Encouraging children yes, wanting them perfect no

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Marie-Ange Demory
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Always in competition with someone, but also with themselves. Always dissatisfied because they could have done better. And therefore always under stress. It's nice to want to work hard to improve, but too much hurts, as Chiara Gambino, psychologist, psychotherapist and family mediator explains.

You are worth it if you are successful

There are many factors that can push a child to always feel in competition with himself and with others. We certainly live in a society that requires continuous performance, which urges us to raise the bar from time to time because it imposes ever higher standards, because everywhere they bombard us with messages that basically instill in us the concept that you are worth if you are a successful person. All this does not help parents to face the growth of their children in a serene way, because they feel almost forced to encourage them to do more and more.

Read also: Performance anxiety: 7 practical tips

Higher and higher. From an early age

To this is added the specter of the labor crisis, whereby a parent, ever since giving birth to a child, thinks about what future he will have, in a scenario where there is no work for everyone and our children are often forced to go to school. abroad to find it. In the eagerness to prepare him for a better future, then, he makes sure that acquire many skills in the most diverse fields - foreign languages, computer science, theater, music - so that when he grows up he can have a better chance of becoming a fulfilled person and of reaching an economically stable position. As if it were a new form of struggle for survival.

Read also: How to stimulate a child / young person to work harder

All very fast. And very digital

Since they are very young, our children learn to use cell phones and other hi-tech gadgets, almost even better than us adults. And they receive many "digital" solicitations that go beyond the dimension of innocence and spontaneity that would be typical of their age. You learn everything very quickly, at a faster pace than a child's cognitive and psychological maturation. There was almost no time to waste.

More and more full days

Once upon a time, children enjoyed themselves with a few things, they invented a game out of nothing, they spent part of the day in contact with nature, experimenting their limits with many peeling on their knees. Today's children no longer have the opportunity - and not even the time - to play outdoors, full of commitments worthy of a career manager. And even their free moments are never completely empty, but filled with full immersion in video games and cartoons.

Children charged with excessive expectations ...

In this new trend that wants young people to be competent, competitive and winning at all costs, they often come to their children you pour out excessive expectations. They are not taught that life is full of obstacles and sometimes it gets lost even without having wanted it. On the contrary, the message is conveyed that defeat equals failure, to be avoided at all costs.

Read also: 9 phrases you should never say to your child

… Who are anxious to disappoint

When the child is overloaded with these expectations, he will face all his little daily challenges with a state of constant alertness and worry, because he feels that, if it goes wrong, it gives the parents a disappointment. And paradoxically it can happen that this concern leads to a drop in performance. Thus we enter an anxious vortex: the more the boy struggles to avoid defect, the more he gets anxious and risks failure.

Read also: Self-esteem in 7 rules: here's how to raise safe children

How to support the child in the right way

1 - Teach him to lose
We all make mistakes and everything is not always good. Even if we did everything we could to make sure it didn't happen. When the child fails, then, let's help him accept failure, with the knowledge that he is not wrong, but that it can happen to have a bad day or to find someone better in that field. Without this calling into question the value of him as a person. Indeed, it is through the defeats that the boy can fortify himself and discover what his limits and his potential are.

Read also: How to help children lose

2 - Discover his natural inclinations

You cannot be good at everything and each of us has some inclinations: there are those who fail in scientific subjects but are good in the humanities; those who fit well into a group sport, those who feel under pressure when they find themselves in too competitive contexts: there are no better or worse situations in an absolute sense and it is good, for a peaceful growth, to find the one that best suits the temperament of your child .

3 - Let it do it alone
Today's children are not used to rolling up their sleeves and doing things by themselves, because from an early age they are helped in all respects, in the desire not to see them make mistakes and suffer. Here we parents try to put "patches" everywhere, so as not to let him feel the taste of defeat. In this way the children are under the illusion that everything has always gone well, when instead in many situations it has gone well only because there was an intervention "from above" that softened the blow.

Read also: Pre-adolescents and adolescents: 10 tips to develop self-esteem

4 - If a flop happens, help him understand instead of offering him the solution

When a situation goes wrong, we do not rush to find a solution for it immediately. Without putting us in a state of anxiety and worry and without making a drama out of it, let's explain to him that it can happen, then let's help him understand what may have happened, let's ask him how he plans to deal with it and what we can be useful to him, but making sure that it is himself to show us a trajectory or tell us what he needs.

Read also: School anxiety: 10 tips to help children and teenagers overcome it

5 - Don't plan for fun too
Our children have a life that is too "forced": they have no open spaces to play freely, their time is almost entirely planned and even leisure opportunities, such as a birthday party, are already planned by a series of activities decided by the adults, where, once again, they are forced to adhere to expectations that are perhaps not part of their nature. This is how it comes to them subtracted the possibility of expressing oneself freely, to bring out their energy as they please. At least when it comes to entertainment, let the children decide how to have fun! And not to play a game if they don't feel like it.

Read also: Education: 14 things parents should never do with their children

6 - Give him the opportunity to develop his creativity through boredom

We do not fill all the time of the child, but we leave him the possibility to experience empty times, without extracurricular activities but also without TV and mobile phone (we have to regulate their use): in this way we will offer him the possibility to be with himself, discover who he really is and what his passions are, develop creativity and imagination through boredom. Not having "external distractions", in fact, the child will begin to look inside himself and will discover that within him there are many resources he can draw on: build his own imaginary world, make a drawing, invent a new game, create something with what has available. Discovering and cultivating the resources of one's inner world develops an emotional state of calm, peace, fulfillment. Which will help him understand what he really likes, without feeling obligated to adhere to pre-packaged standards.
It will also help him face the "outside" world with less anxiety and agitation. (Read also: boredom that is good for children).

  • psyche
  • children education
  • desire for perfection
  • perfectionism
  • emozioni
  • competition
  • 3-5 children years
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