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. Personal relationships are strained. Intimacy is elusive. Work seems overwhelming. Creativity slows to a trickle. Physical exhaustion is common. Perfectionism is painful and debilitating—a no-win situation.
As parents, we influence our children’s emotional development. The bad news is, our own attitudes about love, acceptance, success, and failure can create an environment that promotes perfectionism. The good news is, we can make positive changes that will enrich our children’s lives—and our own.
In this update to the original groundbreaking edition, Tom Greenspon explains perfectionism, where it comes from (including influences outside the family), and what to do about it. He describes a healing process for transforming perfectionism into healthy living practices and self-acceptance. If you think your child may be a perfectionist—if you’ve ever wondered if you’re a perfectionist—this book is for you.
Praise for Moving Past Perfect
“Moving Past Perfect is an eloquent and accessible description of the nature of perfectionism. I highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to understand the nature of perfectionism and to anyone working to reduce perfectionistic tendencies.”—Paul L. Hewitt, Ph.D., professor of psychology, University of British Columbia
“With the helpful tips and sound advice you will find in Moving Past Perfect, you and your children can recover the joy of learning and living, and revel in the adventure of being unafraid to make mistakes.”—from the foreword by Dr. David Walsh, author of Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids and Why Do They Act That Way?
“Few people understand perfectionism better than Tom Greenspon, whose insight and clinical expertise come from years of case study. Moving Past Perfect provides readers with a very informed perspective on a very important matter. I encourage you to read this book and to keep it on your shelf for future reference.”—Dr. Tracy L. Cross, coauthor of Handbook for Counselors Serving Students with Gifts and Talents, Jody and Layton Smith professor of psychology and gifted education, and executive director of the Center for Gifted Education, College of William and Mary
“Moving Past Perfect offers insight for families who struggle with perfectionism . . . Dr. Greenspon gently guides families into understanding that while striving for excellence may lead to high achievement, perfectionism actually inhibits performance.”—Kristie Speirs Neumeister, Ph.D., president of the Indiana Association for the Gifted and associate professor, Department of Educational Psychology, Ball State University
Praise for previous edition
“Using a practical approach that builds on empathy and a sense of acceptance, families can transform perfectionism into healthy living practices.”—Educational Dealer
“Well written and informative, without confusing jargon, I’d recommend this book to anyone who wonders if they, or a member of their family, suffer from perfectionism.”—Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented
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