Recommended Reading for Parents
Perfectionism, What’s Bad about being Too Good
Authors: Miriam Adderholt and Jan Goldberg
Publisher: Free Spirit
Perfectionism, What’s Bad about being Too Good is the second most important book after Guiding the Gifted child that I have read on my journey of raising gifted children. I am reviewing this one from memory as it has long since gone to some other parents of perfectionistic prone kids.
This book teaches you how to guide your child and indeed yourself to strive for excellence rather than perfection. It explains that perfection is not possible so anyone striving for perfection will always be unhappy, but when striving for excellence, you strive to be the best that you can be, and that is something that you can achieve.
We explained this to our daughter who is involved in athletics, she is now much happier, even if she comes in last in a race, if she gets a personal best time then she is happy. (only trouble is she wants a p.b. every time!), but at least she’s not devastated if she doesn’t win.
The book explains why people become perfectionists and why girls are particularly prone to perfectionism. I have carried the information that I gained from this book in my head for over ten years now and it really did help sort out the problem, although the tendencies are always there in the background. Even today I had to get her to pull over in the car as she was practicing for a pre-test tomorrow and was kicking herself every time she made a mistake. I used what I had learned from the book to calm her down and accept that she will do her best tomorrow and learn from any mistakes that she makes.
The book also shows how parents’ expectations and behavior can contribute to perfectionism in their children. My daughter got ten out of ten in her spelling tests every week right through Primary School. (That must be a record!) However after reading the book, while she still got all her spellings right in the tests, I sometimes didn’t tell her if a spelling was wrong in an essay. That way she learned how to cope with a red mark in her copy etc.!
This was certainly a book that I couldn’t have done without!
Reviewed by "Fidget"