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How to help a perfectionist that won't try....?

(11 Posts)
OohMrDarcy Mon 24-Feb-14 14:09:25

DS is recently 4 years old, he is a little perfectionist... he won't draw / write etc at nursery often and when he does it is generally a scribble he brings home. When I enthuse over said scribble he proudly tells me its a 'rollercoaster' - so far, so simple,

however I have seen him drawing, he can draw / write really well at times but if the current line doesn't go exactly how its 'meant' to in his head he has a right little hissy fit and either screws up the paper, or turns it into one of these 'rollercoaster's

I always encourage, happy to show him - praise all efforts etc but it doesn't seem to help - all I want is for him to feel brave enough to 'draw' whatever he wants! He wanted to draw a heart the other day, so I showed him an easy way to do this and he tried to do the same... as soon as he hit the first curve and it didn't go quite right (naturally at 4yo IMO) the paper got thrown and he screamed that he 'can't do it!'

Obviously I do calmly show him that he had a really good try, that it doesn't matter, everyone makes mistakes, everyone would draw a heart differently (demonstrated by me / DH / DD) - I'm running out of ideas, but I really want to get him confident to just try things before he starts school in september!

Has anyone else been through this? If so, do you have any ideas?!

BitOutOfPractice Mon 24-Feb-14 14:11:06

You know that this is really common with small children?

All you can do is keep encouraging. His reception teacher will be very used to this and have no problem getting him going. Try not to worry

Sunshineonsea Mon 24-Feb-14 14:17:32

My ds was like this but since starting reception has improved a lot, he still does 'give up' on occasions but not nearly as much as he used to.
He was also never interested in drawing/writing/crafts for this reason but has really gotten into it in the past few months.
I wouldn't worry too much at the moment as hopefully it will improve with age but maybe you could have a chat with his nursery teacher.

HoratiaDrelincourt Mon 24-Feb-14 14:33:36

In Reception my perfectionist DS1 learned about "marvellous mistakes". "Mistakes help us learn, mummy." How would your DS take that?

And/or point out that cricketing Uncle Steve used to be hopeless at catching but practised until he got good. He's still no good at singing but who cares?

Show him that you fail and don't mind. Or do you always mind too?

OohMrDarcy Mon 24-Feb-14 14:38:27

DD was never like this - always happy to keep trying, or just accept first attempt smile

I am definitely not like this, I regularly try to show him that mistakes are ok - but I didn't realise this was really common so will try to relax about it, and I should say that when he comes home with a 'rollercoaster' I still praise him about it

Marvellous mistakes - will look into that to see if it would help him!

It is good to see that it is certainly not a rare thing... boys in particular seem to be being mentioned rather than girls which is interesting - thanks all!

Bumpsadaisie Mon 24-Feb-14 15:47:49

He's not a perfectionist, he's a preschooler! grin

My DD was like this until quite recently. Especially with physical stuff but to a lesser extent with reading/colouring/writing etc. Like you I used to explain that it didn't matter, that there are lots of things mummy can't do well either and she has to keep trying ... I think you may as well not bother - I think they are too young to really get the concept you are trying to get across and manage their frustration. Cognitive explanations don't do much for them.

DD is at school now, half way through Reception. She is much more game for things now and much more willing to give it a whirl. Much more physically confident too.

I would back off and not get worked up about it. He will grow out of it. When he's at school it will be all boasting about how he has superpowers and how he is the best and how he "beated" his friends at x, y and z etc!

Bumpsadaisie Mon 24-Feb-14 15:49:19

PS perfectionism is one of the signs to look out for on the gifted and talented spectrum! You've probably got a genius on your hands ..

OohMrDarcy Mon 24-Feb-14 15:55:10

ummm I wasn't hinting that I thought he was G&T if you are thinking I was..... hmm

BitOutOfPractice Mon 24-Feb-14 16:09:51

OP I hope you didn't think I was implying that. I was just trying to say that it is more common than you think, so as to set your mind at rest that it's a "problem" that his teachers will be very used to dealing with.

You sound like a lovely far more patient than me mom and I bet he'll be grand once he settles into school

Bumpsadaisie Mon 24-Feb-14 16:21:08

I wasn't saying you were thinking that, I was more trying to be reassuring that its common in talented children. Good luck x

OohMrDarcy Mon 24-Feb-14 20:20:12

oh sorry, thats the trouble with forums I guess - hard to read the tone! smile

The main thing for me now is that its common (good) and the teachers will be prepared for it so I don't need to panic about improving it too much before he starts school! (double good)

I shall keep relaxed and encouraging and reassure myself that it will go away eventually

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