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Topic ClosedPerfectionism

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alritchie View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Perfectionism
    Posted: 05/Dec/2007 at 12:55pm
My 4-yr old is extremely bright and advanced but struggles with things not being perfect.  Currently, he wants to learn how to write his name but gets extremely frustrated b/c the letters don't come out perfect.  I try to tell him that they don't have to be perfect, that we're just practicing, etc., but those words don't seem to appease him  This occurs mostly when he is doing letters, numbers, etc, but sometimes it even affects him when he is drawing or working with blocks b/c he has it in his head how he wants it to turn out and it isn't working the way he wants it to.  Dad says he used to erase holes in his Big Chief tablet paper in 1st grade trying to get the letters to come out right until his teacher would get mad at him and set a timer and tell him it better get done or else.  I really think putting more pressure on him would not be the right move at this point in time.  Does anyone have any experience with this?  Are there any books or resources I can look at that will help him learn some coping skills?  I know this is a common characteristic of advanced children but I really don't know how to help him. 

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MrBill View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/Dec/2007 at 3:40am
Try really big paper, with really big drawing/writing. This frees up the
whole body to move with the work instead of stressing on the hand. Have
fun with it.

Introduce him to sketching and refining. Show him some books on
developing a sketch to a rendered image. I'm sure he'll be fascinated.

And always remember "Practice makes perfect" and encourage him with
"just keep trying and you'll get it right eventually".

Also if he is learning from printed materials explain to him how what he
is seeing is made with fonts on a computer, and they are machines and he
is not. Have him trace your hand writing and experience your own little
handwriting quirks and mistakes. Try the same with his dad's
handwriting.

I think the digital fonts throw the kids off terribly, kind of the way a
comic book page sets a way too high standard for how every kid should
draw, when it took the comic book artist 30 years to get that good.



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sci-mum View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/Jan/2008 at 8:17am
Have you tried Handwriting Without Tears? You wouldn't need to buy the program, basically you get them a hand-sized slate with a little edge so they CAN"T go over or get messy. Practice one letter at a time using the whole slate, corner to corner, he can erase and repeat to his heart's content. If he gets bored of the chalk you can use a little piece of damp sponge. Once all letters are mastered, then you move to lined paper. My daughter spent a whole year frustrated with paper and pencil until we backtracked to the slate letters to "perfection". Her letter formation has become, well, perfect and she's happy. Her drawing has improved as well as she's used to the smaller space the slate provides and isn't overwhelmed with the desire to immediately fill the whole page. Perfectionists seem to be detail oriented, so the smaller space has worked for her, less pressure I guess!
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CNBarnes View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/Jan/2008 at 12:35pm
Get and read "Personality Plus"   TODAY.

If you're not a melancholy personality type (and it is almost certain that your son is), it will be very difficult for you to understand what makes him "tick".
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petermanj View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25/Jan/2008 at 12:48pm
My son gets really discouraged when he can't get things right the first time.  My solution so far has been two-fold.  First, I try to make sure he has enough things that he can succeed at.  But also, I think this is a great opportunity to teach perserverance and basic humanity.  Sometimes I think they see the stuff we do and assume we were perfect at it the first time.  I try to give him examples of things that took me a while to learn, or describe how people that are now professionals had to spend years practicing.  I tell him over and over not to give up, but look for other ways of solving things that stump him.  And as far as the small stuff, I don't make a big deal about it.  Hopefully, he'll learn to do the same.  He is really emotional and gets frustrated quickly.  There are times when he gets stuck in this funk and spends the entire morning whining about something he can't do right.  I know it won't all sink in right now, but maybe after years of repetition, he'll get it. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26/Jan/2008 at 12:11pm

My 7 yo ds had this problem. It was very frustrating to try to school him as he would just refuse to attempt to read or do math because he was afraid to get anything wrong. I finally stumbled upon a book called The Codependent Parent by Barbara Cottman Becnel. The change has been amazing with some of the stuff I learned in this book. It was hard because I learned that my husband and I had been causing the problem by down talking ourselves all the time when we make mistakes. He had picked up the idea that it was not acceptable to make mistakes, not from what we said, but from our actions.

Anyway, that's my experience. My son is finally excited about school.

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sandr View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/May/2008 at 10:05am

I have a "perfectionist" 11 year old daughter.  I have discovered that sometimes if I just leave her alone instead of "hovering" she does much better and is happier with her results even if they aren't perfect.  Sometimes I wonder if it isn't the attention she wants that causes her to react with frustration like she does when things aren't perfect.

 

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