How do I help my 4 year old with perfectionism

Cori - posted on 02/04/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My darling 4 year old is very sensitive to a couple of different things. I'm not sure what to label it but perfectionism seems to be the only word that comes to mind She tends to cry and become very emotional when the following situations happen:

1. Making a mistake. For example: She drops her cup of juice or she stamps her body all over.
Let me say this; I will react but not by yelling. My response tends to "Sidonie! I am not happy about this!"
I don't scream at her or punish her. She immediately response with crying and repeatedly saying she's sorry. I always tell her it's no big deal and ask her to help me clean it up. She calms down but continues to apologize and needs a lot of comfort.

2. Getting upset at school when she doesn't get something perfect the first time or makes a mistake. She responds the same way as mentioned above.

I have talked to her about it being okay if she doesn't do it perfect. I tell her it is more important to try and that she won't always get it right. I tell her that accidents happen and it's no big deal; if she didn't do it on purpose it's no big deal.
At this point I plan on Sidonie participating in another year of pre-school rather than kindergarten. She will be 5 at the end of July so I am not concerned about her age being appropriate at this point. Educationally she excels but I am more concerned about her being socially comfortable for school and this feels a little scary for me in that regard.
Please feel free to give me your thoughts regarding these this situation. I know I can't change anything other than my ability to direct her onto a healthier, more productive path. I am open to any and all ideas as well as making any parenting changes I can to help her find confidence in knowing it's okay to be imperfect.

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Holly - posted on 02/04/2013

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also let her know making mistakes is the way we learn... we aren't born knowing everything, so we HAVE to make mistakes so that we can learn.

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Holly - posted on 02/04/2013

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talk to her and explain that everyone makes mistakes... and help her learn to clean up after her spills, and make a point to say, alright great job on fixing our mistakes! and when she makes a mistake at school, help her figure out how to slow down and concentrate on checking for mistakes and correcting them. tell her in life we are ALL going to make mistakes, we just have to learn from them and move on.

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