A few more things perfectionist kids need our help with:
- Perfectionists with soft hearts and guilty consciences need help learning to filter what they hear. My mom came home from school when she was a kid and tearfully told her mother that she was always in trouble and the teacher was always upset with her. When my grandmother called the teacher to investigate, she realized that my mother was doing great in school, but she was taking responsibility for the rebukes that were intended for others in the class. Classic guilty perfectionist behavior! A guilty perfectionist will often assume other people’s guilt—they have to learn to hear what THEY need to hear, and filter out what’s meant for other people. (And when they’re grown-ups, they might have to learn to filter sermons, and even strongly worded biblical passages, ha! I don’t speak from personal experience here or anything . . . )
- Perfectionists need help learning that life is not a competition. The sooner they realize that God has given them great gifts, but even so, there will ALWAYS be someone who is better or faster or smarter—and that’s perfectly okay—the happier their life will be.
- Group activities like school and sports, especially team sports, are a great environment for perfectionists to learn how to handle life. The more exposure they can have to the wide world, the better. The thing about sports is, unfair things happen all the time: referees make bad calls; coaches put someone else in instead; the ball bounces the wrong way . . . and these things teach perfectionists to roll with life a little bit, and to put their own achievements aside in order to help a group succeed.