Moving Past Perfect: How Perfectionism May Be Holding Back Your Kids (and You!) and What You Can Do About It

Overview

Perfectionism is not about doing our best. It’s not about the struggle for excellence or the healthy striving for high goals. Perfectionism is about believing that if we can just do something perfectly, other people will love and accept us—and if we can’t, we’ll never be good enough. That belief is a burden that can negatively affect all areas of a person’s life. Fortunately, parents who recognize perfectionistic patterns in themselves, in their kids, or in their families as a whole can make positive changes that...

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Overview

Perfectionism is not about doing our best. It’s not about the struggle for excellence or the healthy striving for high goals. Perfectionism is about believing that if we can just do something perfectly, other people will love and accept us—and if we can’t, we’ll never be good enough. That belief is a burden that can negatively affect all areas of a person’s life. Fortunately, parents who recognize perfectionistic patterns in themselves, in their kids, or in their families as a whole can make positive changes that will enrich their children’s lives and their own. In this positive, practical book (retitled and updated edition), psychologist Tom Greenspon explains perfectionism, where it comes from, and what parents can do about it. He describes a healing process for transforming perfectionism into healthy living practices and self-acceptance. Parents who want to help their kids move past perfectionism and live happier, healthier lives in which they’re free to make mistakes, to learn, and to grow will benefit from this book. In addition, parents who struggle with their own perfectionism—and whose perfectionism takes a toll on the family—will find help for themselves within these pages.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Tom Greenspon has made a great contribution to the parenting and child development field with Moving Past Perfect. He describes perfectionism’s many faces and explains the many paths that lead there. More importantly, he provides solutions.”—Dr. David Walsh, author of Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids and Why Do They Act That Way?

Moving Past Perfect offers insight for families who struggle with perfectionism. One of the book’s gems lies in the clear distinction Dr. Greenspon makes between striving for excellence and perfectionism. Too often families convince themselves that their children’s perfectionistic tendencies are nothing to worry about since they are achieving so highly. Dr. Greenspon gently guides families into understanding that while striving for excellence may lead to high achievement, perfectionism actually inhibits performance.”—Kristie Speirs Neumeister, Ph.D., president of the Indiana Association for the Gifted and associate professor, Department of Educational Psychology, Ball State University

“Few people understand perfectionism better than Tom Greenspon, whose insight and clinical expertise come from years of case study. Moving Past Perfect provides readers with a very informed perspective on a very important matter. I encourage you to read this book and to keep it on your shelf for future reference.”—Dr. Tracy L. Cross, coauthor of Handbook for Counselors Serving Students with Gifts and Talents, Jody and Layton Smith professor of psychology and gifted education, and executive director of the Center for Gifted Education, College of William and Mary

Moving Past Perfect is an eloquent and accessible description of the nature of perfectionism. I highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to understand the nature of perfectionism and to anyone working to reduce perfectionistic tendencies.”  —Paul L. Hewitt, Ph.D., professor of psychology, University of British Columbia

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781575423876
  • Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2012
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 590,517
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas S. Greenspon, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. He earned his B.A. from Yale and his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Illinois. Tom lectures and writes on a variety of topics including perfectionism and the emotional needs of gifted children and adults. Tom lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Dr. David Walsh

Introduction

Part 1

Chapter 1: Recognizing Perfectionism

What Is Meant by Perfectionism?
What Does Perfectionism Look and Sound Like?
Perfectionism at a Glance
The Many Faces of Perfectionism
Definition of Perfectionism
The Impossible Dream
What’s Next?

Chapter 2: How Do We Become Perfectionists?

Criticism Versus Support
Psychological Origins
What About Biology?
The Many Wellsprings of Perfectionism
The Dysfunctional Family
Neglect
Giftedness
Too Much Praise?
Different Children, Different Reactions
Mutual Influence
What’s Next?

Part 2

Chapter 3: Learning to Dive

Are You Feeling Any Fear?
Take It Slow and Easy
Don’t Dive in Alone
Easing Your Way Out of Perfectionism
Dive into It

Chapter 4: Encouragement Communicates Acceptance

Take Family Members into Consideration
Offer Encouragement
Express Appreciation
Celebrate Progress

Chapter 5: Letting Go of Power Struggles

A Matter of Pride
A Battle for Control
Drop the Rope
Acknowledge Your Anger
Expressing Your Anger
What’s the Anger About?
Apologies
Cooperation in Solving Problems

Chapter 6: Empathy Makes the Connection

Uncover Your Child’s Motivation
Create an Emotional Bond
Learn What Your Child Is Feeling
Convey Acceptance

Chapter 7: Looking Inward

Hopes and Fears
Family Stress
Parental Disagreement

Chapter 8: Beyond a Perfectionist Culture

The Winner-Take-All Attitude
Where Does the Pressure Come From?
Balancing Family and Culture

Chapter 9: When Professional Help Is Needed

Is Perfectionism a Mental Disorder?
Parallel but Separate Tracks
Telling the Difference
Testing
Treatment
Resources for Finding a Mental Health Professional
Mental Disorders Are Not Failures

Chapter 10: Losses and Gains as You Let Go of Perfectionism

What Might Be Lost?
Real and Imagined Losses
Changing the Future
Remember the Gains

Chapter 11: Making a Plan Together

Staying with It for the Long Haul
Responding to Mistakes
Plans for Your Child

Afterword: Closing the Book on Perfectionism

You May Not Have Heard the Last of It
Consider an Attitude Adjustment
Expect Progress, Not Perfection
Imperfection Is Interesting

Bibliography

Index

About the Author

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