Two years ago my oldest son had a birthday over the weekend. You’d expect him to be happy about that but he was withdrawn and sullen the whole time. I couldn’t get it out of him what was wrong.
As his mom, I knew SOMETHING was wrong. This kid is usually a happy go lucky guy. Nothing phases him. So what was wrong?
That Sunday night I finally pulled him aside and said that whatever was wrong, he can tell me and I won’t be mad at him.
He finally broke down crying. He had gotten an 8/10 on a spelling test that Friday. That’s it. That’s what ruined his whole birthday weekend.
My kids are smart kids. They test well on state testing and are in the advanced classes at school. I’m not trying to brag. They are still pretty dumb when it comes to common sense but they do have the brains for school.
They get good grades. I know they can do it if they work hard. If the effort is put in, they could have all As. But I don’t really care if they do. Why?
Because I am trying to break the cycle of perfectionism.
I was like my oldest, freaking out at an imperfect score. Beating myself up over making a mistake. Heck, I still do this. I don’t expect my kids to be perfect so I needed to show them it isn’t the end of the world if you make a mistake.
I reassured him that an 8/10 was still a good score and that it was nothing to be ashamed about to miss 2 words on a spelling test. I gave him a few pointers on how to get a better grade next time if he wanted to try a new way to study.
“Did you do your best on this test?” I asked.
“Yes! I studied really hard!” He replied.
“Then I’m proud of you. If you did your…