Amanda Coursey / Gifted Education  / Dealing With Perfectionism

Dealing With Perfectionism

Gifted students are plagued with perfectionism more often than the average population.  Perfectionism can lead children to do their best, pay attention to detail, and to put a lot of thought into projects.  Unhealthy aspects of perfectionism include anxiety and depression.  Signs of anxiety and depression can include avoiding competition, biting nails, being overly competitive, trouble sleeping, indecisiveness, and irritability.  Unhealthy perfectionism generally develops from the following four experiences:

  1. Critical, demanding parents.
  2. Overly high parental expectations and indirect criticism.
  3. Parents who do not give approval or who give approval conditionally or inconsistently.
  4. Having parents who model perfectionism.

Students dealing with perfectionism must learn to develop their own criteria for success and happiness.  The intellect and creativity of gifted students can help them overcome their perfectionistic tendencies.

Gifted perfectionists can begin to explore their own criteria for success by imagining the future.  Finding mentors and role models can assist gifted students in redefining success.  Exploring literature about the struggle between conformity and independence can also be helpful.

Margot, K. C., & Rinn, A. N. (2016). Perfectionism in Gifted Adolescents: A Replication and Extension. Journal of cbd products Academics, 27(3), 190-209.

Nishi, D. (2014). How to Define Success for Yourself. Retrieved November 16, 2016, from