Chasing Perfection: The Link Between Perfectionism and Depression

Seeing their child succeed is, for many parents, one of the greatest joys of life. There are many areas in which a child can excel including (but most certainly not limited to) extracurricular activities, sports, and schoolwork. Unfortunately, successes often come with dangers. While there is nothing wrong with celebrating your child receiving an “A” on a difficult test, putting too much emphasis on the importance of grades – or being the best in every possible area – can push a child past their breaking point. In fact, perfectionism and depression often go hand in hand.

Perfectionism and depression often perpetuate each other, causing a vicious cycle. As tempting as achieving perfection sounds, it is impossible to remain perfect and maintain a healthy mental state. Much like the old adage about “all work and no play”, constant worry about grades can only lead to eventual disappointment – disappointment that, typically, causes more damage in the long run. The most common types of issues arising from perfectionism and depression can be seen in cases where a child is derailed by one poor grade or situations in which a child views an “A-“ grade as a failure. In both situations, a child can become prone to anxiety or depression; in extreme cases, a child may even abandon their schoolwork altogether. Whatever the situation, it typically takes a toll on future grades, friendships, and personal life.

Excellence versus Perfection

As a parent, it is important to remember the distinction between excellence and perfection. Perfectionism and depression are tied together; excellence and depression are not. By encouraging your child to simply do their best as opposed to focusing on the results ensures that your child has a positive, supportive environment. Making mistakes is part of being human. Although it can be hard to acknowledge in today’s hyper-competitive environment, grades are not everything.

If your child is struggling through their schoolwork, making sure that they are following healthy patterns is vital. For instance, many children sacrifice sleep and food for schoolwork. Monitoring changes in your child’s behaviors and lifestyle can often point to problems early on. If you suspect an issue, acting early can help catch any potential problems before they have a chance to interfere with your child’s well-being.

Elevations Can Help

Elevations, a residential treatment center for teens struggling with depression and other emotional or behavioral issues, can help your struggling teen find success.

For more information about Elevations RTC, please call today!

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