How to Cope with Perfectionist Parents

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Learn to spot perfectionist expectations.,
Talk to your parents.,
Try to determine their motives.,
Devise a solution together.,
Tune out criticism.,
Focus on your own needs and desires.,
Consider talking to a therapist.

Take some time to learn about perfectionist tendencies. Perfectionists often equate mistakes to failure, and set high personal standards. A perfectionist parent may also:Set high expectations for their children
Frequently criticize others’ actions
Doubt in others’ ability to accomplish tasks
Emphasize organization and order;
, Let your parents know how their unrealistic expectations make you feel. They may not know how their behavior is affecting you.Be as tactful as you can, especially if you think your parents aren’t intentionally making you feel bad.
For instance, say something like, “Dad, it really means a lot to me that you always come to watch me play soccer, but when you compare me to my teammates, I have a hard time enjoying the game.”

, If you can spot the underlying reason behind your parent’s perfectionist tendencies, this may help you better cope. Plus, bringing awareness to what they are doing just may help them decrease the behaviors.You might ask your parents, “Can you explain to me why you hold me to such high standards? Where do these beliefs come from?”
If you don’t think your parents will be open to this type of dialogue, it may be practical to talk to other family members or try to understand your parents’ upbringing.

, If your parents are willing to work with you, you can think of potential solutions together. For instance, you might set stronger boundaries with your parents or enforce consequences when their perfectionism interferes with your life. You might also ask them how you can help them decrease these undesirable behaviors.For example, your dad doesn’t approve of your boyfriend so he constantly tries to scare him away and sabotage the relationship. You might say, “Dad, I know you want the best for me, but I love Damien. I think he’s a good choice for me. If you can’t respect my dating decisions, I will have to stop coming around so much.”

, Instead of taking your parents’ criticism to heart, look for ways to let it roll off you. Remind yourself that your parents’ standards aren’t reasonable. If they frequently criticize everyone, not just you, keep in mind that their behavior is a long-established habit.A mantra can be helpful when you’re learning to tune out criticism.
For instance, try telling yourself, “This is only my mother’s perfectionism talking.”

, If you’re in the habit of ignoring your own wishes, start paying attention to what you want. Live according to your own values and goals instead of endlessly chasing your parents’ approval.For instance, if you are in school, take classes and participate in extracurricular activities that reflect your interests.
Putting your own needs first might take some practice if you’re in the habit of trying to please others. Remember, though, that you are the one who has to live your life – not your parents.

, Children of perfectionists are especially vulnerable to developing anxiety disorders and depression. If your mood has taken a turn for the worse, or if you’re struggling to cope with the pressure of your parents’ expectations, make an appointment with a mental health professional.If you are a student, you can probably talk to a school counselor for free.

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