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Question
Posted by: worried mom | 2010/10/01

perfectionist

hi
how do I know when perfectionism in my 4 year old is a problem.
A typical example of what we experience..... at night timie she would wake up and through a fit if her bedding is untidy. And this is not your typical fit......its like she cannot contai n her crying.
she will stand in teh middle of the room witht the blankets on the floor and cry with bursts of animal like screams inbetween...like she cannot control it.... and when she has to make her bed tidy,he makes sure that every corner is neatly tucked in and that everything is smooth and all her teddies are in order...Is this just typical behaviour or should I be concerned?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Its curious behaviour. Kids do have nightmares, and also night terrors, when they scream in a blood curdling manner without being aware of whast's going on and unable to recall it in the morning. But they wouldn't then want to rearrange their bed in any particular way. She sounds rather obsessive, something which isn't so common in kids, though also autistic kids can be exceedingly concerned about the order of things, and get very distressed when things don't get arranged the way they think it should be.
A proper assessment by a child psychiatrit would be a good idea, just to be sure.

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Our users say:
Posted by: R | 2010/10/04

Lol, sorry Liza, I am picturing a bit of lunatic whacking the child every 30 seconds. Its quite funny when u put it like that.
but I agree, a decent smack does get the message across.

Reply to R
Posted by: R | 2010/10/04

If the doc is wrong. it could just be that the first time this happened you gave too much attention and fuss to making sure everything is nice and tidy for her, and did it again the next time, until it is getting a habit and surely annoying.
Perfection is what one perceives in one''s mind, so I don''t beleive it truly exists. What may be perfect to u is not perfect to everyone else, so what is the perfection then?
When my 3 yr old wants things in a certain order, I get him to do it himself, yes he fusses and maons, but eventually either gets it the way he wants, or realises the pointlessness of it all.

Reply to R
Posted by: R | 2010/10/04

If the doc is wrong. it could just be that the first time this happened you gave too much attention and fuss to making sure everything is nice and tidy for her, and did it again the next time, until it is getting a habit and surely annoying.
Perfection is what one perceives in one''s mind, so I don''t beleive it truly exists. What may be perfect to u is not perfect to everyone else, so what is the perfection then?
When my 3 yr old wants things in a certain order, I get him to do it himself, yes he fusses and maons, but eventually either gets it the way he wants, or realises the pointlessness of it all.

Reply to R
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/10/02

Its curious behaviour. Kids do have nightmares, and also night terrors, when they scream in a blood curdling manner without being aware of whast's going on and unable to recall it in the morning. But they wouldn't then want to rearrange their bed in any particular way. She sounds rather obsessive, something which isn't so common in kids, though also autistic kids can be exceedingly concerned about the order of things, and get very distressed when things don't get arranged the way they think it should be.
A proper assessment by a child psychiatrit would be a good idea, just to be sure.

Reply to cybershrink
Posted by: Me | 2010/10/01

Hi Worried Mom

I know exactly what you are talking about. My son is 4 and a half and is also a perfectionist. Although we cannot change their personalities, it is important to help them to cope with life in general. You have to tell het that it is fine if everything is not perfect. In the middle of the night it might be difficult, but I ussually try to turn a tantrum in something comical. Start throwing everything arouns and laugh about it. Say: Look at this, this is funny. Put the pillow on your head and dance around. Make a big tent with the duvet. Show her that life can be funny and untidy and fun. Good luck.

Reply to Me
Posted by: Liza | 2010/10/01

Children throw tantrums to get attention. Some people say that you should ignore the tantrums and thus not give the child the attention he/she wants BUT allowing your child to continue caterwauling at night and maybe even waking up the neighbours is definitely not on.

Other people might disagree with me, but I feel that children should receive attention when they want it. The only catch is that I give my children negative attention when they''re seeking positive attention. My idea of negative attention is a good whack on the behind! And if one whack doesn''t work, tell the child that you''re giving him/her another whack because they aren''t stopping the tantrum. Give a whack every 30 seconds - telling the child WHY they''re getting a whack before each whack - until they stop the tantrum!

And to all those people who would accuse me of child abuse - I only give whacks hard enough to sting. Not hard enough to bruise (i.e usually with the hand and not a belt,sjambok,slipper etc.) The purpose isn''t to hurt the child. The purpose is to shock the child into changing his/her behaviour patterns.

You have to be consistent though. You have to ensure that you give the exact same punishment for the same naughty behaviour. It doesn''t work if you give the child a hiding for throwing a tantrum today and then tomorrow you allow the child to throw a tantrum again without punishment just because you''re e.g. in a shop.

I could write a whole book on the subject  )

Good Luck
Liza

Reply to Liza
Posted by: Purple | 2010/10/01

Some people are perfectionists, they hold themselves to high standards and waste time and energy on rectifying unimportant things in the bigger picture.

The tantrums aren''t great though, so you have a double problem to resolve. Firstly you need to work on getting her to understand that although its great she takes pride in things and likes things neat and tidy, that it is OK if things aren''t perfect.
Secondly, you need to get her to understand that throwing a tantrum doesn''t resolve anything.

Have a talk to her before she goes to bed and tell her that if she has a tantrum in the night that you will close the door and leave her to finish her tantrum and will ban TV the next day or remove some treat or other, but that if she has no tantrum and just calmly remakes her bed, then she can get a star and after 5 stars she can get a sticker and after 5 stickers she can get a special outing with you or an ice cream or some other treat of her choice.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Happiness | 2010/10/01

Perfectionist and tantrums........mhhh. If she is a perfectionist then you as a mother must stop those tantrums. My son is 5yrs old and is always cleaning up after his younger sisters'' " mess"  but all is done quietly!!

Reply to Happiness
Posted by: L | 2010/10/01

Amen to G......tantrum-thrower is what she is...

Reply to L
Posted by: G | 2010/10/01

Slaan sy gat net eenmaal

Reply to G
Posted by: Dr Phill | 2010/10/01

Worried Mom.......You say she than he........It is a boy or a girl

Reply to Dr Phill

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