It’s so hard to watch your child temper herself, hold himself back, not want to try new things, even turn against things she loves just to fit in with her peers.
Our encouragements of “just be yourself” seem to fall on deaf ears. I had a client call the other day worried because her SIX-YEAR-OLD stopped wearing flowery headbands, bracelets and crazy tights because the other girls were making fun of her. She was already developing a separate persona at school; the quiet, well-behaved, rule follower who blended into the background. Luckily, at home, she still allowed herself to be silly, goofy and relaxed.
The risk kids face when they try to create a perfect self-image, is they lose touch with their inner, emotional life. As Simone Marean from Girls Leadership puts it, this inner emotional life is our GPS. It tells us what is right for us, what is wrong for us, what feels yucky that we should avoid. When we try to be perfect, we’re not allowing ourselves to be human.
The good news from the research of Challenge Success and Girls Leadership, is how much influence parents have to help kids release perfectionism and stress, access their full range of emotions, and gain authentic confidence.
Where do YOU find yourself scared to take risks?
To try something new that you won’t be good at right away?
To go against the crowd, knowing people will judge you?
When do you worry about what people will think?
Do you have a hard time apologizing or losing?
Do you try really hard not to make a mistake and then beat yourself up when you do?
The number one way kids learn is by imitation so if want our kids confident: to be free to take risks, make mistakes, go against the crowd and not care about other’s judgement, it starts with us.
These tips from Girls Leadership will help your perfectionistic sons as well.
- Celebrate mistakes. Go around the dinner table and talk about who made the best mistake. Let your kids see you trying new things and bombing, embarrassing yourself, and forgiving yourself.
- Let your kids see you experiencing uncomfortable emotions: mad, sad, embarrassed, disappointed, proud, contentment, jealousy, confidence, apologetic, brave. Show them by example what it means to be a whole human being.
- Let your child see or hear you having conflict and resolving it. Kids don’t realize it, but all healthy relationships have conflict. Learning how to ask for what you want and talk about your feelings is such an important thing to learn. Demonstrate how to resolve conflict and apologize with your kids, your partner, your extended family and friends.
If you think you might be mired in perfectionism, but yearn for confidence, check out my Supermom is Getting Tired coaching program and show your child by example how to be their best, most confident self.