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AIBU to worry about perfectionism?

(7 Posts)
HistorianMum Thu 01-Sep-16 11:08:48

I've posted about this already, but think my OP was a bit misleading. DD is 8, and has real emotional meltdowns when things go wrong. At the moment, it's piano practice, but in the past has been swimming, maths homework, anything she finds a bit challenging. Piano is an issue at the moment because she has to practise every day, but think the underlying cause is something bigger. Have been reading a lot about this - know I'm supposed to praise effort, not achievement, model failure in a positive way (guilty of not doing that), break things into small chunks, etc, but have tried all of this and got nowhere! Feeling really miserable as I have no idea how to help her get through this. Considering trying to find a therapist, but don't know if that's over the top?

VioletBam Thu 01-Sep-16 12:49:14

Is she feeling under too much pressure? Why is she having to practice daily? Is it something she wants to do?

Children get a LOT of pressure in school these days...and sometimes it's better to go a little easier on them when they're emotional about things.

HistorianMum Thu 01-Sep-16 13:22:34

Violet, almost certainly, but I don't know where the pressure is coming from! Yes, she is supposed to practise daily and has a schedule of what to practise each day, but that's because there's no way of learning/improving if she doesn't practise. We have stressed from the start and made this absolutely clear to her teacher that we don't care if she never sits an exam - that is entirely down to her. We've told her practice is where you're supposed to make mistakes, because that's how you work out what needs more practice, what you need to ask the teacher about etc, and we encourage to play stuff she already knows as well. Interesting question: does she want to practise daily? I think she wants to be good at piano without having to work at it is part of the problem - she is used to school (except for maths) being easy. She was happy with it to start with, but over the past 2-3 months it has been leading to meltdowns, but can't pinpoint when she started getting cross.

You are right about pressure at school, and maybe we should try going easy. We have told her she can stop if she wants to, but she doesn't. Also, even if she did, think we would just have meltdowns about something else, sooner or later. Feel there's an underlying issue we need to fix...or is that too melodramatic?

user1471421772 Thu 01-Sep-16 13:35:52

Some children have this as part of their personality, but there are ways you can increase her resilience - praise effort, model dealing with failures in a positive way, give her safe ways in which to 'fail'. Also encourage intrinsic satisfaction with success - instead of always 'well done' or 'I am so proud of you're encourage her to judge herself, eg 'I bet you feel so proud about that. What do you think was best?' etc
Caroline Dweck has some good writing on the growth mindset that might be useful.

VioletBam Thu 01-Sep-16 13:54:15

I found one of my DDs (she's generally very sensitive and a bit dramatic) is much calmer in general when I watch her diet and her screen time.

So I don't allow her to have anything with even the tiniest bit of sugar in it after about 4.30pm...earlier if possible.

She also gets "hangry" where if she needs something to eat, she doesn't notice and her temper flares.

I stop her from using the computer or doing much else apart from reading a few hours before bed....make sure she gets creative opportunities too...such as painting which she loves but forgets to do...mine's older than yours but I do remember this kind of thing when she was 8.

HistorianMum Thu 01-Sep-16 14:10:16

Thanks - will look at the Caroline Dweck stuff. We tend to do piano practice in the mornings, after breakfast, precisely so she wasn't doing it when she was tired and/or hungry. But painting/creative stuff is a good idea - DD also loves it and hasn't done that much recently.

Violet, can I ask, did your DD just grow out of this, or did you find ways to stop it?

jessplussomeonenew Thu 01-Sep-16 15:24:15

Could you record her playing a piece and then the same piece a week later? Might help to give her a sense of making progress, particularly if you use descriptive praise. Knowing how to practice efficiently is a real skill and it might also be helpful to get some advice on that from her teacher.

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