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Perfectionism and the Gifted Child

"The root of excellence is perfectionism. It is the driving force in the personality that propels the individual toward higher and higher goals. There is a strong correlation between perfectionism and giftedness. I have yet to meet a gifted person who wasn’t perfectionistic in some way." Linda Kreger Silverman, Perfectionism
Molly Rose Baxter... An Almost Perfect Little Girl Recommended by Rosemary Callard-Szulgit
Molly Rose Baxter illustrates how extreme perfectionism can get in children's way of enjoying life. This book provides a wonderful gift to young children, helping them understand that mistakes are a normal part of life and everything they do simply does not have to be perfect. A delightful story intertwining a caring family, loving kitty cats and almost perfect Molly Rose, who learns a very important lesson!
 
Perfectionism is Not a Malady Recommended by Linda Kreger Silverman
Perfectionism is not a malady; it is a tool of self development. Perfectionism becomes a driving force within the individual which serves to promote higher level development. Apparently, it is this sense of "drivenness" in the perfectionist that others find distasteful... (requires Adobe Reader)  Or read the original article Perfectionism: The Crucible of Giftedness Recommended by Linda Kreger Silverman, published in Advanced Development Journal 1999
 
Real Learning: Meet the Perfectionists Recommended by Lisa Natcharian
Disney got it right: Meet the Robinsons shows the "with love and support from their parents, children who suffer from unhealthy perfectionism can learn to channel their desire to learn into healthy perfectionism – which is really just a desire to be the best one can be..."
 
Anna Quindlin's Commencement Speech Mount Holyoke College
"I got up every day and tried to be perfect in every possible way."
 
Being Perfect by Anna Quindlin
Origins of perfectionism and findings that can help families better help their gifted students with this issue...
 
The Courage to Be Imperfect: Tom Greenspon on Perfectionism Summary by Celino Ullegue
Origins of perfectionism and findings that can help families better help their gifted students with this issue...
 
The Emotional Drama of Giftedness: Self Concept, Perfectionism, and Sensitivity by Sal Mendaglio and Michael C. Pyryt
Discusses issues that confront gifted individuals and those who interact with them: developing healthy self-concepts, transforming perfectionistic tendencies into productivity, and effectively coping with emotional sensitivity. The "lived experience" of these issues in daily life provides both frustrations and joys... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
Freeing Our Families From Perfectionism by Tom Greenspon
Perfectionism is not about doing our best. It's not about the struggle for excellence, or the healthy striving for high goals. Perfectionism is about believing that if we can just do something perfectly, other people will love and accept us-and if we can't, we'll never be good enough. Perfectionism is a burden that takes a heavy toll...
 
Intellectually gifted students' perceptions of personal goals and work habits by Glenda P. Pruett, in Gifted Child Today ($)
Unfortunately, many programs for gifted children are inadequate and poorly designed, leaving classroom teachers to struggle to meet the needs of gifted children effectively. What resources are available for these students? What assessment tools are appropriate? Do these children need acceleration or enrichment? How can we meet their needs when there are so many other demands on teachers' time?
 
Perfectionism and the Gifted Adolescent: Recognizing and Helping Gifted Adolescents Deal with their Perfectionistic Tendencies by Mary Codd
Parents and teachers often feel that they need to cure children of their perfectionist tendencies. However, perfectionism can be viewed as having both positive and negative aspects.  We need to help our gifted perfectionistic students move away from negative tendencies and toward the more positive aspects of perfectionism.  Includes great suggestion list for both parents and teachers...
 
Perfectionism and Giftedness: Examining the Connection by Michael C. Pyryt
The construct of perfectionism, its measurement, its linkage with intellectual giftedness, and strategies for overcoming its negative effects... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
Perfectionism and the Highly Gifted Child by Shaun Hately
In terms of perfectionism, parents, teachers and schools have to try to avoid putting pressure on children to be perfect, although it may be very difficult to avoid perfectionism...
 
Perfectionism: What's Bad About Being Too Good? by Miriam Adderholdt and Jan Goldberg
Explore the difference between healthy ambition and unhealthy perfectionism, strategies for getting out of the perfectionist trap, why people become perfectionists, why girls are especially prone...
 
Suicide Among Gifted Adolescents: How to Prevent It by Denise de Souza Fleith
The most salient characteristics of gifted adolescents that may be associated with vulnerability to social and emotional disturbances are: (a) perfectionism, (b) supersensitivy, (c) social isolation, and (d) sensory overexcitability...
 
Vulnerabilities of Highly Gifted Children by Wendy Roedell
This article examines the unique vulnerabilities of children with extraordinarily advanced intellectual skills, and highlights the differences between highly gifted and moderately gifted children...
 
What to Do When Good Enough Isn't Good Enough: The Real Deal on Perfectionism: A Guide For Kids by Tom Greenspon
Written for young people, preteens and teenagers about what perfectionism is and learning how to deal with it. Emphasizes that perfectionism isn't just wanting to do well - it's an obsessive fear of performing less-than-perfect in any way, and is always harmful...
 
What's Wrong With Perfect? by Sylvia Rimm
Many talent areas demand excellence. Thus, the striving for perfection in an area of expertise may be a healthy development of talent. However, when perfectionism becomes pervasive and compulsive, it goes beyond excellence. ...
 
Working with Perfectionist Students (ERIC Digest) by Jere Brophy
Perfectionism is often overlooked, and even seen as a positive trait in gifted students, but in children with executive
functioning problems it can become disabling
 

Last updated October 16, 2013
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