Boy Sitting Exam

Some children have incredibly high standards of themselves and I have experience of coaching these children. They want to be exceptional in all areas of their life and they set goals for themselves that are demanding and forgive no failure. If they don’t reach their target or high standard, they can be quite hard on themselves. Some of these children may become withdrawn because they are upset with their performance, others may get angry and some will tell themselves, ‘I am stupid’. Neither of these reactions helps the child.

If you have a child with this mindset, it is important that as a parent you step in and intervene. Why does your child believe that they have to be perfect? Is it coming from pressures from family or friends, or from within themselves? Try to find out when they feel they have to be the best all the time. Do they think it is realistic to attain high standards at all times and are the standards they are working towards, actually realistic?

Re-thinking High Standards

Help your child understand and see that it’s OK to have slightly lower standards particularly if it makes it more achievable (and less stressful) to meet those standards.

Talk to them about the standards you set for yourself and how they differ depending on the task in hand. Also, explain to them that we cannot be brilliant at everything and that we choose the standards we set for ourselves. Children should not feel that high standards for all things are inflicted upon them.

As a parent help your children understand the difference between effort and outcome. It is good to try your best and put all your effort into something. We can’t do more than our best. Even when you do your best, the outcome is often out of your hands so teach children to be pleased with their own performance or progress and not compare it to others.

High standards can bring stress and unnecessary pressure. Help children to set realistic goals and both of those feelings can disappear, helping children to take life more in their stride.

Do you have a child who constantly strives for high targets and how do you help them to manage this? I’d love to hear from parents – leave a comment below or via my social media channels.