How to Handle Teen Perfectionism – Becky Goddard-Hill

Today’s guest post on Teen Perfectionism is from wellbeing author and psychotherapist Becky Goddard-Hill. Here she shares an extract from her brand new book Be Confident Be You – a Teenage Guide.  In her book Becky looks at the problems with teen perfectionism and suggest ways they can tackle this so it doesn’t dent their confidence or stress them out.

beautiful girl

The Perfect End Results

If your confidence rests on perfect end results, then you probably won’t feel confident all that often. Life is rarely perfect.

No matter how hard you try the sleekest hairstyle can be frizzed by the rain and your dog really might eat your homework.

Image says: Good enough is good enough
 “Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress.” – Seth Godin.

If you can cope with things going wrong then perfectionism probably isn’t a problem for you. But, if you strive for success at the expense of your health, fall apart when you make a mistake and are highly critical of yourself or others, then perfectionism may be an issue. This also includes avoiding doing things because you don’t think that you will win or be the best!

The Problem with Teen Perfectionism

Psychologists have found that perfectionists are often anxious, easily frustrated, unconfident and struggle with low-mood. Feeling this way takes its toll and perfectionism has been linked to serious mental health problems such as eating disorders and depression. 

teen perfectionism has been linked with depression

Perfectionism can also cause people to procrastinate, avoiding what they need to do through fear it won’t work out. Alternatively, they might spend hours trying to get a tiny thing just right and this can be exhausting and frustrating!

Let’s take a look at Teen Perfectionism in Action

A tale of 2 artists

Jo and Jai are in art class. Jo rips up drawing after drawing because he can’t get it right. The class ends and Jo has nothing to show for his efforts, except his frustration. Jai has been experimenting with colours and shapes. He has rough results but feels he learnt a lot, he’s excited about the next session.

Who do you think is feeling more confident about their art? 

Aiming for progress not perfection boosts both confidence and happiness levels.

teen art

What helps …

Successful outcomes are hit and miss but there are some things you can always control:

Effort – you can always choose whether or not you show up, be enthusiastic, and see something through. Effort goes a long way towards achievement and makes the process more fun. A good effort will make you proud of yourself no matter what the end result.

Response – you can see a low maths grade as: an opportunity to ask for help, or as a sign you are stupid. How you respond to imperfect results makes all the difference and is always a choice.

Positive self-talk According to Gordon Flett, a leading researcher on perfectionism, perfectionists tend to talk to themselves badly. If you catch yourself doing this stop! Treat yourself to words of encouragement, kindness and motivation instead. 

be confident be you the teenage guide cover Becky Goddard-Hill wellbeing author and psychotherapist

Be Confident Be You – a Teenage Guide Is out now.

You may also be interested in:

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.