Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Paralyzing Perfectionism

My little boy is perfect. Or at least he thinks he is. Little McGyver can't stand to make a mistake. He expects to do everything perfectly the first time. When we introduce a new sight word to him, he sometimes cries if he doesn't know it right away. Even though we tell him it's OK not to know it, that he'll get it before long. That's not good enough. "I'll never know it FOREVER!" is how he responds.

The Mighty Mrs J and I both have the same tendencies. So we are trying to help him know that it's OK not to be perfect. So far we've only had moderate success. But, I've only had moderate success in my own life learning that I don't have to be perfect.

The worst part about expecting to do everything perfectly? It keeps me from trying things that I might not be good at. Knowing that I'll probably flub up a few times (or a lot of times) before I get something right is frightening, almost paralyzing, to me. So I don't do anything.

I've missed out on some really super things in my life because I was too afraid I'd do something badly. I'd like my kids to know that's a normal fear. I'd also like them to know that making mistakes, even big, embarrassing ones, is also totally normal...

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