hundreds of interviews in my time and when I asked the typical question “What’s your greatest weakness?” I was always surprised at the number of people who said “I’m a perfectionist.” I mean really, how can striving to do the best possible job, at the cost of everything else, really be a weakness? Then I had my youngest daughter, and I have learned what a challenge being a perfectionist can truly be.
|attempts at the “perfect” circle at 2 years of age|
It made for incredibly neat artwork, and we didn’t really see anything too strange. It was as she aged that her colouring inside the lines and her need to create perfect shapes became an obsession.
|an example of her earliest attempts at colouring age 2|
When my daughter was around 3 years old she began learning how to write. Her ability to concentrate and focus on a task was amazing. The problem was that for every success she had, there were inevitable failures. My daughter had no ability to cope with failure. One “wrong” move and she was thrown into anger and tears. It felt so strange to be consoling my shattered 3 year old and telling her it was okay and that we could just erase her mistakes. Erasing was never good enough…she would throw things out and start all over again.
Truth be told there are still breakdowns. Work is still tossed in the recycling bin. On those days we try and focus on praising her determination. I now understand that her strive to be perfect will always be a challenge for her. My hope is that she can come to appreciate the effort it takes to get to the end product. She will make many mistakes in her life. As she grows she is learning that it it okay to fall down, you can always get right back up and try again.
Today’s post is part of Golden Gleam’s parenting series We Get It: Support For Difficult Childhood Behaviour. Please hop over and take a look at the other parenting topics being covered in this series. Other topics include; night terrors, self centred, kids who touch everything, anxiety, strong willed and temper tantrums.