At some point, every parent realizes that their child is unique. It's impossible to accurately predict exactly who your child will become or how they will react to the world, but it certainly doesn't hurt to try. Some kids make it more obvious than others, especially if they're inherently more strong willed than their peers or siblings. Learning how to tell if your child is going to be a perfectionist will take some time, but eventually their behavior, which may have been confusing or frustrating at first, will make sense as you grow to understand the way their brain works.
Perfectionism in children is similar to the same in adults. According to Today's Parent, perfectionists are motivated by a fear of failure and generally have high levels of anxiety. When channeled properly, it can be a tool to help them work hard and realize their goals. If not addressed, however, perfectionism can be crippling.
Luckily, spotting it from a young age will work in your favor as you learn to handle their behavior earlier rather than later. Teaching your child that "nobody's perfect" might be a difficult task, but if you can strike a healthy balance, your child will put their drive for excellence towards something amazing.
1. They Get Anxious Easily
According to Anxiety BC, one of the first and most obvious traits of perfectionism is anxiety. Your kiddo might be extremely nervous before a big assignment at school or blow something small out of proportion because they don't think they'll do an adequate job.
2. They're Easily Frustrated By Big Tasks
If your child is a perfectionist, they will likely get easily frustrated or overwhelmed by big tasks be it a school project, a lego set, or a dance routine they can't seem to nail. According to Parents , complimenting your child's process (and not the outcome) will help them see that there is value in every step of the way.
3. They Meltdown When Things Don't Go As Planned
A perfectionist's anxiety is often taken one step further by becoming a full blown meltdown when they aren't able to do something as well as they'd hoped. An article from Psych Central noted that if your child regularly has meltdowns, rule out things like hunger, sickness, and environmental issues, and keep a log of what sets them off.
4. They Procrastinate
Children who tend towards perfectionism will often procrastinate on a task out of the fear of not living up to their high standards, according to the aforementioned Psych Central piece.
5. They Have An All Or Nothing Mentality
Your perfectionist child will likely gravitate towards two extremes, according to the aforementioned Today's Parent piece. They may work extremely hard on something, pouring all of their energy into it to get it "just right." Or, they may give up completely, worrying that they'll never be able to do said task well enough.
Learning how to handle this behavior will take some time, but like anything, a perfectionistic child can adapt their behavior and you can both grow through the experience.