Perfectionism Young People

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As parents, we want the best for our children, and we hope they could achieve the best for themselves. However, along with other factors such as school, peers and social media, we may unwittingly be nudging them towards perfectionism, which, according to an article by assistant professor Thomas Curran of University of Bath and associate professor Andrew Hill of York St. John University, is "an irrational desire for flawlessness, combined with harsh self-criticism." They add that "on a deeper level, what sets a perfectionist apart from someone who is simply diligent or hard-working is a single-minded need to correct their own imperfections."

Today's society evaluates young people in a number of new ways that weren't prevalent before. Everyone
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They believe it is a "symptom of the way that young people are attempting to feel safe, connect with others and find self-worth within market-based, neoliberal societies."

The idealization of perfection in our society is evident in the way many companies market their products and services, and is amplified by social media, which push its users to share "the perfect version of oneself and lifestyle with others." Young people easily fall victim to their own insecurities, becoming obsessed about how they should look or behave, and about other things that society makes them feel they should do or have.

The authors point out that this great pressure on young people to prove their worth can push them into perfectionism that may lead to mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. A perfectionist's need for validation or approval can create a "psychological turmoil" when it is not met because they view failure, or even some mistakes, as being unworthy.

Perfectionism in Younger Children

Young adults are not the only ones susceptible to perfectionism. Even children of younger years may start exhibiting perfectionist
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They often have low self-confidence and anxiety about making mistakes, and are usually sensitive to criticism. Other characteristics typical of these children include a tendency to be critical of others, being socially inhibited, procrastinating, avoiding stressful situations or difficult tasks, having difficulty making decisions, and even getting headaches or other physical ailments when they don't meet their own or other people's expectations.

She adds that gifted children who are used to excelling often tend to be perfectionists. Perfectionism may lead these children to leave their work incomplete if they fear an imperfect outcome, resulting in underachievers. They may also end up burned out if they try to excel in all their endeavors.

Helping Children with Perfectionism

Because perfectionists tend to avoid taking risks or finishing tasks, perfectionism "backs them into a narrow life space and doesn’t leave much room for purpose, joy or pleasure," says clinical psychologist Simon
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