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Active scribe

Perfectionism and high expectations

my child has such high expectations of herself with a learning problem (undiagnosed dyslexia) that she suffers from anxiety and depression. How can I help her?

Parent Community Champion

Re: Perfectionism and high expectations

Hi @shawki11 

 

Sounds like your child is having somethings to work through.  A level of anxiety is part of growing up.  Unfortunately some children go through excessive levels of anxiety and depression.

Helping your child learn to manage that anxiety can be a daunting task.

 

It is always a good idea to consider engaging organisations like headspace who are specifically setup to help children.    

 

Are there any specific behaviours that you are seeing?  If there are issues of safety you need to act urgently to protect the safety of you child.

 

How is your relationship with your child?  

One of the challenges as children grow is the need to move from telling our children to guiding and advising them.  That can be difficult to do for parents and child alike

 

In general I would recommend listen to what is going on which your child?  Is there anything triggering the anxiety and depression?  What techniques can you work with them to do to manage these triggers?

 

It is very hard to offer anything more than generic thoughts without knowing more about what is happening 

 

Parent Community Champion

Re: Perfectionism and high expectations

Hi @shawki11 

Perfectionism is a curse. @PapaBill has a wise answer. I just wanted to add that I learnt recently that it doesn't matter how good I am at counselling my kids through this sort of anxiety if I don't model it. 

I didn't think I was a poor role model in this area but when I think about how perceptive the tiddlypeeps are they would think I and my partner would have very high expectations of them. 

HTH

JA
Active scribe

Re: Perfectionism and high expectations

Thanks for your message. There are no particular behavioural issues. My child is very anti alcohol, drugs and cigarettes. But pretty much withdrawn all the time and expresses feeling down and thinks they are a failure all the time. Has been speaking to headspace about whether or not developing social phobia. Could be just embarrassment. Thinks people are always judging and is going to make mistakes all the time. Experienced 3.5 years of verbal abuse while living with father from step mother and got very very hurt from that - ptsd we think. Refuses to get license or take driving instructions and we live regionall with no real public transport so spending a lot of time on own at home. Generally pretty exhausted from high school - finished last year. Only really happy in own space surfing the Internet. Not sure if could actually hold down job especially bad with people contact. Very anxious. 

Parent Community Champion

Re: Perfectionism and high expectations

Gee @shawki11 you are describing so many kids I know. This can be such a hard time for parents as we feel the growing up timeline has been disrupted. My son is very similar. Fortunately, we identified that he would need a lot of support and 'training' to ever leave home when he was just 3yo. I don't know why but we put a lot of work into him and he is happily attending uni 1800kms away from home. 

All I can say is be grateful for every little improvement. Let her know when she has success by describing the behaviour not just praise. Describe every little thing - not in a sickly sweet kind of way but practical. E.g. 'Thanks for coming to help with the groceries, I was exhausted." "I didn't notice that _______, lucky you did." "I really like it when you cook dinner. it gives me time to pause from my day." etc. 

Identify any 'feel good' emotions she may have after an activity. Did that make her feel helpful, wanted, strong etc. 

Talk about your own anxieties - every little one so she can see how you soldier on, what helps you cope. My kids will come grocery shopping with me because they know it makes me anxious. They do all the work there actually. 

You could be duplicitous and make her think she is helping you or someone else when she is doing something. E.g. Get her to remind you to go for a walk...then ask her to come along because you walk further/ faster/ when she comes or you feel safer with her there. You can do all the chopping for dinner at the table if only she could do the standing cooking stuff because you just can't stand any longer. I am very good at this sneaky stuff so could go on forever. 

As her confidence grows she might be inclined to drive. We haven’t broached that battle yet but lots of his friends don't drive. Seems to be the generation for it. Bring on driverless cars!!

Good luck. Every day gets better.

 

JA
Parent Community Champion

Re: Perfectionism and high expectations

Hi @shawki11 

 

I am glad to hear that your child isn't having behaviour issues.  It is  something to be very happy about in this day and age where kids go through so much.

 

The reality of being a teen today is there is a lot of judgement.  Exams, peers and social media make kids see they are being judged all the time.  Helping them grow the resilience to resist this is tough.  Many adults struggle after years of growing to manage the resilience needed in today's world.  Sadly some never do.

 

I would suggest acknowledging there are always people who will be judging you in life.  What I find works is to remember just because people are making judgements that doesn't mean they are wise or right in what they are thinking.  Most people never take the time to understand details or context before leaping to judgement and as such their judgements are often harsh or just out and out wrong.  

 

Help your child understand just because someone says something (judges) doesn't make it true or right.  

Help them build their self confidence by doing things they like and are good at.  Encourage positive relationships with peers.  Find out which ones are supportive and build your child up and encourage those.

 

With respect to licences .. I just don't get it either but it is common now days for young people not to pursue driving licences.  Intellectually I put it down to two things..

1) The time and cost of getting a licences is WAY higher than it was when I got mine.  It is so distant and so much work many kids just see it as too far in the future to focus on

2) Internet and connectivity has them able to reach peers and friends far more easily than taking a drive to see them.

 

The last comment I would make is on introversion and how others perceive it.

My daughter check in this week - she will be home every night this week and is happy to visit her grandma any day this week.

My Son check in this week (they live with me 1 week on 1 week off) has he staying at his girlfriends 2 days this night and going out another 2. -

 

Both are happy well balanced young adults.  I find it more comfortable with what my son is doing... I get this that is what I think a older teen (18+) should be doing.  What my daughter is doing is what is right for her and she is extremely happy with her life.

 

Truth is as they get older they become their own people and dont always behave the way we would aspire for them.   As long as they are happy and healthy .. that is all you can realistically hope for.

 

Community Manager

Re: Perfectionism and high expectations

Hi @shawki11 and thank you for reaching out to our Parents community here. The final school year is a stressful experience for both teens and parents, and that feeling of physical and emotional burnout is really common Heart 

 

Perfectionism and withdrawal can be really common for young people experiencing anxiety and depression. You mentioned that she has been going to headspace, how is she finding it so far? Has it been a helpful experience?

 

There are some great responses around role modelling from @JAKGR8  and building self confidence in your teen from @PapaBill. I am also wondering whether your daughter would be interested in our youth forum? We often see young people who don't feel comfortable to leave the house or talk to someone face to face, but are happy to post using an anonymous username. She may even meet other young people going through similar things that can offer hope that she can recover Heart More than happy to talk to you about what our community is like

Active scribe

Re: Perfectionism and high expectations

Thanks everyone for the great advice. I have shown her the site and will ask again if she wants to join... She said she was feeling sad again the other night but can't cry. She says she has no emotions... Doesn't feel anything. Is this normal?

Parent Community Champion

Re: Perfectionism and high expectations

Just quickly, it can be normal to feel numb or unable to cry. It can also be a sign of stress, overwork or something like depression. It depends on how long it lasts. Just keep doing what you are and keep an eye on her. 

JA
Prolific scribe

Re: Perfectionism and high expectations

Hey there @shawki11, how are you?

 

It's hard to say what counts as normal when it comes to emotions, as they can often be difficult to understand. Have you been able to talk to your daughter more about what she's been feeling? 

 

I hope things are well, we're here to listen. Smiley Happy