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WWYD to manage self-pressure to achieve? Sorry, a bit long

(7 Posts)
Everhopeful Wed 05-Mar-14 09:22:51

I've always impressed upon Y7 DD the need to do your best and know its your best - that way, the chances are you're always improving and you'll have no regrets, as you'll know you couldn't have done more. However, sometimes I think this works against her, as she'll apply the same principle to draft work as to the final piece. This is most noticeable in Art and DT, which she really wants to be thought good at (she very much sees herself as an artist). She was beside herself last night as something she was trying to draw kept going wrong - she kept saying it looked like something a 2 yo would do (I didn't think it was that bad, but for sure it wasn't quite right either) - and she was only trying to produce a concept drawing. Nothing I could say seemed to help. She certainly has time to fix this, but I'm sure it's because she's desperate for recognition. We've had a few similar dramas and I just wanted to know how others manage it...assuming you have DC like mine!

Theas18 Wed 05-Mar-14 09:31:30

Marking place as have managed to raise kids that are very similar- the art things is soooo identifiable- taking a weekend- many many hours to do an hour length homework for instance, cured only for us when they stopped taking art.... not an option for you.

I'm also sure the youngest has this perfectionist issue going on across the board - she's a dreadful procrastinator and I think a lot is " if I don't actually start it, it can't be wrong"....

If it's a very art specific thing for your DD and you think she'll want to take art more seriously say to GCSE and above I think I'd be looking at a course- maybe even a one to one tutor for a few sessions to do some " chuck paint at a big thing and realise that is amazing art too- art isn't a photograph" type stuff to free her thinking up.

DS did some art with his 11+ tutor as a respite from papers and it was amazing stuff (and he did because he told the tutor he was "useless" at art- we picked the tutor well for " therapy" as well as teaching LOL)

cory Wed 05-Mar-14 09:43:09

If she thinks of herself as an artist, then I'd use that to discuss more creative attitudes to work. Talk to her about how artists work: how creativity is not only about taking pains, but also about being prepared to take risks. How all artists do drafts and discard them, how writers have to be prepared to "kill their baby", how this is not a sign of failure but of creativity.

wordfactory Wed 05-Mar-14 09:59:30

I firmly believe that perfectionism is the enemy of achievement.

Perfectionist tendencies suck up time and energy, promote low self esteem (after all how many of us can actually do anything perfectly) and stand in the way of adaptability.

I think the best way to discourage them in our DC is to lead from the front. Demonstrate how you are not a perfectionist. Show how pragmatism and adaptability are how you succeed. Embrace failure and laugh it off.

Everhopeful Wed 05-Mar-14 10:08:08

Thanks all for your tips so far.

Wordfactory, for sure I demonstrate pragmatism and adaptability: the problem for me is that I can't easily demonstrate achievement when my jobsearch, which is a full time job for me and has been for what feels like eons, isn't successful and she knows it! Cory, your approach certainly chimes with me (always thought of myself as a writer, though all this jobsearching is killing any other desire to write at the moment) and I'd add getting ideas from other people to adapt to your own project isn't cheating except in exam conditions!

Theas, we certainly do have PhD level procrastination going on in this house - I don't think I suffer as badly as DD and DH, but it is a bit of a family disease and Must Be Stopped!! The idea of a tutor is a good one: I'll look into it and see if I can support it for a while at least.

Elibean Wed 05-Mar-14 11:26:41

Any chance of a chat with her art teacher? I think, once they get to this age and have many role models, someone who isn't their parent can also be helpful...though I do agree with modelling how to relax and let up on oneself.

If her art teacher is a perfectionist, therein may lie some of the problem, of course!

I do know the problem, though my eldest is only 10. I've seen her shred a drawing and 'rubbish' it, more through frustration than anything else. I tend to offer understanding of the frustration, suggest time out to clear her mind, step back from it etc. My mother is an artist, and very self-critical (gets in the way), and I am very keen for dd to learn more tolerance towards herself than that - not easy!

wordfactory Wed 05-Mar-14 11:34:42

Ever definitely talk to her about how Art works. I'm a writer and I can't express strongly enough how pragmatism is the way to success.

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