Perfectionist child, but affecting schoolwork

Mila - posted on 10/10/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My 11 year-old tends to be a perfectionist when it comes to…things (nearly everything), but I've heard that it's starting to affect her school work,as she isn't turning it in on time (she lives with her father, so I see her on weekends, but I don't get to see school work.) She will take a very long time to finish anything art related, she seems to be self-deprecating—saying she's "not good at anything,"—when in fact she is an excellent writer and artist. I try to encourage her, but she's so worried about perfection that she gets frustrated and gives up on some things almost immediately.

It is affecting her grades, as she is missing deadlines. It is concerning her teachers as well. What can I do, especially with what little time I see her?

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[deleted account]

Show her how to look at the big picture. Remind her that perfection is a good thing, but focusing too much on perfection in one area causes imperfections in other areas.

Remind her that colleges will not be looking at her individual projects, they will be looking at her overall grades. If she focuses so much on getting a project perfect and misses the deadline, she will get an F and the college will never know how much effort she put into it. The college she attends plays a major part in shaping the adult she will become, and if she wants to get into her desired college, she will need grades that reflect her efforts, not a pile of B's and C's because she was too caught up in the details of each single project to acknowledge the deadline.
Try to get her to think more in terms of getting a perfect report card than on getting a perfect project.

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