Dealing with perfectionist kids

Childhood Development Specialist Betsy Brown Braun shares advice for parents with perfectionist kids and how to control create an environment where mistakes are acceptable
Parenting Tips For Dealing WIth Perfectionism In Kids
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Dealing with perfectionist kids

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Perfectionism is an issue that parents find puzzling and often difficult, because there is not a whole lot that you can do about perfectionism, because it actually lives in the realm of anxiety disorders. Usually when a child is perfectionistic, she is taking care of herself, because perfectionism is kind of a coping mechanism. The things that they do in perfectionistic ways are things that help them to feel better about how they approach the world. Children who live in families where someone else is perfectionistic – mom or dad in particular – are likely or more likely to have a child who will be perfectionistic in many of her behaviors. It’s important that we don’t get on our children for being that way and it’s important that we don’t model that behavior. My best advice for a child who is perfectionistic is to create an environment where making mistakes and doing a bad job is perfectly acceptable. This may mean spilling things, breaking things, writing a letter and saying, “Oh, this looks terrible. Oh well, I’ll just do it better next time.” And modeling a more accepting of yourself kind of behavior. Perfectionistic behavior will wane and ebb as children get older and during more tense times as they cope it will probably get stronger and at more relaxed times, it will probably lighten up.

Childhood Development Specialist Betsy Brown Braun shares advice for parents with perfectionist kids and how to control create an environment where mistakes are acceptable

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Expert Bio

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Betsy Brown Braun, MA

Parent Educator & Author

Betsy Brown Braun, best-selling author of both Just Tell Me What to Say: Sensible Tips and Scripts for Perplexed Parents and You’re Not The Boss Of Me: Brat-proofing Your Four To Twelve Year-Old, is a child development and behavior specialist, parent educator, multiple birth parenting consultant, and founder of Parenting Pathways, Inc.

With over 40 years of experience in public and private early childhood and elementary education, Betsy has directed and founded school programs, taught in both public and private schools, has been a school director, and was the founding director of Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s Early Childhood Center. She holds an MA in Human Development and teaching credentials from Pacific Oaks College.

In 2001 Betsy founded Parenting Pathways, Inc. to provide guidance to parents seeking the skills and confidence needed to negotiate the often-challenging parenting pathway. She leads parenting groups, seminars, and offers private parent consultations throughout the nation.

Her bestseller, Just Tell Me What To Say, in its fourth printing,presents the tried and true tools her clients use daily to handle situations that inevitably accompany raising children ages two to six and beyond. Her second book, and second bestseller, You’re Not The Boss Of Me: Brat-Proofing Your Kidsalso in its fourth printing, is the ultimate hands-on guide to cultivating character traits that are tried-and-true "bratbusters." 

Betsy brings her vast knowledge, sensitivity, and special brand of humor to her parent consultations, to her groups, and to her presentations.

Her parenting expertise has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Cookie, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, In Style, Parenting, Parents, Pregnancy and Newborn, Twins, Woman’s Day, and Working Mother, among other publications. She has shared her expertise on the Today Show multiple times. Other television appearances have included The Early Show, Good Morning America Now!, Fox & Friends, Rachel Ray, Dr. Phil,  The Talk, Entertainment Tonight, KCBS, KNBC, and Fox News LA. She contributes to KNX news radio on child development, and has been a guest on countless radio programs nationwide, including NPR. She writes for and has been cited in numerous websites and parenting blogs. Betsy is a frequent speaker at educational conferences, schools, and businesses.

Betsy and her husband Ray Braun are parents of adult triplets.

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