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Parents: Don't be a perfectionist Part 1

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The drill seargeant dad from "The Sound of Music"

We've all been there.  The house with the wife whose home is so perfect you actually feel guilty for sitting on the unstained, perfectly upholstered couch.  Perfectionism can be annoying, but when you put this behavior on your children, it can make them feel that your love is conditional and that they will never be good enough.  No one wants to look back and regret this kind of behavior so let's take a close look to see if perfectionism is a problem.  If you have these kinds of tendencies, you will become aware of how your children view them, and learn some tips that may help.  Whatever you do, don't say it's too late.  God gives grace, forgiveness, and help in time of need.  Depend on Him for strength to improve.

Here are two traits of a perfectionist (two more will be given in Part 2):

1.  They tend to think in an all or nothing pattern.  No half way.  No different way.  No better way.  This can make your children believe they can't be creative and have good ideas.  It can make them not want to try something new for fear they will not be able to finish well.  Catch yourself when you are thinking these things so you can stop yourself before something comes out of your mouth.  Let your kids act their age and don't see goals almost achieved as not good enough.  Praise them for trying and they will try again, perhaps getting better results in the future and have fun!  Life is short; enjoy it!

2.  They are critical of themselves and others, often having unrealistic standards.  This can make your children believe they can't be human.  Yes, you will make mistakes.  Your children will make mistakes.  Don't constantly be condemning them.  Praise them ten times more than you get  on to them.  When you correct your children, let them know that you've done the same thing or made worse mistakes and forgive them quickly.

For a free test on line to see if you are a perfectionist, visit discoveryhealth.queendom.com/perfectionism_abridged_access.html.

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