Perfectionism and the Gifted Student

Many gifted students suffer from the paralyzing neurosis of perfectionism. Why is this and is there any way we can help them stop this and ease up on themselves? Many bright students are so afraid of failure that they won't take risks to try new things. They cry in self-hatred if they get anything less than 100% on a test or paper. We need to help them ease up on themselves and recognize excellence without being so demanding for perfection that they continue to hurt themselves!

Books About Perfectionism

Clicking on any of these will go directly to the item on Amazon where you can purchase them. If you buy the item in the same session you will be also contributing to Metagifted as we are an affiliate with them.

Perfectionism: What's Bad About Being Too GoodPerfectionism : What's Bad About Being Too Good
by Miriam Adderholt-Elliott and Jan Goldberg
(re)published in July 1999
This is my favorite book on the topic of perfectionism that I have read so far. I highly recommend this one!! When I was first in graduate school (1990 - so this must be a republication) and extremely perfectionistic myself, this little book helped me IMMENSELY to overcome the intensity and tone it down to where I could accept myself. I learned to prioritize and put the appropriate amount of effort into things. The book presents it in a fun and understandable way - so much that they list this book as a children's book - Well, I think it would be good for any readers.

When Perfect Isn't Good Enough When Perfect Isn't Good Enough : Strategies for Coping with Perfectionism
by Martin M. Antony, Richard P. Swinson
published December 1998
Offers a step-by-step program of coginitive-behavioral strategies for overcoming perfectionism. Talks a lot about what perfectionism is. Some very good reviews and one very negative review. It's apparently a combination textbook and self help workbook. A reviewer on Amazon recommends it for mental health professionals.

Care and Feeding of PerfectionistsThe Care and Feeding of Perfectionists
by Cynthia Curnan, published March 1999
This one received outstanding reviews on Amazon. Apparently she gives many insights and suggestions and talks from experience. She also lists 9 types of perfectionists and talks about how they all come from the same root need for power and control. Offers practical advice. I would recommend based on what I've read about it.

Fighting Invisible Tigers Fighting Invisible Tigers : A Stress Management Guide for Teens
y Earl Hipp, Michael Fleishman (Illustrator), published June 1995
The author, Earl Hipp Emai: writes about his book -
Kids need to understand this part of living! I wrote this book to help young people understand what was going on "inside" when the were at the limits of their ability to cope with their world. They will learn about the "normal" feelings, physical symptoms, and other indicators that a person is living too close to the edge. I also describe both long term (life skills)and short term strategies for being stress resilient. There is a great middle section that talks about what to do with "tiger bites," what you can do RIGHT NOW if you are feeling stressed out and don't know where to turn. 160,000 happy customers can't be wrong, this is THE book for adolescents on the subject. Contact me with any questions and thanks for caring about the kids in your life. (written July 1998) This book is listed as children's (young adult) book, but again is probably appropriate for everybody.

Overcoming PerfectionismOvercoming Perfectionism : The Key to Balanced Recovery
by Ann W. Smith, published September 1990
"Do you have to be perfect to lead a healthy life? Ann Smith discusses how perfectionism may have benefits but is ultimately an obstacle to quality living as it prevents intimacy and lowers self-esteem. This book offers practical hints to letting go of your superhuman syndrome and being imperfect." (Book Synopsis on Amazon"

Art of the PossibleThe Art of the Possible : The Path from Perfectionism to Balance and Freedom
by Alexandra Stoddard, published October 1996
"Stoddard tackles the subject of demanding self-perfection, explaining how real joy and a stress-free live can only be obtained when individuals stop demanding perfection from themselves and others. Many case history examples and first-person insights are shared in Stoddard's exploration of the path to freedom." (from Midwest Book Review)

Never Good Enough Never Good Enough : How to Use Perfectionism to Your Advantage Without Ruining Your Life
by Monica Ramirez, Phd Basco, published March 2000
"Dr. Basco helps you understand why you feel driven to get things "just right" and shows you how to make the best of your perfectionism. Filled with practical advice, encouragement, and strategies for self-discovery, this invaluable guide includes Dr. Basco's own thirty-question self-test that will help you recognize and manage the negative side of your perfectionism. You will learn how to stop the struggle with yourself and others, how to evaluate your worth and performance in life, and how to replace the pursuit of perfection with peace of mind." (Amazon book description). A reader reviewer says it is easy to understand for the layman.

Too Perfect Too Perfect : When Being in Control Gets Out of Control
by Allan E. Mallinger, Jeannette Dewyze
published July 1993
"Mallinger insists that trading our competitive society's obsession with excellence for more realistic goals is the key to a saner, healthier life and offers obsessives hope and help to keep from being stranded in a mire of obsessive-compulsive behavior." (from Amazon synopsis) Also talks about obsessive personalities in general.

Gifted Kids Survival Guides: A Teen Handbook The Gifted Kids Survival Guide : A Teen Handbook
by Judy Galbraith, James R. Delisle, Pamela Espeland (Editor), Jim Delisle
published October 1996
"Written with help from hundreds of gifted teenagers, The Gifted Kids' Survival Guide is the ultimate guide to surviving and thriving in a world that doesn't always value, support, or understand high ability. Full of surprising facts, step-by-step strategies, and practical how-tos, and inspiring quotations, featuring insightful essays contributed by gifted young people and adults, The Gifted Kids' Survival Guide gives the gifted young reader the tools needed to understand their giftedness, accept it as an asset, and use it to make the most of who and what they are. Of special value is the section on dealing with a troubled gifted youngster contemplating suicide, how to be "net smart" and have safe, fun online relations, and how to handle teen angst." (from Midwest Book Review) I have used the book for children ages 10 and under by the same authors and I think it is incredibly good. I imagine this would be just as useful.

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