Perfectionism Rears it’s Ugly Head

One of the things that gifted kids often have to deal with is perfectionism.  Things come so easy for them in their early years that they don’t really learn how to fail.  It can be a hard lesson that needs to be repeated often. 

Dearie has joined Beginner Bible Bowl this year.  It is a Bible Quizing program for 3rd to 5th graders.  The kids are given the questions to study, and then once a month they get together and compete against other teams.  Dearie is really good at it.  We were practicing the other day when Dora came over, I thought that it might be fun to let Dora practice with us.  Dearie and Dora thought so too.  I asked the same questions over and over so that Dora would learn the answers and be able to buzz in quickly.  It worked and she was soon able to buzz in quicker than Dearie on some questions.  It about killed Dearie.  She was in tears about how unfair it was that Dora was buzzing in before her.  I stopped the practice and hoped that Dearie would calm down before piano practice.

Well, she did calm down, but piano practice was almost too much for her.  She tried to refuse, but I wouldn’t let her and she finally went in and met with her teacher.  It is moments like this that I love Mrs. D (our piano teacher).  She accepts Dearie for who she is, and will put up with these occasional problems. 

I think that Dearie’s self esteem really took a hit when Dora started to get answers quicker than Dearie.  Piano Lessons are already hard because Dearie actually has to work at it (the main reason that she is taking piano) and it was just too much all at once.  Once she got started, piano went well as did the rest of the day.

Well, today was Bible Bowl practice.  There are three girls and one boy on her team.  Miss E played last year with Bob and they are both pretty good.  Miss E is obviously the best player on the team.  Bob seems to hold his own. (They placed in the top 10 at nationals last year.)  Carrie is new this year and while she tries hard, memorization does not come easy for her.  She is not very fast on the buzzers.  So anyway, we practiced today with just Carrie and Dearie.  (Miss E is on vacation and Bob lives too far away to make it to every practice.)  After warning Dearie about what I was going to do at practice, I repeated the questions again so that Carrie could get fast on at least some of the questions.  It worked and she beat Dearie on the buzzers a couple of times.  Dearie held it together, but you could see that it was really hard for her.  She felt like a failure because she was not always the fastest.  It is funny though, she does not seem to have the same reaction to Miss E.  She seems to accept that Miss E is better than she is. 

I wish that I knew the best way to help her through this.

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