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Behavior Makeover: Overperfectionism

I don't quite know how to describe my daughter's problem. The best term I can come up with is failure paralyzed. She's twelve years old and overly concerned about making sure everything she does is perfect. If she doesn't answer every test question correctly and makes a mistake (and they're rare), she sees herself as a failure. I can only imagine what will happen when she gets her first A- on her report card.

– Greg, a dad with two kids from Boise, Idaho

"I can't believe I could be so stupid!"
"I'll never be as good as she is at science."
"Since I made that mistake at the last student recital, I'll never play the piano in public again."

Making mistakes is how we learn, and especially how young children learn. Unfortunately, far too many kids (and grownups!) have never learned the value of making mistakes. It's important that we all learn to bounce back and learn from our big and little defeats. Successful people don't let setbacks derail them; they just find new routes to success. Kids must realize that mistakes don't need to mean failure but instead can be learning opportunities in disguise.



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From No More Misbehavin' by Michele Borba, Ed.D. Copyright © 2003 by Michele Borba. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Buy the book at www.amazon.com.


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